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Stormy Monday signals weather-driven version of Black Friday

Windshield wipers, weather gear flying off shelves during first storm of the season
By: Gus Thomson, Journal Staff Writer
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AUBURN CA - You could call it stormy money. And like the gray clouds and rain that enveloped the foothills, it was rolling in on a stormy Monday. Motorists deluged auto supply stores for wiper blades. Businesses stocking anything from tarps to waterproof raingear did a land-office business. The storm of business actually started over the weekend as Northern Californians began to digest forecasts calling for rain to hit as early as Monday and continue through much of the work week. But on Monday, with Auburn in the midst of heavy, steady rain, buyers were pouring into stores like Bare Bones Workwear. It was the first rainstorm of the season and signaled an unscheduled version of Black Friday for seasonally inspired wet-weather garb. Adam Bates, who works outside in the masonry trade, was stocking up on boots, sweaters and rainproof jackets. “I knew it was coming and now I’m getting ready for the weather,” Bates said. Troy Addington of Foresthill Towing dropped into the Bowman-area workwear outfitter to find a pair of waterproof trousers. “We’ve been busy today because of the weather,” Addington said. “It’s time to get these and if doesn’t rain again for awhile, at least I’ll have them.” Manager Betty Bielinski said that the rush started in earnest on Sunday, as a relatively sunny Saturday gave way to cloudy skies and colder, autumn-like temperatures. “We got hit real hard yesterday and were playing catch-up after the heating system blew,” Bielinksi said. “People are looking for things that are waterproof and warm.” Down the road at NAPA Auto Parts on Palm Avenue, the parking lot was sprinkled with customers installing wiper blades in the rain. Casey Brown was one of the crowd, installing fresh blades on his Land Cruiser. “I’m a professional procrastinator,” Brown said. “I should have done it sooner.” Nearby, Auburn’s Brett Jordan said he has a different take on timing for installing new wipers. “I don’t do it until it rains,” Jordan said. Retailers find that consumers tend to put off the inevitable and then flood stores. “Last year, our customers were tearing into boxes of rain gear faster than we could stock shelves,” Bare Bones Workwear retail assistant director Jesse Dean said. The rain was signaling a wiper and rain-suit-buying spree in the Auburn-area foothills while Placer County’s upper regions were experiencing the first snowstorm of the 2012-13 winter season. The blustery squall delivered a foot of the white stuff to Squaw Valley and 14 inches to Alpine Meadows by noon. The National Weather Service reported more was on the way. Amelia Richmond of Squaw Valley said Monday that snow was expected to continue into the night. A second and third wave of snow was being predicted for Tuesday and Wednesday – dropping a total of three feet by Thursday.