The rain and hail that swept through portions of greater Sacramento on Sunday were the lead-in to a stretch of wet weather that will break the winter's dry spell.
Forecasters said the region can expect rain from late Tuesday to late Thursday, with the bulk of the precipitation coming Wednesday.
"It's going on two months (since) we've had a decent (weather) system come through," said Drew Peterson of the National Weather Service in Sacramento. "Everybody's looking forward to the system moving in so we can break out of the meteorological drought."
He said the Sierra Nevada "could see a foot of snow, possibly more, at higher elevations."
After heavy precipitation in November and December, January and February were unusually dry. Sacramento saw just 1.32 inches the first two months of the year, the third-driest January and February since record keeping began in 1850.
In the northern Sierra, only 2.2 inches of precipitation fell in the first two months of the year. The region is critical because it's home to key Northern California reservoirs.
Although Sacramento saw just brief sprinkles Sunday, some outlying areas saw hail and heavier rains. Pea-sized hail fell in the Camino-Pollock Pines area during early afternoon, the weather service said. Heavy rain and wind were reported in areas around Galt, Lodi and Stockton.
The weather service issued a "significant weather advisory" for Sunday afternoon in northern San Joaquin County.
Motorists can expect patchy fog early today, with a high near 68 degrees.
Tuesday will be mostly cloudy, with rain expected sometime after 4 p.m. The chance of precipitation was pegged at 60 percent.
Wednesday will be rainy, with a chance of thunderstorms. The high will be 59 degrees.
The wet weather is expected to continue through Thursday, with a chance of hail, but Friday and Saturday are expected to be sunny.