Big Bear Digs Out

By Mary Parks and Bill French
|  Wednesday, Jan 27, 2010  |  Updated 11:53 AM PDT
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Big Bear Digs Out

Big Bear Resident Douglas Nelson has the right tool for a big job, as Big Bear digs out from the biggest storm in recent memory.

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There's an old saying that you should be careful what you wish for because you might get it. You don't have to tell the ski resorts and tourist businesses near Big Bear Lake. Tuesday, they were still digging out from a bad case of too much of a good thing.

Just ask Carrie Liddle, who operates a general store in Big Bear City. She made it to work Tuesday for the first time since last week's big storms hit. Like thousands of others at Big Bear, she was snowed in with her three children for five full days with no telephones or electricity. The family ran out of firewood and food.

"Everybody was scattered around trying to get supplies," said Liddle. "Even people who had supplies couldn't sell them because they didn't have electricity."

Tuesday afternoon the main roads were finally open and delivery trucks carrying fuel and supplies were rolling into Big Bear, just in time for many people.

The next step was already underway, as residents started to dig out neighborhoods off the main streets. It took Douglas Nelson five hours just to clear his driveway.

"Because of the amount of traffic, the snow came and then it was packed down to about one or two feet of hard snow," said Nelson. "That made it real difficult."

Nelson has been busy using his personal snow plow to dig out neighbors. That's been a familiar theme in Big Bear, as residents try to provide what they can for their neighbors.

Mail and package delivery services were also rolling into Big Bear again on Tuesday. Caravans of tankers and supply trucks were also making their way up the snowy mountain.

"The station I'm headed to now is out of fuel," said Johnny Aassing, a tanker driver. "They've been out for two days."

Marcelo Alvarez, who runs a snowboard shop, had a positive outlook. He sees this as a good drill for any real calamity.

"It was a little chaotic, but it was good," said Alvarez. "We pulled through altogether.   And that was the most important thing."

And most residents had to agree, despite the hardship, the overall effect of the storms will be a positive one for the local economy.

"It's a great thing for us to have a full lake next year," said Nelson. "With this type of El Nino coming in, it creates jobs for everybody."

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