Rain, Snow Falling in Northern California

Cold weather bringing rain and snow to Northern California is expected to linger through mid-week but do little to ease a drought gripping the state, forecasters said Sunday.

The rain that started falling in San Francisco and coastal mountain ranges to the north early Sunday turned into snow up at Blue Canyon northeast of Sacramento at 5,000 feet in elevation, said James Mathews, a forecaster for the National Weather Service in Sacramento. The snow could reach elevations down to 3,500 feet, he said.

California is enduring a fourth drought year. The April 1 snowpack in the Sierra Nevada measured at a dismal 5 percent of historical average.

"It's too little, too late for this rainy season,'' said Mathews, adding that the cold front from the Gulf of Alaska could drop up to 1 foot of snow in the Tahoe area with more at higher elevations. The wet weather is expected through Wednesday, followed by warm temperatures that will quickly melt any new snow, he said.

Sunday's storm dropped nearly a quarter inch of rain in Oakland, forecaster Bob Benjamin in Monterey said. A second storm blowing in Monday could bring between half to over an inch of rain to the Bay Area.

"Everything helps,'' he said. "But it's not going to put a major dent in the drought.''

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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