Northern California gets rain, mountain snow on the way

A late-season storm moving through California pounded the San Francisco Bay region with rain early Friday and was expected to bring snow to the southern Cascade range and the northern Sierra Nevada, a welcome addition to water supplies after years of drought.

By early morning, San Francisco had almost a quarter-inch of rain while some locations in the North Bay had logged about a third of an inch of rain and Oakland saw about a tenth of an inch of precipitation. Conditions were showery and unsettled along north coast counties.

The system could impact travel through the Donner and Carson passes and near Lassen Volcanic National Park, the National Weather Service said.

Forecasters said up to 4 inches of snow could accumulate along Interstate 80 and Highway 50, while higher peaks could get 7 inches to 11 inches and Lassen could expect up to 16 inches. Snow was predicted to taper off by late evening.

Elsewhere, gusty winds were forecast for the Sacramento and San Joaquin valleys and across Southern California's mountains and deserts, including Indio, where thousands of people were expected to attend the second weekend of the annual Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival.

The onshore flow brought a cooldown to the southwestern portion of the state after days of unseasonable high temperatures, some ranging into the 90s.

Any chance of showers in the south Friday was expected to be limited to San Luis Obispo County, but forecasters said there would be more of a chance at midweek.

While the north has benefited from spring storms, the south largely missed the significant rainfall that it was hoped the El Nino ocean-warming phenomenon would deliver. This season, downtown Los Angeles has recorded only 6.83 inches of rain since Oct. 1, less than half the normal 14.09 inches to date. San Francisco, meanwhile, is above normal with 22.26 inches since Oct. 1. Normal is 22.19 to date.