Rain to hit the Bay Area Thursday night through Friday morning

- Storms to hit the Bay Area Thursday night showers in the later part of the evening tonight through the overnight.  Rain will taper off tomorrow and we will see a little bit of a break until Saturday.  Temperatures will be above average today through tomorrow. 

Nearly a dozen days of rain have doused Northern California this month and more soakings are in store before February rolls around, while Southern California more or less has gotten short-shrift from the El Nino-backed storms, forecasters said Thursday.

The storms aren't yet enough to end California's four-year dry spell. State water managers say California's snowpack needs to be at 150 percent of normal on April 1 to signal an end to drought. The statewide snowpack survey is at 115 percent of normal for this time of year, according to state officials.

National Weather Service Forecaster Steve Anderson says rain is coming Thursday night and Friday morning with lingering showers through Saturday in the Bay Area. While next week is forecast to be drier, the rain will return in February.

The storm systems also bring treacherous high tides.

On California's Central coast, two college students in Santa Cruz were swept off a rock and into the ocean by a wave Monday. Two surfers have also gone missing in rough Northern California waters in recent days.

At the same time, the final king tides of the 2015-16 season are hitting the Bay Area Thursday and Friday mornings.

"These king tide conditions, when combined with a severe storm like the ones El Nino is bringing this year, could flood freeways and critical infrastructure across the Bay," said Jeremy Lowe, a senior coastal geomorphologist for the San Francisco Estuary Institute.

To the south, forecasters said the latest front would deliver decent rain to the Central Coast on Friday but weaken considerably as it moves farther south, bringing only a chance of showers Saturday to the region from Los Angeles to San Diego and the inland counties.

Except for downpours during the first full week of January, Southern California hasn't seen much rain from storms moving through the state. Sunny skies and warmer temperatures are forecast for the region Sunday and into next week.

While there is snow in the Sierra Nevada, many of the state's major reservoirs are below historical averages.

Skiers, however, can rejoice.

"We struck white gold," said Northstar California spokeswoman Marcie Bradly.

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Associated Press writer John Antczak in Los Angeles contributed to this report.

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