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Storms add to Sierra snowpack

By: Gus Thomson, Journal Staff Writer
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The latest round of snow in the Sierra is making skiers happy and water suppliers more hopeful. At Boreal Mountain resort, a storm pushed through Wednesday, dropping almost a foot of powder. John Slaughter, Boreal spokesman, said that in combination with the “Olympic effect,” the resort was expecting a major turnout Thursday through the weekend. “It looks like roads are going to be clear and it’s going to be a great powder day,” Slaughter said. Wednesday’s storm caused problems on Interstate 80 over the snowbound Donner Summit for some motorists, with spinouts in the afternoon closing the freeway eastbound from Colfax. Tractor-trailer traffic was stopped at Applegate. While the snow was causing challenges for Sierra drivers, it was adding to the mountain snowpack that is already near normal for this time of year. Snow measured by the Nevada Irrigation District had an average of 27.7 inches of water content, or 92 percent of the March 1 average. The snow was measured at several Sierra locations Tuesday. Sue Sindt, district operations supervisor, said that although February was below average, she felt fortunate that the water content in the snowpack remains near-average. Sindt said she was also pleased with the possibility Wednesday and later in the week of more snowfall to add to water-content totals. The March survey is the second of three the district performs each season. Results are used to predict water availability locally and statewide. Today should be cold and partly cloudy in the Auburn area, with temperatures rising to the mid-50s, said Tom Dang, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service’s Sacramento office. Another upper-level system originating in Alaska should slide down the coast, bringing a chance of rain or snow down to 3,500 to 4,500 feet, he said.