The ongoing snowfall in Central Valley mountain communities has created major power outages for Pacific Gas & Electric Co. customers in lower elevation areas.
Traveling up to the snowy areas from the Valley floor, snow is seen blanketing trees just before Coarsegold, at about 2000 feet.
Utility officials say heavy snowpack weighing down on the trees is causing power outages.
“The power went out about 9 a.m. yesterday and that really affects a lot of the business,” says Collette Shipp, front desk supervisor at the Pines Resort.
Employees are seen hard at work shoveling snow and pouring salt on the ground to melt it.
With the Pines Resort in Bass Lake, Shipp says they haven’t seen a snow storm of this caliber in about 10 years.
“Power goes out every once in a while, but usually it’s on within a couple of hours. We don’t usually go without power that long,” she explains.
Since Feb. 1, PG&E says about 360,000 customers were affected statewide because of the weather.
“We restored most of them but there’s about 34,000 that are still out. It’s just an accumulation of snow and it just continued falling,” says Denny Boyles, spokesperson for PG&E.
Close to 9,400 of those customers are in the Yosemite area, just north of Fresno.
Boyles says toppling trees because of the heavy snowpack has been challenging. “We’re sending vegetation workers out with all of our crews to inspect the trees to make sure that it’s safe to work there, we still have access issues as well in some areas.”
As for the Pines Resort, Shipp says they’re running on generators but it doesn’t work in the guest rooms.
“We try to keep everybody in (rooms) with fireplaces and candles,” she says.
Last checked Wednesday afternoon, Pines Resort says its power is back on.
But PG&E says in some areas it might take until Saturday to fully restore power in the area.