The first significant storm to hit Northern California in 14 months produced impressive amounts of rain and snow over the weekend, National Weather Service forecasters said Sunday.
But they cautioned that it would take weeks of similar storms to end the state's immediate drought worries.
A winter-storm warning that was not due to expire until early Monday remained in effect in the greater Lake Tahoe region, where estimates indicated the mighty lake itself had received 13.5 billion gallons of water in a 24-hour period that ended Sunday morning, said meteorologist Scott McGuire in Reno. After subsisting on man-made snow for much of the season, Tahoe's ski resorts gratefully embraced the more than three feet of new snow they received over two days, although the gift heightened the risk of avalanches.
“This event, while it certainly isn't going to take us out of the drought, we couldn't have asked for a better storm,” McGuire said. “We are seeing very, very impressive rainfall and snowfall amounts.”
Parts of the northern San Francisco Bay area saw sizable amounts of rain along with flash-flood warnings. The community of Woodacre, which has the highest base elevation in Marin County, received more than 10 inches since the storm moved in Friday, while Sebastopol in Sonoma County received more than 8 inches and downtown San Francisco more than two inches, said Austin Cross, a National Weather Service forecaster meteorologist in Monterey.
The storm, powered by a warm, moisture-packed system from the Pacific Ocean known as a Pineapple Express, was expected to bring another eight inches of rain and snow to the Lake Tahoe area on Sunday, but less than an inch more rain to the Bay Area before it moves east and ends overnight. Forecasts for the week showed a possibility of rain returning to the northern part of the state Wednesday.
“Even this fairly good amount of rain is not enough to catch us up to what is normal for this time of year,” Cross said. “It certainly helps, but we're not there yet.”