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Northern California's storm delivered a historic punch to drought but not a knockout blow

While the snow a welcome sight, the hope is that more will still come throughout the wet season.

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — Two to three feet of fresh snow was reported at Tahoe ski resorts after hours of non-stop rain hit the region.

Snowboarder Kaimana Kamikaua hopes it’s a sign for a wonderful winter season on the slopes.

“I’m excited, can’t wait for more of it this winter," Kamikaua said. "I can’t wait for the season. It’s going to be a good season.”

It's a silver lining and excitement despite the mess that the historic storm made on roadways from flooding, debris flows, and rock slides.

Experts say this weekend’s storm system delivered a powerful punch, but it's far from being a knockout blow.

“It’s a pretty big storm, but we’ve had two years of very deep drought and this will help but it doesn’t end it,” said Jay Lund,  co-director for watershed sciences at UC Davis.

Lund said the rain and snow we saw is much needed, but only accounts for about a fifth of the average precipitation the state sees in an average year.

“If the rest of this year is like last year, we’re still going to be in a pretty bad drought,” Lund said.

It’s a reminder that the region is still in the clutches of climate change.

Sierra at Tahoe’s future remains uncertain as it rebuilds from the Caldor Fire. Officials have determined its West Bowl Express section will be inaccessible this season and are continuing efforts to find safe ski lines on the mountain.

While the snow a welcome sight, the hope is that more will come throughout the wet season.

On Thursday, a new drought monitor report will be released and experts expect to see some improvement. Meanwhile, the countdown is on as skiers and snowboarders wait for resorts to open. 

At Heavenly Ski Resort, they’re planning welcome back visitors on Nov. 19. Over at Kirkwood, opening day is Dec. 3.


Extreme rain breaks records in Northern California | Drought updates

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