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Late-winter storms hit US Southwest; Rain reaches California

March 1, 2015

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Parts of California were getting a welcome dose of rain and snow — a blessing for California and Nevada ski resorts — while late-winter weather dumped snow elsewhere in the U.S. Southwest.

It began snowing in the Sierra Nevada late Friday and ski resorts reported receiving 12 to 18 inches (30 to 46 centimeters) of snow high on the mountains, said Jim Matthews, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Sacramento.

“We are thrilled,” Melissa Matheney, a spokeswoman for Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows ski resorts, told the San Francisco Chronicle. “We couldn’t be happier with this storm. It exceeded expectations, which is fantastic.”

The Sugar Bowl ski resort reported up to 24 inches (61 centimeters) of snow by Saturday afternoon.

The storm system also brought scattered showers as it moved into central and southern California. Up to a foot (30 centimeters) of snow could fall through Monday, including in the San Bernardino and Angeles national forests. That follows a spell of dry weather that had some ski resorts talking about closing.

Meanwhile, central and northern New Mexico received a record-breaking snowfall Friday and Saturday with more expected throughout the weekend.

“Most of Albuquerque has had anywhere from 4 to 10 inches (10 to 25 centimeters) of snow. It’s really kind of crippled the city,” meteorologist Todd Shoemake said.

In the Midwest, states including Missouri, Illinois, Indiana and Kansas saw a mix of freezing rain and snow.

The arctic weather system had led to several record-breaking cold temperature readings in Iowa. Mason City, Iowa, hit a record low of -18 degrees F (-27.8 Celsius) Friday, shattering its 115-year-old record of -12 degrees F (-24.4 Celsius), the National Weather Service said. Waterloo also reached a record low of -24 degrees F (-31 Celsius) on Friday, beating a record set in 1897.

In other parts of the country, flights were canceled because of ice on the runways and snow collapsed a skating rink roof in Massachusetts. In Texas, freezing rain for the second consecutive day left highways slick with ice and forced the cancellation of nearly another 1,000 flights Saturday at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport.

In Colorado, forecasters say a winter storm bearing down on central and southern parts of the state could bring up to 4 feet (1.2 meters) of snow by Monday.

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