Powerful El Niño storms bringing rain, snow and gusty winds to California this weekend

Nothern Califronia was bracing for heavy winds, rain and snow this weekend, while Southern California is expected to get a lighter version of the El Niño storm.

The storm is expected to blanket the Sierra Nevada and Lake Tahoe area with more than 3 feet of snow through the weekend, meteorologist Tony Fuentes of the National Weather Service in Reno said.


Southern California will be hit by two bands of rain. The first, Saturday night and Sunday morning, will be the weaker of the two. The second will hit Sunday evening and continue into Monday, bringing snow levels down to 4,000 feet and a risk of mudslides.

Strong winds will be on tap Monday and Tuesday, along with high surf.

The rain and snow is good news for California's snowpack, which recently experienced a slight drop after a dry spell hit the state in the past few weeks, Fuentes said.

"Any snow is good," Fuentes said. "Anything that we get now is beneficial."

The state's snowpack levels started off strong and above average in January. But snow levels are now hovering between average and slightly below average, he said.

Moisture levels were "rather disappointing" in California during February, according to meteorologist Dave Miskus of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Climate Prediction Center.

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