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Jessica Cejnar Andrews / Thursday, March 9 @ 8:05 p.m. / Emergencies
Search & Rescue Continue to Bring Supplies to Snowbound Off-Grid Residents Up Low Divide
Del Norte County Search & Rescue continued to get supplies into off-grid residents in the Low Divide Road area who have been snowbound for about a week.
Four to six feet of snow has piled up around people’s homes, making it impossible for them to even walk across their yards, Del Norte County Sheriff Garrett Scott told the Wild Rivers Outpost on Thursday. Though the DNSO was without the Sno-Cat, a Crescent City local named Gary Hartwick used his snow mobile to run supplies into the mountainous region, Scott said.
“We have a rendezvous point that we’re using, primarily the intersection of Forest Route 17N21 and Low Divide Road,” Scott said at about 4 p.m. “And the county Office of Emergency Services has put out a Facebook post with a phone number that folks can call and then we put out on the radio station some information this morning also. A lot of folks do not have phones or phone service, so messages have come through Facebook, some through the Office of Emergency Services, some through word-of-mouth and some of it has been neighbors or folks showing up at our command post.”
Scott said the sheriff’s office evacuated two people on Thursday in addition to the four they brought out of the snow on Wednesday. The Del Norte County Road Department is also working to reopen Low Divide Road so a rancher can bring more supplies in to his livestock, the sheriff said.
The DNSO mobilized its Search & Rescue teams at about 10 a.m. Wednesday after receiving reports from the Del Norte Office of Emergency Services that people were running out of food and other necessities. One resident reported that the shed housing their generator collapsed under the weight of the snow.
On Thursday, Scott said residents were still worried about structural damage. Some have been shoveling their roofs and others reported a house that had some sagging, he said.
Low Divide Road resident Deanne Charles said her husband and son were the two who were rescued on Thursday.
Charles said her son went had gone to a neighbor’s home to help dig paths to their woodshed, generator shed and chicken coop and was trapped by another 30 inches of snow.
“Today my husband trekked over there because he knew SAR was going to be there today and they helped get our son home,” Charles told the Outpost. “Currently (our neighbors) are still home. Supplies were brought to them and a dozer is coming up here tomorrow to plow 17N21.”
On Wednesday, Charles said she recorded 87.5 inches of snow — nearly 7.3 feet — at her home since Feb. 23. She notified the U.S. Forest Service Wednesday morning when she heard about her neighbors being stranded.
Snow is expected to continue this evening for elevations above 2,500 feet, according to the National Weather Service. Total snow accumulations of 2 to 7 inches are possible with gusty winds as high as 50 mph. A winter weather advisory is in effect until 10 a.m. Friday for the Del Norte and Humboldt County interior.
For more information about road conditions, call Caltrans at 1-800-GAS-ROAD.