Stormy weather means rainy, snowy California Christmas

The first in a predicted series of storms is entering California, bringing the likelihood of a rainy and snowy Christmas, forecasters said.

The storm first moved into Northern California and could bring up to an inch of rain Wednesday, but it was moving slowly and wasn’t expected to reach the south until Thursday, forecasters said.

The San Francisco Bay Area weather office called it "the long-anticipated but slow-to-arrive Pacific cold front" and estimated it could bring a couple of inches of rain in the north through Saturday.

The south could see up to 3 inches of rain in coastal areas and valleys and up to 5 inches in the mountains, forecasters said.

Heavy snow was expected in the Sierra Nevada, with accumulations ranging from 6 feet to 8 feet, with localized amounts up to 10 feet, the Sacramento weather office said.

Mountain travel could be "very difficult to impossible" and people were urged to avoid it from midweek into the weekend, the office said.