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Northern California having wet Christmas

Posted: December 25, 2012 3:32 p.m.
Updated: December 25, 2012 3:32 p.m.

Sandy LeDuc braves floodwaters to gather her mail on Piner Road, Friday Dec. 21, 2012 in Santa Rosa, Calif as a large winter storm barreled in to Northern California. (AP Photo/The Press Democrat, Kent Porter)

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Northern California received more rain and snow on Christmas Day, as the third storm system in a handful of days moved through the region.

The brunt of the storm was expected to hit late Tuesday afternoon, with thunder and even hail possible in the San Francisco Bay area, National Weather Service forecaster Bob Benjamin said.

The Sierra was getting more snow.

Benjamin said the system is expected to move through quickly, reducing the likelihood of any major flooding. He expected isolated shower activity through Wednesday.

Still, with the ground saturated from previous storms, officials were planning to keep an eye on rivers and streams.

"Hopefully, it's of a duration that won't create huge problems," Benjamin said.

The region was slammed by rain and snow over the weekend, bringing welcome moisture to the snowpack-dependent state but dangerous avalanche conditions to popular ski areas.

Authorities say a 49-year-old snowboarder died Monday at Donner Ski Ranch after he was buried under 2 to 3 feet of snow.

And a veteran ski patroller at Alpine Meadows was hospitalized after being buried in a slide that had been intentionally set with an explosive device. The patroller, who had 28 years of experience at the resort, was uncovered within eight minutes.

"The charge triggered the avalanche, which broke much higher and wider on the slope than previously observed in past snow safety missions," Alpine Meadows said in a statement.

Amelia Richmond, a resort spokeswoman, said on Tuesday she was unable to release the patroller's name and did not have a condition update from the hospital.

The severe storms have given a much-needed boost to reservoirs and kept the grass green for cattle feeds, San Joaquin County Agriculture Commissioner Scott Hudson said Monday.

"It's much better than what it was at this time last year when we were fairly dry," Hudson said. "This year's rain has come in intervals where it's keeping us saturated, but not flooded."


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