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article imageDays of rain could relieve severe Northern California drought

By Nathan Salant     Nov 28, 2014 in Science
San Francisco - Rain is expected to start falling this afternoon in Northern California and could continue for several days in the largest storm to reach the region in years.
As many as six inches of rain is expected over the next three days in some Bay Area locations and in the Santa Cruz Mountains, a welcome change for an area that has seen less than three inches all year.
The lack of rain has forced the state of California and many communities to impose mandatory usage limits on most customers.
"This will probably be the first time in a couple of years we’ve seen this much rain in this amount of time,” forecaster Steve Anderson of the National Weather Service in Monterey told the San Francisco Chronicle newspaper.
More than a foot of snow is expected to fall by Tuesday in the Sierra Nevada mountains, three hours east of the Bay Area.
Anderson said snow was expected at elevations above 5,000 feet.
Winter snowfall in the mountains accumulates into the annual snowpack that begins melting in the spring. filling reservoirs that provide water and electricity to millions of Californians.
Down at sea level, where most people live, so much rain is expected that rainfall totals for the season should be back to average by the middle of next week, he said.
Bay Area rain totals for the year beginning July 1 were substantially lower than average, even after three years of drought, the newspaper said.
Downtown San Francisco had recorded 2.5 inches so far in 2014-15, far less than average for this time of year, which is 3.9 inches, the weather service said.
More about Bay area, Rain, San Francisco, National weather service, inches
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