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Families Are Already Driving to Big Bear After Storm Brings Fresh Snow, and Magic of Winter Early

Families are already kicking off holiday fun after Big Bear saw several inches of snow, and inches added to Big Bear Lake’s water level, thanks to Tuesday’s storm.

The lake had been depleted by years of worsening drought, but after the storm, water district officials said the water level had risen by 6 inches.

It’s 16.5 feet below capacity, and the last time it was at normal levels was 2011. Tony Shin reports from Big Bear Marina Aug. 19, 2022.

It’s an inclination you’ve likely had while heading up the winding roads. While still miles away from their final destination of Big Bear, some families just couldn’t resist stopping a little early and getting into snowball fights with the fresh powder.

Unfortunately dad’s are usually the ones who get beat up when snowballs are flying.

“I loved the snow when I was younger. Not so much when I’m older,” said dad Noukone Phommavongsa, a Riverside resident getting pelted by his kids.

And it isn’t just out-of-towners who look forward to the snowfall.

“We love all the seasons in Big Bear but winter is definitely our favorite because it is just magic. There is something magic about the snow. We get excited every winter and last year it didn’t come until later,” said Tiffany Keliinoi, a Big Bear resident.

But the powerful storm that blanketed the mountains also caused some big problems, including icy roadways and power outages from downed powerlines. It made for an eventful night for Irene Mullen.

“Pretty scary last night. We actually had no power all night so it was interesting snuggling up,” San Diego resident Irene Mullen said.

She and her husband Drew came up from San Diego with their daughter Sophie. They’re vacationing in Big Bear before Drew is deployed with the Navy, and this big snowfall couldn’t be a better going-away gift.

“Magical. It’s like early Christmas for us,” she said.

If you are planning to make the drive to Big Bear, don’t forget to bring snow chains, as some roads are still pretty icy.

“It took about two and a half hours to get up here but it’s worth it once you get up here and see the snow. You forget about that long drive,” said LA resident Alex Salgado.

Bear Valley Unified School District also closed schools Wednesday over the snowy weather.

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