Sierra gets snow instead of rain, helping curb flooding concerns

1:06 AM, Dec 3, 2012   |    comments
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TRUCKEE, Calif. - A wallop of warm winter weather did not cause the expected flooding in the Northern Sierra.

The heavy rain that fell across Donner Summit and the nearby spine of the Sierra turned to snow at lower elevations than expected, helping keep the Truckee River within its banks.

"Everything is so wonderful! I just had to shed a tear when we saw the snow," said homeowner Darlene Fredericks, who's property lies on the west bank of the Truckee River a few miles north of Squaw Valley. "It's still within it's banks, I can't believe it."

Several miles below, Rick Reynolds surveyed his property beside the river, amazed the water barely came into his yard.

"The snow level came down a lot sooner, the rain didn't come in as hard," Reynolds said.

The Squaw Valley Ski Resort was among many ski areas that shut down in the middle of the intense weather.

"It's been absolutely wild. We've been going from torrential downpours to high winds and now it's kinda almost snowing," said Squaw Valley resident Becca Waldo as she stood in front of a sign showing all of Squaw Valley's ski runs shut down.

Clayton McDonnell rents a cabin just 100 feet from the edge of the river.

"I had a bunch of friends I know in town ready to come over here and give me a hand if I needed, moving stuff out," McDonnell said. "It's been a couple of years since it's gotten this high."

To the west of Donner Summit, the Yuba River briefly jumped it's banks, pouring into Charlie Riley's back yard.

"Normally, it's another 200 feet back to where the river is. I woke up this morning, and the river is where my feet are," said Riley, as he stood near the edge of his back deck.

Most residents agreed with Fredericks, who said, "I'm just so thankful. I couldn't believe it. When I saw the snow, I knew things were going to be better."


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