By Eric Kurhi
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 three 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 on their website.
"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, weather made a mess in Palo Alto, where the San Francisquito Creek overflowed on West Bayshore and Embarcadero roads on Sunday, depleting the city of its sandbag stockpile. And on the coast, a rockslide closed Highway 1 south of Big Sur.
And while a Livermore man needed to be rescued from high waters at a regional park, the rainy day troubles paled in comparison to what was happening on higher ground.
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, was reported missing around noon, three hours after the avalanche. A search dog found his body around 1:30 p.m., buried under two to three feet of snow.
At Alpine Meadows, a longtime ski patroller was caught in an avalanche that had been purposely triggered.
"The avalanche was triggered by an explosive charge that had been thrown by a senior member of the ski patrol team," said the statement released by the resort. "The charge triggered the avalanche, which broke much higher and wider on the slope than previously observed in past snow safety missions."
And 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 Meados resorts. "But basically, it's not an exact science."
Richmond added that they will close the slopes if conditions are deemed too hazardous.
In the Bay Area, most creeks in the region have receded to their pre-storm levels by Monday afternoon, but authorities continue to monitor waterways in Napa and Guerneville that haven't receded to comfortable levels. Strudley added that areas like the Santa Cruz Mountains will sometimes get under-forecast, building in some unpredictability.
"If those reach the two to three inch levels, then we're in flooding territory," he said.
Contact Eric Kurhi at 408-920-5852. Follow him at Twitter.com/erickurhi.