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CNN Today

Western States Face Severe Weather

Aired January 12, 2001 - 4:10 p.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

JOIE CHEN, CNN ANCHOR: The word out in California continues to be conservation, specifically conserving electricity. The state is under a stage two alert until late tonight, and that means power reserves in California have fallen below 5 percent. Energy officials are urging consumers to cut back wherever they can. Governor Gray Davis is meeting with the governors of Oregon and Washington today -- two states which have supplied power to California.

Adding to California's power troubles, a blast of winter that's arrived on its coast. Even as Californians are being urged to cut back on their energy use, the weather has forced some to turn up their thermostats. And California's just the leading edge for a cold blast now moving to the east.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CHEN (voice-over): It's all a matter of perspective and elevation. In the mountains around Flagstaff, heavy snow -- as much as two feet in some spots, dumped on northern Arizona. This stuff started out as rain, and lots of it, along the California coast, badly needed there. But the same system also brought high winds and big waves that slammed the shore in spots.

In the Sierras, skiers and snowboarders saw the payoff: terrific snow, more than four feet in spots; heavy powder, the kind they love out there.

UNIDENTIFIED SKIER: If it's clear, it's going to be hectic out here. I think we're going to head up to the backcountry because there's finally some snow.

CHEN: Behind that front, a second wave of winter: more rain reaching the California coast, not nearly as bad as the first one, but still causing some flooding. The worst should be over for southern California, down to San Diego County, by tonight.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I knew it was windy, and I heard something crackle yesterday, but I didn't want to go out because it was too cold and I'm afraid I might see something, you know, that I didn't like.

CHEN: Bear in the mind, the rest of the country won't be left out. The system is still moving east, and it may not bring this great stuff to a ski slope near you, but lots of places will see snow and rain from this one. (END VIDEOTAPE)

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