Best of the West, Storm Edition: 42% of California drought free, Oregon Gov. Brown declares snow emergency

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The Western Governors' Association keeps you updated on news of the West. Here are extreme weather western stories for the week starting Jan. 9, 2017, that you don't want to miss.

drought comparisonA storm system dumped precipitation on multiple western states this week, flooding rivers and burying communities in record snowfall. The storms also contributed to major drought improvements across the West.

California: Northern California saw more than 20 inches of rain and 12 feet of snow, which delivered much-needed drought relief. More than 40% of California is now free of drought for the first time since early 2013. The storms also dramatically boosted the statewide Sierra snowpack, the source of one-third of California’s water supply, to 161% of normal. Lake Tahoe has gained approximately 33.6 billion gallons of water since the beginning of the month.

Colorado: Colorado's Crested Butte ski resort closed down because of too much snow, and resorts in California and Nevada experienced similar issues. A series of avalanches also shut down stretches of Interstate-70.

Nevada: Heavy rains prompted evacuations in Nevada and northern California. Lake Tahoe's water level has increased by one foot since the beginning of the month.

Oregon: Snow blanketed much of Oregon, prompting Gov. Kate  Brown to declare a state of emergency as more than 37,000 people in the Portland area lost power. The polar bears at the Oregon Zoo didn't seem to mind the record-nearing snow day.

More extreme weather: A mass of Arctic air is expected to make the temperatures plummet to 50 degrees below zero in parts of Alaska this weekend.

See last week's Best of the West.

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