God's Country Recovers

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MODESTO, California: West Coast residents began to dig out Sunday as sunny skies and a brisk wind provided 23,000 people a chance to return to their flooded homes in Yuba, Stanislaus and Sutter counties, about 100 miles northeast of San Francisco. Two levee breaks there had chased more than 90,000 people from their homes Thursday. As much as 40 inches of rain fell on the region last week, while rising temperatures melted accummulated snow in the Sierra Nevada. Forty-one California counties have been declared emergency areas, while a week of snow and rain has also devastated areas of Washington, Oregon, Idaho and western Nevada. Runoff from the Sierra Nevada mountain range continued to swell rivers across Northern California, leaving some residents homeless for yet another day. In Meridian, a Sacramento River town near Yuba City, 2,000 people were ordered to evacuate during the night as the river rose. But the sun is shining in coastal regions, and colder temperatures in the mountains are giving hope that the snow melt will ease pressure on flooding.