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More California rains threaten Rose Parade, but cheer farmers

Another storm moved through California Wednesday after nearly a week of record rain saturated the state. Sierra Nevada snowpack critical to spring agriculture is at double its normal size.

By Daniel B. WoodStaff writer / December 29, 2010

San Marcos Creek floods Bent Ave in San Marcos, Calif., last week.

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Like many southern Californians at the moment, Mildred Filbert is conflicted about all the rain the region has gotten.

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“It’s good news, it’s bad news and it’s 'Que sera, sera' news,” says the school teacher on break, buying a latte at a Sherman Oaks coffee shop. Five other patrons are staring up at black clouds beneath silver ones as a slight mist sprays the window.

The big question forecasters are asking is whether it will rain on Pasadena’s iconic Rose Parade this Saturday and, less critically, the football game between Texas Christian University and Wisconsin. One and a quarter inches are forecast by Friday on top of record rains – the wettest December since 1889 – here all last week. The Weather Channel says it will be partly cloudy New Year's Day following a partly sunny Friday.

In Pictures: California's big storms

For the moment, local and national news is peppered with isolated stories of residents sandbagging houses and comparing mudslide stories. Some communities near the burned-out Station Fire area of August, 2009 in La Canada/Flintridge and La Crescenta are scrambling with debris flows that have inundated driveways and backyards, and even run into some houses. But for the moment at least, large-scale catastrophes predicted by some have been averted.

Saturated turf is causing trees to fall, however, crashing into cars and homes, and officials are warning of more treefalls to come.

Several officials are highlighting what they are calling the great news about all the rain – that the Sierra mountain snowpack critical to next spring’s agriculture is at twice the normal size for this time of year.

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