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El Niño Brings Rain, Snow To Northern Calif.

Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

Traffic on Highway 50 continues in the afternoon rain on Sunday, Feb. 8, 2015

Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

El Niño is finally making an appearance in Northern California this week. A series of storms lined up over the Pacific Ocean is expected to bring several inches of rain and two feet of snow to the northern part of the state over the next two weeks.

Doctor Kelly Redmond is deputy director of the Western Regional Climate Center in Reno, Nevada. He says the storms that hit Northern California in December were probably not caused by El Niño because they were cool and came from the north.

"And El Niño tends to bring storms that come out of either the west or southwest," he says. "And we haven't had a lot of that. But it does look like the pattern is changing this week."

Redmond says these storms will likely be warmer and bring more rain than previous storms this winter. He says this year's El Niño appears particularly strong but it does not look like a drought-buster. 

The first wave of the series of storms is bringing heavy showers in Northern California Tuesday morning. As of 8:24 a.m., 1.10 inches of rain have fallen in downtown Sacramento.

"It's fairly significant [rain]," Jason Klapp, with the National Weather Service in Sacramento, "Earlier in December, some of the storms, each day was a quarter inch, third of an inch, so they weren't spectacular in the Valley. In the month of January, the last few of them have been very dry, we've had more [rain] just today than we've had over the last couple Januaries together."

A flood advisory has been issued until noon for Southwestern Placer, Solano, San Joaquin, Sacramento, Southeastern Yolo and Stanislaus counties. A winter storm watch for the mountains will be in effect until 4 p.m.

A stronger system will move in Tuesday night and is expected to bring more moderate rain to the Valley. There's a brief break Wednesday morning and colder weather will move in Wednesday night into Thursday. 

Friday will be the driest day of the week. Another storm is expected to arrive early next week. 

"They don't look like huge systems, but enough to keep it wet," says Klapp. "But this is good, slow and steady wins the race, just keep the rain coming."

-Capital Public Radio Staff, The Associated Press Contributed To This Report
*The original version of this story used figures from an Associated Press article. We've since learned that those figures may be incorrect. This articles has been corrected to reflect a more accurate statement. We regret the error.

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