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Storm series shows how Northern California weather should look

This NOAA satellite image shows the storm system currently bringing precipitation to California and the Pacific Northwest. Rain and snow produced by a continuing series of storms is expected to continue through Wednesday.
This NOAA satellite image shows the storm system currently bringing precipitation to California and the Pacific Northwest. Rain and snow produced by a continuing series of storms is expected to continue through Wednesday. Associated Press

Rainy day after rainy day may seem unusual to Californians used to the recent dry winters amid a historic drought, but forecasters said Sunday that the current wet stretch is what normal looks like.

The National Weather Service said a series of systems bringing rain to Northern California beginning Friday will stretch on through Wednesday and could drop more than 2 inches of rain on the region by week’s end.

It’s enough to make a “minor dent” in a drought that has been described as the most prolonged and punishing in a generation, forecaster Tom Dang said.

“It’s not nothing,” Dang said. “But we’re in such a hole right now that we’re going to need to see many more of these kinds of storms.”

These kinds of storms, small systems stacked on top of each other, are supposed to water the region several times during a winter season. But that hasn’t happened over the past several years. The last time Northern California saw this many days of sustained precipitation, Dang said, was about eight months ago.

“The only reason this feels odd is because we’re in this California drought,” he said. “This is supposed to happen over and over, every single winter.”

Temperatures surrounding the storms will warm as the week progresses, according to the Weather Service, bringing highs back into the 60s by Monday. A small break in the storms was expected late Sunday into early Monday morning, possibly allowing for a dry commute at the start of the work week.

What will continue as rain in the valleys will be snow in the mountains. All told, forecasters predict, there will be a dump of up to 2 feet of snow in the high Sierras by midweek.

Several ski resorts were open Sunday, including Heavenly Mountain Resort on the southern edge of Lake Tahoe.

Heavenly reported 2 inches of snow over the last 48 hours, increasing snow depth to 18 inches.

Northstar California in Placer County and Squaw Valley Ski Resort in Olympic Valley both reported receiving about 8 inches of snow in the last 48 hours. Boreal Mountain Resort in Soda Springs reported receiving the most snow — 11 inches since Friday, bringing its overall depth to 25 inches.

Call The Bee’s Marissa Lang at (916) 321-1038. Follow her on Twitter at @Marissa_Jae.

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