A storm expected to start Sunday is forecast to bring snow to the Sierra Nevada, as low as 4,000 feet, and rain to the Sacramento Valley.
Meteorologist Brooke Bingaman with the National Weather Service in Sacramento says it will be the third time this month a storm has brought snow to the mountains.
"The average Sierra snowpack is equivalent to a little more than three full Lake Shasta’s," says Bingaman. "And Lake Shasta is the largest reservoir in California. So we need the reservoirs to fill up but we also need that snowpack to occur to really help pull us out of the drought."
Federal forecasters release their updated El Niño predictions Thursday.
Last month's NOAA update said there is a 95 percent chance El Niño will continue through the winter, which would mean above-average precipitation for most of California and below-average for the Pacific Northwest.