High winds projected in latest storm

CHICO — Trees swaying heavily in Bidwell Park on Monday provoked an ominous feeling as a storm made its way into Chico.

In recent storms, Chico trees have come down, such as the one that hit the Five-Mile Recreation Area foot and bicycle bridge, closing it off to the public while repairs are made.

Idamis Del Valle, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service’s Sacramento office, said rain will not present as much of a problem as wind.

Chico is expected to get up to a quarter of an inch while the foothill areas will likely see more.

“There will be a higher amount in the foothills toward Paradise and Magalia,” Del Valle said. “We’re looking at about half of an inch to about two inches in the foothills.”

For wind, however, Del Valle said residents should be prepared for 20-30 mph winds on the low side but up to 45 mph with 50 mph gusts in certain areas.

“That’s the main impact,” Del Valle said of the forecasted winds.

Del Valle said the public should brace for winds being on the heavier side and take precautions while the storm is moving through.

“Basically securing outdoor items and avoiding downed tree branches or weakened trees,” Del Valle said. “Be prepared for local outages and also people should be careful when driving high-profile vehicles.”

In terms of outages, PG&E Public Information Officer Paul Moreno said the power company is preparing for yet another wind and rain event. As of 2 p.m. Monday, some were already without power.

“At the moment only a few customers are without power in the Chico, Paradise and Oroville areas,” Moreno said. “We are watching the weather closely and are prepared to respond to power outages.”

Moreno said the company is looking at particularly high winds this time around.

“Across the north valley this afternoon gusty winds up to 40-45 mph are forecasted,” Moreno said. “Snow levels are expected to be as low as 3,500 feet in the northern Sierra (Nevada) this afternoon before rising to 4,000 to 5,000 feet (Monday night).”

According to a weather outlook report provided by the National Weather Service, wind and rain is expected to continue through Tuesday with rain showers projected for Wednesday. Snow will likely impact elevations between 2,000-5,500 feet by today, though the heaviest snow was anticipated for Monday evening and into the early morning.

In higher mountain areas, snowfall is expected along with high winds. This could create potentially hazardous conditions for drivers heading north of Highway 50 due to low visibility, the report said. Chain controls and road closures are possible for roadways leading into the mountains.

Another rainstorm is believed to be coming to Butte County, as well as surrounding counties, on Friday that will bring additional showers, the weather report said.

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