It should be a white Christmas |

It should be a white Christmas

by Regina Purcell, Staff Writer

No need to dream of a white Christmas — forecasters are calling for scattered snow storms through Wednesday.

Another strong winter storm hit Carson Valley on Thursday afternoon, dumping four inches snow in less than a few hours. Highway 395 traffic slowed to a crawl through Minden and Gardnerville, and tire chains were called for as the white stuff kept falling.

The National Weather Service reported that Douglas County received 3 inches in the north section, and up to 5 inches of snow in the southern part of the Valley.

The storm caused a couple of problems when electricity was out for 700 in the Gardnerville Ranchos, but it was restored by 6 p.m. Friday.

Gary Aldax, spokesman for Sierra Pacific Power Co., said some of the Ranchos was out because an insulator line was blown loose by winds that hit about 30 mph at the height of the latest storm.

The severe power problems in the county have almost been sorted out. Aldax said there were only five customers in the Minden/Gardnerville area were still without power Friday afternoon.

Markleeville, Calif., in Alpine County still had 500 customers without power Friday, but electricity was expected to be restored for all residents by this afternoon.

“The clean-up will continue for several days,” said Aldax, who pointed out crews from Nevada, California and Oregon are working around the clock to fully restore service.

“We are hoping to be back to normal,” said Aldax. “We are watching the weather.

“When the storm started (Thursday), everybody was saying, ‘Oh my God, not the wind.”‘

Sierra Pacific lost more than 100 power poles — a majority in Douglas County — when last Saturday’s storm produced winds of nearly 100 mph. Thousands were without electricity for up to 84 hours.

Aldax said Sierra Pacific’s request for Carson Valley residents to conserve electricity by turning off Christmas lights and not using large appliances has been lifted.

Harry Raub, of the Douglas County Emergency Management department, said Friday’s storm did not cause problems countywide. A wind warning was issued, but was called off within hours.

“Once the storm started, people were concerned the winds were going to knock down power lines again, but there was nothing significant at all,” he said.

Regarding telephone service, Jonathan Davies of Verizon,said 100 customers in the county were still without service due to commercial power loss and damaged drop lines to customer homes.

“We are coping with the situation, but service interruption is very isolated at this point,” he said.

Analyst Mark Brown of the weather service said Douglas County residents can expect snowstorms to taper off this evening, bringing partly cloudy skies through Tuesday. A jet stream from the west will bring in another storm on Tuesday and Wednesday, with moderate winds and temperatures in the 30s.

“It looks like it will be a white Christmas,” he said.

n Regina Purcell can be e-mailed at