Rainstorm moves into drought-stricken California

After baking in high temperatures, L.A. is expected to get a little rain

A new storm moved into Northern California on Sunday, providing the drought-stricken state at least a trickle of rain as well as cooling temperatures over the next few days.

The National Weather Service said that as of Sunday afternoon, the storm had dumped less than a inch of rain in various spots.

The showers began in the north, including San Francisco and Oakland, and should reach the Los Angeles area on Tuesday.

Snow levels in Southern California could drop to 5,000 feet or lower, bringing a last blush of winter to area mountain resorts.

Los Angeles County is expected to get anywhere from a quarter to half an inch of rain before the weather front moves out of the area Wednesday morning.

"This is probably the last good shot at rain we'll have for a while," said Rich Thompson, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service.

Cloudy skies marked Easter Sunday, and temperatures are expected to drop into the 60s by Tuesday.

Most of the rain in the Los Angeles area is expected to fall Tuesday afternoon, with some showers lingering until the storm moves out Wednesday morning, Thompson said.

The wettest months in Southern California are December through March. Since Oct. 1, downtown L.A. has recorded 7.4 inches. About 12.8 inches would be considered normal. The total in March has been a paltry 0.87 of an inch.

Last week, Gov. Jerry Brown ordered cities and towns across California to cut water use by 25% as part of a sweeping set of mandatory drought restrictions, the first in state history.

The directive comes more than a year after Brown asked for a 20% voluntary cut in water use that most parts of the state have failed to attain, even as one of the most severe modern droughts dragged into a fourth year. It also came at a time that water officials measured the lowest April 1 snowpack in more than 60 years of record-keeping in the Sierra Nevada.

Emphasizing that the drought could persist, Brown said Californians must change their water habits. "It's a different world," he said. "We have to act differently."

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2:30 p.m.: Updated with rainfall totals

April 5, 10:36 a.m.: Post updated with storm arriving.

This story was first published April 4 at 12:46 p.m.