Heavy rain rolled through parts of the San Francisco Bay Area Thursday with South and East Bay cities receiving showers throughout the afternoon. Thunder was also reported in parts of the South Bay.
Rain was reported in parts of San Jose, Cupertino, Sunnyvale and Palo Alto.
Scattered thunderstorms hit the coasts of central and Southern California on Thursday ahead of a stronger dousing of rain and snow expected to sweep much of the drought-stricken state before the weekend.
The storm's first rains have been felt from Santa Maria to Santa Monica, but most of the Los Angeles areas have remained dry so far. And don't expect the dousing to ease the state's worsening water shortage, National Weather Service meteorologist Ryan Kittell said. "It won't have any huge impact on the drought, but any little bit will help, especially if we get some snow in the mountains,'' he said.
About a quarter-inch of rain is expected in Northern California before the storm winds down, National Weather Service forecaster Diana Henderson said.
"Even using the word, `storm,' is probably hyperbole,'' she said.
But it could end up packing a bigger punch in Southern California.
Scattered showers and possible thunderstorms Friday are expected to follow an initial period of steady rain Thursday, Kittell said.
Up to a half-inch of rain could fall in and around downtown Los Angeles, while foothill neighborhoods might see about an inch. Flooding and debris flows are possible if thunderstorms form over foothill areas stripped bare by wildfires.
In the mountains, the storm may dump up to 2 inches of snow as low as 5,000 feet.
Kittell said a mid-May storm packing so much moisture in Southern California is rare, though the region got a similar dousing last week.
Downpour in #Milpitas with embedded thunder heading northward to Fremont and the Sunol Grade @nbcbayarea pic.twitter.com/scdRFp4T7T — Rob Mayeda (@RobMayeda) May 14, 2015
Yes, that was thunder! (in San Jose) #BayAreaRain — NBC Bay Area (@nbcbayarea) May 14, 2015
Rain pouring in San Jose (if you haven't looked outside) Here's what it looks like at our station. pic.twitter.com/Fr5NhR9CXf — Ian Cull (@NBCian) May 14, 2015