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Snow enthusiasts head to Sierra while Mother Nature may shine on Almond fete
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It’s good news for Almond Blossom Festival enthusiast, a mixed bag for skiers, and not so good news for California’s long-range water supply.

A revised National Weather Service outlook calls for no rain in the forecast in the San Joaquin Valley until the last two days of this month when a storm that could deliver showers for a rare - at least for this winter - four out of five day stretch between Feb. 28 and March 4.

It will be mostly cloudy today in the valley, with light rain at lower mountain elevations and snow flurries higher in the Sierra.

Temperatures are expected to top 70 degrees starting Wednesday for three straight days.

The 50th edition of the Almond Blossom parade starts at 1 p.m. Saturday in Ripon with forecasters expecting plenty of sun and plenty of breezes with a high of 64 degrees. Then on Sunday - the last day of the festival - the forecast calls for more sun than clouds with a high of 63 degrees.

A burst  of snow this past week  improved ski conditions in the Sierra but did nothing to change the water outlook for summer as snowfall in the Sierra - that provides a third of California’s water needs- was still at 34 percent of normal.

The snow is helping lure many South County residents to take advantage of the current three-day weekend to head to the slopes.

Marcus Bergrum thought he’d never see improved conditions this winter. But the storm this past week prompted him to wax down his snowboard and head to the Sierra this weekend.

Bergrum, who normally opts for a season a pass at his favorite resort – Kirkwood – passed this year because he knew he wasn’t going to have enough time to make it up and back. Work commitments on the weekends killed the opportunity to stay in his family’s winter cabin.

 “It hasn’t been totally dead this year,” he said. “There’s been some snow up there and its fun just to get away from everything and get up on the mountain. The conditions could be a little bit better, but with fresh snow over the last week, I’m looking forward to seeing what they did with it.”

With a pair of short winter storms passing through over the past week, more than two feet of snow was logged at resorts on and around Lake Tahoe – a major destination for this Presidents’ Day weekend.

But not everyone has to be spending the weekend at Lake Tahoe to enjoy the winter bounty of the Central Sierra.

Crystal White says that she’s planning on driving up to Pinecrest with her kids just to play in the snow over the three-day weekend – something that they do as a family every year and enjoy doing closer to home.

“It’s beautiful up there we can take the kids and have fun and we don’t have to worry about paying for lift tickets or anything like that,” she said. “They’re too young for that right now. Maybe someday, but we’re happy with the snow right there near the lake or off on the side of the road.

“That’s kind of one of the cool things about living where we do. You can go up there and enjoy it for a day and be back home where it isn’t cold in an hour. I love it.”