Storm to bring rain, snow but will have little effect on California drought

Scattered showers, cold air and near-winter temperatures rolled in to some parts of Northern California, an unusually cold spring storm that forecasters say will drop snow on barren mountains but will do little to help fix the drought.

"It's a start but it's just not enough," said National Weather Service Forecaster Diana Henderson. "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."

Thunderstorms, possibly with small hail, could roll in Tuesday.

Forecasters say 6 to 12 inches of snow could hit about 4,000 feet, with 1 to 2 feet on the higher peaks. The National Weather Service in Sacramento has issued a winter storm warning above 3,500 feet for heavy snow, which is in effect to 6 p.m. Tuesday.

Mountain travel could be hazardous with slick roads, and motorists should carry chains and watch speeds, especially above 3,500 feet.

The storm was expected to spread moderate rain down the Central Coast to the Los Angeles basin by Tuesday afternoon. Snow levels will be at 4,500 feet late that night, forecasters said. Skies will clear out Wednesday.

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.

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 and mild weather is expected to be back by in the Bay Area and the mountains by Wednesday afternoon.