Winter Storm Packing a Punch on the North Coast

by and

The first real storm of the 2019-2020 season is slamming the North Coast – ripping off at least one roof, dropping snow, causing accidents and throwing large waves high onto the land.

The National Weather Service in Sacramento is reporting the storm has undergone “Bombogenesis,” which is “defined as a mid-latitude cyclone that drops in surface barometric pressure by 24 or more millibars in a 24-hour period.“

The Eureka office of the National Weather Service reports the “strongest winds” are expected to hit the North Coast between 7 and 9 p.m.
Kathleen Zontos, a hydrologist from the National Weather Service in Eureka, said “We’re looking at a major storm system. … It is kind of rare because it is intensifying so quickly. We are seeing gusts near 50 mph.”

Just before 7 p.m., thousands remained without power across a huge swath of Humboldt County, according to the PG&E outage map.

The Humboldt County Office of Emergency Services notes: “There is potential for unexpected power outages and downed power lines from the winds. It is best to stay indoors on lower levels of your home and avoid being around windows.”

Because the first real storm of the season is so large and it is happening during a time many people are on the roads, she said, the results are more problematic. “It is the first storm of the season and it is also holiday travel time,” she explained. “This is causing much more significant impacts.”

Zontos warned that parts of Trinity County have already seen 2-4 inches of snow at 2,000 feet. “At 2,500 they could see 6 -12 inches,” she told us. “Above 4,000, they could see over a foot.”

Residents of mountainous areas of Humboldt County also report snow sticking.

Zontos also cautioned that seas and surf are high today, too, and could even impact some roads. “There is really large surf,” she said. “It should peak tonight.”

She warned drivers to be careful on Centerville Road near Ferndale.

She pointed out that the wind is gusting along the coast and on ridge tops in the interior mountains.

Besides the roof being torn from the Ace Hardware in Crescent City, there are reports of trees down and power outages across the region.

Earlier today, one driver, Matt Huber, said he witnessed a crazy wind hit near Loleta. “I was driving on 101 between the Loleta exits,” he explained. “I saw this trampoline 20 feet in the air …. . [It] came flying down and smashed into a brand new Audi.”

Huber said the driver ran into the embankment. He said he helped the driver adding, “When I was driving away, the trees started snapping! … I’ve lived there all my life and I’ve never seen anything like that before.”

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