By Steve Large

NEVADA COUNTY (CBS13) — In Nevada County, there was a powerful surprise for some residents and business owners.

Pacific Gas and Electric restored power for some on Thursday for the time since a massive snowstorm knocked it out Sunday night.

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PG&E reports Nevada County still had around 16,000 customers without power Thursday night.

In the more rural areas of the county, trees were down, lines are down, and the power outage in some areas means no plumbing and no water for households running off wells.

For some, the snow is a main resource.

Ross and Tami Crary have lived in Nevada County for decades and say survival comes down to basic instincts.

“Hopefully you got a wood-burning stove or some way to melt the snow, get some warm water or take what we call a ‘cat bath,’” Ross Crary said. “You want to stay warm, you want to try to stay fed, and you want to try to stay clean. “

They aren’t expecting power to be back on until January 4.

“We just go check on everybody to make sure everybody’s OK,” Tami Crary said.

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There was a powerful surprise for Billie Alvarez-Declusis a few blocks away.

“Within the last 5 to 10 minutes it finally came back on,” Alvarez-Declusis said.

Her power just turned on, giving her 4-year-old a big smile. She had expected the wait to be until next week.

And Downtown Nevada City businesses also got power restored for the first since Sunday.

Businesses were back open. Some were still getting ready for the return of customers.

“Tomorrow,” Golden Era Cocktail Bar owner Eric Giardina said. “You know today was check your Wi-Fi, check your systems, make sure there’s nothing in the eaves that are going to drop three feet of snow on people.”

Power and patience. In Nevada County, some are celebrating. For others, the struggle continues.

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The Nevada County Sheriff’s Office has coordinated a task force with PG&E crews, snowplows and firefighters working together to restore power in the county.