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Storm brings needed snow to California’s Sierra Nevada

TRUCKEE, Calif. (AP) — A winter storm swept into Northern California on Friday and dumped nearly a foot of much-needed snow in higher elevations of the Sierra Nevada.

More snow was expected in the region before the system moved out.

Moderate to occasionally heavy snow was forecast through afternoon, when the storm was expected to shift course to the central portion of the state, said National Weather Service forecaster Craig Shoemaker.

Donner Pass received 9 inches (23 centimeters) of snow overnight and another 3 inches (7.6 centimeters) were expected, he said.

“We have been a bit behind for what’s normal precipitation for the Sierra for this time. This will helps out,” Shoemaker said.

The Sierra Nevada snowpack becomes a significant portion of California’s water supply when it melts and runs down into reservoirs. The snowpack was well below normal when the state’s first measurement of the year was made early this month.

The average rainfall is 20 inches (50 centimeters) by this time of year but the Sierra has received 17.8 inches (45 centimeters) so far, he said.

The Northstar ski resort near Truckee recorded 11 inches (28 centimeters) of snow and up to 7 inches (18 centimeters) was reported at Heavenly in South Lake Tahoe, the National Weather Service said.

Farther south, a high surf warning was issued for California’s central coast. Beaches between Monterey and Sonoma counties could see waves up to 30 feet (9 meters) high, forecasters said.

KSBW in Salinas reported at least four surfers were plucked from the ocean off Capitola Beach on Thursday after they couldn’t handle the 20-foot high waves.

The region will see dry conditions Saturday but another storm system will move into the area midday Sunday, Shoemaker said.

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