Monday's respite from the weekend's deluge wasn't expected to be long lived, with forecasters promising a wet Christmas in the region and continued danger in the mountains, where an alert remains in place following two avalanches that left a snowboarder dead and an experienced ski patroller in critical condition.
National Weather Service forecasters in Reno said they expect more snowfall through the week, and posted an avalanche advisory. Higher elevations received almost 5 feet of snow this weekend in what's being called Lake Tahoe's second snowiest Christmas on record.
"The avalanche danger is definitely pretty high," said forecaster Zach Tolby. "Anytime you got a lot of snow in a short time it will create those conditions."
Closer to home, the clean up was under way on the Peninsula, where the San Francisquito Creek overflowed on West Bayshore and Embarcadero roads on Sunday, depleting Palo Alto of its sandbag stockpile. Down the coast, a rockslide closed Highway 1 south of Big Sur.
And the hazardous weather even impacted a Christmas tradition: live crabs were in short supply at local markets because the rain kept fishermen at bay.
But the winter wallop was at times treacherous in the mountains.
A snowboarder died after he was buried for hours following an avalanche at Donner Ski Ranch near Truckee Monday morning, according to Nevada County sheriff's officials.
Steven Mark Anderson, who lives in the Truckee area,
At Alpine Meadows, a longtime ski patroller was caught in an avalanche that had been purposely triggered in an effort to control an even bigger threat on the slopes.
But the avalanche "broke much higher and wider on the slope than previously observed in past snow safety missions," the resort said in a statement.
On Sunday, two skiers were treated for minor injuries after getting caught in an avalanche at Squaw Valley. "Our ski patrols do everything we can to keep the resort safe," said Amelia Richmond, spokeswoman for Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows resorts. "But basically, it's not an exact science."
Richmond said that they will close the slopes if conditions are deemed too hazardous.
In the Bay Area, most creeks in the region had receded to their pre-storm levels by Monday afternoon, but authorities continued to monitor waterways in Napa and Guerneville that were still running high.
In East Palo Alto, crews were racing Monday to shore up a damaged levee that separates San Francisquito Creek from hundreds of homes ahead of more rain expected to hit the region on Christmas Day.
The creek breached the levee during Sunday's downpour, forcing the evacuation of seven homes and damaging one of them. Repair efforts were expected to be complete before Tuesday's expected storm.
After the weekend's downpour, the Bay Area was well over its seasonal average, with San Jose and San Francisco both at 143 percent of normal. Oakland is slightly higher at 145 percent and the North Bay is at 172 percent. Forecasters expected the rain to return after midnight Monday, and remain "showery" for the rest of the week although a repeat of Sunday's soaker is not expected.
Staff writers Jason Green and Robert Salonga contributed. Contact Eric Kurhi at 408-920-5852. Follow him at Twitter.com/erickurhi.