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Northern California having wet Christmas

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- Northern California received more rain and snow on Christmas Day, as the third storm system in a handful of days moved through the region.

The brunt of the storm was expected to hit late Tuesday afternoon, with thunder and even hail possible in the San Francisco Bay area, National Weather Service forecaster Bob Benjamin said.

The Sierra was getting more snow.

Benjamin said the system is expected to move through quickly, reducing the likelihood of any major flooding. He expected isolated shower activity through Wednesday.

Still, with the ground saturated from previous storms, officials were planning to keep an eye on rivers and streams.

“Hopefully, it's of a duration that won't create huge problems,” Benjamin said.

The region was slammed by rain and snow over the weekend, bringing welcome moisture to the snowpack-dependent state but dangerous avalanche conditions to popular ski areas.

Authorities say a 49-year-old snowboarder died Monday at Donner Ski Ranch after he was buried under 2 to 3 feet of snow.

A veteran ski patroller at neighboring Alpine Meadows also died after being buried in a slide that had been intentionally set with an explosive device. The resort announced the patroller's death on Tuesday.

He was buried in a slide that had been intentionally set with an explosive device by a senior member of the ski patrol team. The team was doing avalanche control in an area closed to the public on the back side of the resort.

The severe storms have given a much-needed boost to reservoirs and kept the grass green for cattle feeds, San Joaquin County Agriculture Commissioner Scott Hudson said Monday.

“It's much better than what it was at this time last year when we were fairly dry,” Hudson said. “This year's rain has come in intervals where it's keeping us saturated, but not flooded.”

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Associated Press writer Sudhin Thanawala contributed to this report.

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