SAN FRANCISCO – Last week, Gov. Jerry Brown stood in dry brown grass at a site normally covered in snow this time of year and declared the drought conditions gripping the state at its worst point in decades.
Had it been a week later, things might have looked different.
In the wake of an incredibly warm March, an unusually cold spring storm is rolling in, and that barren field where no snow was measured last week at Echo Summit could be covered this week.
Of course, the strong and wet storm that will linger in Northern California through mid-week will do little to help the fix the drought.
"It's a start but it's just not enough," National Weather Service Forecaster Diana Henderson said. "We have a rather large deficient to make up for. One or 2 inches around the Bay Area is just not going to do it."
Rain and snow is expected Monday night and thunderstorms, possibly with small hail, could roll in Tuesday.
Higher up, forecasters say 6 to 12 inches of snow could hit about 4,000 feet with 4 to 6 inches about 7,000 feet of elevation. The National Weather Service in Sacramento has issued a winter storm warning above 3,500 feet for heavy snow, which is in effect from 6 p.m. Monday to 6 p.m. Tuesday.
Mountain travel could be hazardous with slick road and motorist should carry chains and watch speeds, especially above 3,500 feet.
The storm was expected to reach Southern California overnight Monday, spreading moderate rain down the Central Coast to the Los Angeles basin by Tuesday afternoon. Snow levels will lower to 4,500 feet late that night, forecasters said. Skies will clear out Wednesday
The April 1 snow survey in the Sierra Nevada that Brown attended measured at a dismal 5 percent of historical average.
That same day Brown announced an order requiring the State Water Resources Control Board to implement measures in cities and towns to cut the state's overall water usage by 25 percent compared with 2013 levels.
Dry skies and mild weather is expected to be back by in the Bay Area and the mountains by Wednesday afternoon.