NorCal avalanches claim the lives of two snowboarders

FAN Editor

LOS ANGELES — Powerful storms slammed the West Coast on Friday. Heavy rain drenched the California coast, while the mountains got walloped with snow. Avalanches claimed the lives of two snowboarders on different peaks in California’s Sierra Nevada. 

There were frantic moments as skiers at Squaw Valley, near Lake Tahoe, scrambled to find a man buried by an avalanche. 

“My husband is missing please!” said one woman. 

“We just started digging, furiously digging,” said Joseph Breault, who helped rescuers. 

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Heavy snow hitting California’s Sierra Nevada.

CBS News

They found the man under several feet of snow — alive.

“He opened up his eyes and he’s looking right at me and he says where’s my wife?” Breault said. 

That same storm also claimed the lives of two snowboarders on different peaks in California’s Sierra Nevada. Experts say conditions remain treacherous.

“It’s very critical you always stay close, you always stay with friends and you always recognize that this kind of thing can happen,” said Tim Cohee, China Peak manager. 

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Near Lake Tahoe, a skiier was rescued from an avalanche.

CBS News

The blizzard dumped up to 3 feet of snow and closed major highways. The driver of one tractor trailer lost control in a whiteout. 

In southern California, the storm brought rain, and heightened concerns in Montecito, where thousands were ordered to evacuate by Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown.

“Unfortunately this has got to become part of our new normal,” Brown said. 

Authorities had feared a repeat of January’s deadly mudslide, the result of hills stripped bare by last year’s massive wildfires.

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Southern California was drenched with rain on March 2, 2017.

CBS News

The rain was heavy at times, but other than minor debris flows closing some roads, there was little damage.

Despite the flooding fears from earlier downpours, overall, the rain is good news for southern California. This area is still in the midst of a severe drought.

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