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County May Request Emergency Declaration

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Sonora, CA – The Tuolumne County Supervisors will decide Tuesday whether to request a State of Emergency declaration for this month’s winter storms.

CAO Craig Pedro reports that local government costs related to the cleanup are expected to exceed $200,000. At the height on February 18th, approximately 15,000 Tuolumne County residents were without electricity. Power to most homes and businesses was restored within four days, but some isolated areas were without power for seven days. Numerous residents reported damage to private property because of downed trees. This includes buildings, homes, cars, recreational vehicles, etc. There was also a report of at least one home that burned to the ground as a result of storm damage.

The storms deposited over 100 trees on county roads and right of ways. Removing the trees required long hours from County road crews, with assistance from Sierra Conservation baseline crews and outside contractors.

T.U.D. experienced a 60 ft. ditch failure near Columbia, and also experienced a blockage along its Eureka and Soulsbyville water ditches.

The Belleview Oaks Mutual Water Company had a temporary failure with its small water system which has 168 connections. The failure was primarily due to a PG&E power outage which affected their ability to pump water. They also experienced a leak in the distribution system. A temporary fix has been made, and permanent repairs will be scheduled in the coming days.

The Tuolumne County Supervisors will vote on the Emergency Declaration request during the regular board meeting. It could allow the county to be eligible for state and federal funds to reimburse unexpected cleanup costs.