After Dry February, Weekend Storm to Bring Rain to SoCal, Several Feet of Snow to Sierra

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A Sierra Nevada storm dropped nearly a foot of snow at Mammoth Mountain in fall 2015. (Credit: Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)

Just as El Niño was beginning to appear to be a bust, rain is finally expected to return to Southern California this weekend, and the Sierra Nevada are likely to see a needed dumping of snow.

A cold front is expected to bring rain from Saturday night through Sunday night, with moderate-to-heavy rain at times, the National Weather Service’s Oxnard office said. One to 2 inches of rain could fall by Monday.

The storms will bring snow to local mountains, with snow levels dropping to about 5,000 feet by Sunday night into Monday.

High winds are possible, especially in the mountains and deserts, and high surf and possible damaging flooding are also predicted along the coast.

In the Sierra, 2 to 4 feet of snow are likely by early next week at elevations above 8,000 feet, and snow levels are expected to fall to 5,000 feet by Sunday evening.

On Tuesday, state water officials said water-supplying snowpack was at 83 percent of average for March 1.

“Mother Nature is not living up to predictions by some that a ‘Godzilla’ El Niño would produce much more precipitation than usual this winter,” said Department of Water Resources Director Mark Cowin in a news release. “We need conservation as much as ever.”

The readings suggested the predicted El Niño storms won’t bring an end to California’s long-running drought unless there’s a “March Miracle” as in 1991 and 1995, a department news release stated.

The weekend’s expected precipitation comes after Los Angeles’ second-hottest February on record, with an average high of 77.5 degrees. In many other locations, it was the warmest February since recordkeeping began in 1877.

While high-temperature records were broken across Southern California, very little rain fell last month. Downtown L.A. saw less than an inch of rain, just 21 percent of what’s normal for February.

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