Storm bringing rain to Valley and snow to Sierra, ‘but it’s just not enough’

• An Arctic storm is expected Tuesday to bring rain to the central San Joaquin Valley and snow to the Sierra Nevada.

• The storm is unlikely to do much to alleviate the state’s parched condition.

• Gusting winds on the west side and thunderstorms on the east side of the Valley are possible.


Last week, Gov. Jerry Brown stood in dry brown grass at a site normally covered in snow this time of year and declared the drought conditions gripping the state at its worst point in decades.

Had it been a week later, things might have looked different.

In the wake of an incredibly warm March, an unusually cold spring storm is rolling in from the Gulf of Alaska, and that barren field where no snow was measured last week at Echo Summit, east of Sacramento, could be covered this week.

Of course, the strong and wet storm that will linger in Northern California through mid-week will do little to help the fix the drought.

“It’s a start but it’s just not enough,” National Weather Service Forecaster Diana Henderson said. “We have a rather large deficient to make up for. One or 2 inches around the Bay Area is just not going to do it.”

In the central San Joaquin Valley, the storm is expected to arrive early Tuesday morning. Just under half an inch of rain is expected in Fresno, with most rainfall touching down between 5 and 11 a.m., National Weather Service meteorologist Jeffrey Barlow said. About eight to 10 inches of snow is likely above 7,000 feet in Yosemite between 5 a.m. Tuesday and 5 a.m. Wednesday, he said.

On the west side of the Valley, a wind advisory will be in effect from 5 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday. Wind gusts could reach 35 mph, which could reduce visibility near Interstate 5, the weather service said.

By Tuesday afternoon and evening, Fresno and Madera counties could see thunderstorms, lightning, hail and gusty winds, Barlow said.

Mountain travel could be hazardous with slick road and motorist should carry chains and watch speeds.

The weather forced the postponement of Fresno State’s baseball game against Cal, scheduled for Tuesday night at Bieden Field.

The storm was expected to reach Southern California overnight Monday, spreading moderate rain down the Central Coast to the Los Angeles basin by Tuesday afternoon. Snow levels will lower to 4,500 feet late that night, forecasters said. Skies will clear out Wednesday

The April 1 snow survey in the Sierra Nevada that Brown attended measured at a dismal 5% of historical average.

That same day Brown announced an order requiring the State Water Resources Control Board to implement measures in cities and towns to cut the state’s overall water usage by 25% compared with 2013 levels.

Tuesday’s storm is expected to give way Wednesday to sunny skies in the central San Joaquin Valley, with daytime temperatures the rest of the week likely to range from the upper-60s to the mid-70s.

In accordance with Gov. Brown’s executive order, citizens should not water lawns or gardens until 48 hours after the rain stops.