This pine was pulled out by the roots in a gusting wind Sunday morning at 7:30 a.m. It crushed a Suburban vehicle and damaged the corner of this home's roof, while pulling down electricity and phone lines on Cedarwood in Pine Mountain. No one was hurt. [Parsons photo]
FRAZIER PARK, CA (Tuesday, Dec. 21, 2010, 3:40 p.m.)–Sandbags are available at the sheriff’s substation in Frazier Park (on Monterey Trail, across from Don’s Liquor) and sand is available at Lebec Fire Station 56 (off I-5 freeway at Lebec exit, then south along the eastern frontage road). Local storm forecast through Wednesday is as follows:
Late Afternoon: Rain. Steady temperature around 41. Breezy, with a south wind around 29 mph, with gusts as high as 40 mph. Chance of precipitation is 100%.
Tonight: Rain. Low around 34. Windy, with a south wind between 28 and 34 mph, with gusts as high as 50 mph. Chance of precipitation is 100%.
Wednesday: Rain, mainly before 4pm. High near 44. Breezy, with a south wind between 18 and 26 mph, with gusts as high as 37 mph. Chance of precipitation is 100%.
Wednesday Night: A chance of rain showers before 10pm, then a chance of rain and snow showers. Snow level 5100 feet. Mostly cloudy, then gradually becoming mostly clear, with a low around 31. Southwest wind between 11 and 14 mph becoming calm. Winds could gust as high as 18 mph. Chance of precipitation is 30%. Little or no snow accumulation expected.
Late Afternoon: Snow. Steady temperature around 32. Windy, with a south wind around 33 mph, with gusts as high as 47 mph. Chance of precipitation is 100%. Total daytime snow accumulation of 1 to 3 inches possible.
Tonight: Snow. Temperature rising to around 39 by 2am. Windy, with a south wind between 32 and 38 mph, with gusts as high as 55 mph. Chance of precipitation is 100%. New snow accumulation of 5 to 9 inches possible.
Wednesday: Snow, mainly before 4pm. High near 42. Windy, with a south wind between 24 and 31 mph, with gusts as high as 44 mph. Chance of precipitation is 100%. New snow accumulation of 2 to 4 inches possible.
Wednesday Night: A chance of snow showers before 10pm, then a chance of rain and snow showers. Mostly cloudy, then gradually becoming mostly clear, with a low around 28. South southwest wind between 15 and 18 mph becoming light. Winds could gust as high as 24 mph. Chance of precipitation is 30%. New snow accumulation of less than a half inch possible.
FRAZIER PARK, CA (Monday, Dec. 20 at 6 p.m)—Reports at 5 p.m. are that Kern County Fire Department’s earlier report about McFarland evacuations is not accurate. Calls to area residents is summarized by one: "It’s raining, but things aren’t so bad." It appears that the 2,000 number released by KCFD at about 11 a.m. is not the number of people who actually left their homes, but the number of people who could have been affected if flooding occurred.
"The evacuation notice given to the east side of Mc Farland has now been lifted. The cause of the potential flooding was due to debris accumulation in Poso Creek. With the aid of excavators the debris was removed which allowed the flow of water to return," a KCFD release at 5:07 p.m. says.
LEBEC, CA (Monday, Dec. 20 at 3:49 p.m.)—Chuck Noble from Lebec files this report about conditions currently: "Noticed no mud slides that could cause any damage yet. Drove through the area today and saw a couple small slides starting but nothing that would cause any serious damage to any property. Will keep my eyes open."
Meanwhile, weather conditions are significantly different in various parts of the mountain. Weather Spotter Linda Curtis at 5,000 feet in Frazier Park (near Kern County Fire Station #57) reports her rain gauge readings at just 2.36 since the beginning of the storm on Friday. She saw some snow at about 4 a.m. she says, but Frazier Park has only rain at this time. In Pine Mountain there is a sloshy "flocking" of snow on the trees, houses and roads. If the temperature falls, that will quickly turn to ice. Rain precipitation was heavier in the Pine Mountain area than in Frazier Park, but we do not have an accurate reading from that area at this time.
LEBEC, CA (Monday, Dec. 20 at 11:52 a.m.)—Empty sand bags are available for the public at Lebec station 56 of the Kern County Fire Department. "We have no alerts of flooding or mud slides in Lebec [the Post fire burn area]," Firefighter Nate Buck said at 11:50 a.m. "The rain has been consistent but is not coming down hard. We had 2 inches yesterday alone," he added, estimating that about 4 inches may have fallen during this storm so far.
A storm warning was issued by the National Weather Service for the Post fire area yesterday. The warning is in place until 8:15 a.m. Tuesday for the Southern San Joaquin Valley and adjacent foothills. The threat of rock slides and debris flow will continue during this time, NWS said.
NWS added: "A flood warning means that flooding is imminent or has been reported. Please be aware of your surroundings. You are urged to closely monitor flood conditions in your area and be prepared to move to a place of safety if it becomes necessary for you to evacuate. Do not attempt to drive your vehicle into areas where the water covers the roadway. Please make sure your neighbors are alerted."
[Secondary reports at 5 p.m. are that this report from the Kern County Fire Department is not accurate. This is not the number of people who actually left their homes, but the number of people who could have been affected if flooding occurred. Calls to area residents is summarized by one: "It’s raining, but things aren’t so bad."] About 2,000 people are being evacuated at this time in McFarland due to flooding, according to reports by the Kern County Fire Department. ReadyKern is being used to alert residents. Two evacuation centers have been set up.
PINE MOUNTAIN, CA (Monday, Dec. 20 at 7 a.m.)—Temperatures have fallen sufficiently overnight that rain has changed to wet snowfall in Pine Mountain. Motorists are advised to drive slowly and carefully, with chains or snow tires to assure traction. Motorists in all areas of the mountain should be alert for slippery patches of black ice on the road, particularly near bridges and in shadowed mountain curves. Plan ahead. Leave time to drive slowly.
BAKERSFIELD, CA (Monday, Dec. 20 at 5:30 a.m.)—Kern County Fire Chief Nick Dunn, in his capacity as Director of Emergency Services, has proclaimed a state of local emergency for Kern County. A press release was issued at 10:25 p.m. last night. Flooding, and threat of flooding, from Lebec through Bakersfield and Tehachapi to the northern and eastern county, have triggered the move.
"Kern County and local emergency response agencies are faced with being extended beyond their functional capabilities due to the severe weather conditions and continued threat of flooding, which will affect the infrastructure of the county. The proclamation will enable county resources to be utilized as quickly as possible when needed," KCFD’s release said.
As rains continued this weekend, residents of the Lebec Post fire burn areas were notified to watch for flash floods and mud flows. The county uses the "reverse 911" ReadyKern Telephone Emergency Notification System for such alerts. You can register both land lines and cell phones online to receive alerts.
At 3 a.m. Monday 10 people and their pets were evacuated near Lake Isabella due to water run-off near Weldon Creek Road. A sounding of the Lake Isabella emergency siren occurred Sunday also, but residents were quickly informed that it was a test. The Lake Isabella dam was called "one of the highest risk dams in the United States," by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers this year. The Corps owns and operates the dam, which is built over an active earthquake fault. Sandbags were being made available by KCFD in urban Bakersfield and some rural areas yesterday due to torrential rain.There were road closures in Kern River Valley, Edison, Lamont and Bakersfield.
Dunn was empowered to make the proclamation "under Government code 8630 and chapter 2.66 of the Kern County Ordinance Code…[because] the Board of Supervisors was not in session and the County Administrative Officer was unavailable," the proclamation said.
FRAZIER PARK and PINE MOUNTAIN, CA (Sunday, Dec. 19 at 12:30 p.m.)—Wild gusts of high winds, reported up to 85 miles per hour by a monitor in Pine Mountain, uprooted a large pine tree this morning at 7:30 a.m. at the home of Lisa and Scott Parsons in the Pine Mountain neighborhood on Cedarwood. The pine, said to be 85 feet long, took down power and phone lines, crushed a Suburban vehicle and damaged the corner of the home. No one was injured.
Downed electric lines were still live at 12:30 p.m. Gas had been turned off by Kern County Fire Department as soon as they responded. The famiy’s other vehicles are barricaded in by the tree at this time.The first block of Cedarwood has been taped and coned off, for safety. Motorists are advised to use another route. Southern California Edison has not yet responded. Another pine, much smaller, came down on Pine Mountain Club property near Mil Potrero Highway also.
Heavy rains continue to pour, but temperatures are still in the 50s, making snow unlikely except at the highest elevations. The PMC golf course ponds, including Fern’s Lake and the main pond near Mil Potrero, appear as if they may be likely to overflow.
FRAZIER PARK, CA (Sunday, Dec. 19, 2010 at 11:45 a.m.)–ReadyKern has distributed this flood warning from the National Weather Service:
If you live or work in an area affected by last summer’s Bull, West, Post, or Canyon wildland fires, please pay close attention to this message.
The National Weather Service has issued a flood warning until 8:15 a.m. Tuesday for the Southern San Joaquin Valley and adjacent foothills. In the burn areas affected by last summer’s Bull, West, Post, or Canyon wildland fires, the threat of rock slides and debris flow will continue during this time.
A flood warning means that flooding is imminent or has been reported. Please be aware of your surroundings. You are urged to closely monitor flood conditions in your area and be prepared to move to a place of safety if it becomes necessary for you to evacuate. Do not attempt to drive your vehicle into areas where the water covers the roadway.
For additional information about the flood warning, please visit the National Weather Service website at www.wrh.noaa.gov/hnx/. Please make sure your neighbors are alerted. Please stay tuned to your local television or radio stations for more information as it becomes available.
This is part of the December 17, 2010 online edition of The Mountain Enterprise.
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