SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - California has gone from dry to damp – and a drenching could be in the near future.
A storm system that dropped snow on ski slopes in the Sierra Nevada, sent mud and debris into highways on the Pacific Coast and brought flight delays to the busy end of Thanksgiving weekend was expected to be followed by another more serious system midweek.
The Pacific Coast Highway near Malibu is expected to be closed at least through Monday after rains in a former wildfire area sent sharp rocks and debris into the roadway on Sunday, stranding about a dozen cars.
In Northern California, ski resorts that have stocked up on artificial-snow machines in the drought enjoyed a few inches of the real stuff.
A foot of snow fell on the Sierra's Donner Pass, and the storms moving in from the coast were bringing several more inches of snow to northern mountains by Monday morning, the National Weather Service said.
At the Boreal Mountain Resort near Lake Tahoe, skiers under low, gray clouds were making turns Sunday on 9 inches of snow that fell since Friday night.
``We're all skiers and riders up here,'' said Tess Hobbs, a spokeswoman at the ski resort, ``we love to have those powder days.''
The northern Sierras stood at just 76 percent of normal precipitation for this point in what meteorologists call the water year, which starts Oct. 1, National Weather Service forecaster Holly Osborne said.
Still, a series of back-to-back storms in November already have made this year better than last year, when it took until February for the Sierras to get as much rain and snow as they have now, Osborne said.
Sierra snowpack, a key water source for much of the state, sank to its second-lowest level in 90 years last year.
Rain, wind and fog at San Francisco International Airport forced airport officials to scale back the number of hourly flights in and out from 60 to about 25, airport duty manager Dan Dinnocenti said.
Many travelers experienced delays of two hours or more, he said.
Several cities including San Jose in the north and Burbank and Long Beach in the south, received about a half-inch or more of rain.