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Snowmelt expected to cause higher water | Weather

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Snowmelt expected to cause higher water
Weather

SACRAMENTO, CA - A flood of runoff from the winter's massive snowpack is expected to raise water levels and perhaps cause flooding along some rivers in Northern California.

"Last month the water came up to the deck," said Jeffrey Allen, as he stood beside the South Fork of the American River east of Pollock Pines in El Dorado County.

Allen showed visitors pictures of the damage to his grandparents cabin in the flood of 1997 that swept away the deck. He said it's all about being prepared.

"Family first. And the animals. This is just stuff. Stuff can be replaced. Lives can't be replaced," Allen said. "Just get out and everything can be replaced, you know?"

Like many who live along area riverbanks, Allen is hoping the snowpack will melt gradually.

Experts caution that water levels will depend on how fast the melt happens.

"Even if all the snow and rain stopped right now, eventually that snow is going to start melting and it's going to run off into a system  that's already got a lot of water in it," said David Rizzardo of the state's Department of Water Resources.

According to Rizzardo, the north state may be in for a long flood fight this spring.

In Pollock Pines, the stunning snowfall of the last week is still taking a toll. A roof collapse at Aren's and Son's Logging happened over the weekend just as Steven Wood was arriving for his shift as a night watchman.

"I came down the driveway...bang! Fortunately, no one was in there," Wood said as he surveyed what he estimated is $100,000 in damage.

On Monday workers were still clearing several feet of snow from rooftops of local homes and businesses.

Electrician Sparky Hammett said he expects the runoff from low snow to cause serious problems. "I can see some major flooding," he said.

By Dave Marquis, dmarquis@News10.net

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