Most prominently in all our minds is the major snow event and subsequent damage – including downed trees and powerlines – that hit Nevada County in late December.
My heart goes out to everyone who endured an extended outage, damage to your property, an extended wait for a propane refill, or restricted access to/from your property. I experienced all of those things and it was challenging. I have raised my concerns about how long power restoration took, propane delivery issues, and the need to proactively check on rural neighborhoods to ensure residents’ safety after an event like this, and will continue to press for solutions that prevent such extended impacts in the future. At the same time, I want to acknowledge the extraordinary efforts of those who sought to identify and address critical community needs, including our county’s Emergency Services and Disaster Service Workers, Public Works, and Sheriff’s Office, CAL FIRE, PG&E linemen and contractors, and volunteers from the community.
Thanks to swift action on the part of our Office of Emergency Services, who declared a local emergency, followed by ratification of that declaration in a special meeting of the Board of Supervisors, Nevada County was the first county in California to declare a local emergency. That emergency declaration enabled us to more effectively respond to the snowstorm, seek and utilize mutual aid, obtain state and federal funds if available, and ensure that the County’s resources and economy, as well as the community at large, have all the necessary tools available to address community needs.
The County activated its emergency operations center on Monday morning, December 27, and staff was subsequently deployed nonstop--many working 24/7 on 12-to-14-hour shifts--plowing roads and responding to urgent community needs. The County website offered regularly updated resources and information for everyone affected by the storm. We maintained very close communication and coordination with PG&E, as well as with the Western Propane and Gas Association to help coordinate propane delivery. Power was completely restored by January 12 and, since then, the community has been focused on recovery and cleanup efforts.
Special note: we have heard from numerous residents that their phone and internet service has been down ever since the storm hit. We are doing our best to get telecom providers to resolve that situation as soon as possible.