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The first big storm arrived late in the season but brightened the state’s water outlook heading into spring.

“It’s nothing we haven’t faced before. Just not this year,” said Caltrans spokesman Rochelle Jenkins.

The National Weather Service said the snow level had dropped to 3,000 feet in the northern Sierra Nevada. Snow fell at the rate of 1 inch each hour, and forecasters expected at least 8 more inches into Thursday. Winds gusted to 50 mph.

Sunny skies were expected through the weekend.

From wire dispatches and staff reports