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Thousands of Sierra residents remain without power after snowstorms, officials warn of dangerous trend

Sierra residents remain without power after snowstorms
Sierra residents remain without power after snowstorms 02:35

NEVADA COUNTY – Communities brace for another strong winter storm while many people are still without power following the weekend weather.

On Sunday evening, Pacific Gas and Electric reported 8,835 customers lost power in its Sierra Division, which includes Nevada, El Dorado and Placer counties.

As another cold night sunk in Sunday, many were wondering when their lights would come back on.

In Grass Valley, heavy snow toppled trees. Betsy Wagner did not think much at first until she tried to look out her window.

"I looked out my back door, well, I couldn't see out my back door – and that's when I saw it," she said.

At Sierra Pines Mobile Park, several carports went down.

As Sierra residents brace for another round of winter storms this week, Cal Fire is warning people to remove snow loads off propane tanks, gas lines and buildings. Homeowner Keith Cantrell has braces up around his home just in case.

"Although, it looks like a brief snowstorm coming – it's enough," Cantrell said. "It's about eight hours of snow."

As for welfare checks and search and rescue efforts, at last check, the Nevada County Sheriff's Office reported it has had just shy of 200 calls since February 24.

In Nevada City, David Bear's neighborhood sat in the dark as generators hum.

"I'm glad that we have a backup generator but got to fill it a couple of times a day," Bear said.

He said he lost power six days ago.

"They tell you it'll be back in three days or something. Then in three days, it's going to be a couple more days," he said. "The last time they said it's going to be four more days."

Why the delays? PG&E told CBS13 crews are working 24/7 while dealing with deep snow, blocked roads and fallen trees blocking access to some lines.

Mudslides, falling snow and ice also are dangers to crews.

There have also been reports of people cutting and moving downed power lines away from roads and properties — something civilians are highly cautioned against doing.

"That's clearly something that's hazardous to the public," said Capt. Jason Snyder of El Dorado County Fire Protection District. "We don't even mess with that. We defer to PG&E and local utilities to handle that for us."

Still, he urged people to call 911 when they see downed lines. The department reports the hazardous trend has not happened in its coverage area. Still, it's message to people is: don't do it.

Meanwhile, Bear's neighborhood will have to sit in the dark another night.

"Who knows on Tuesday if we're going to get it or not," he said. 

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