Small Dose of Rain Expected for Parched Southern California

The rainless winter is bad news for California, which is on track to have the driest year on record

By Willian Avila
|  Friday, Jan 31, 2014  |  Updated 1:29 PM PDT
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Gusty northwest winds and a chance of rain later this weekend. NBC4's Crystal Egger has the forecast for Friday, Jan. 31, 2014.

Gusty northwest winds and a chance of rain later this weekend. NBC4's Crystal Egger has the forecast for Friday, Jan. 31, 2014.

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Another round of light showers are expected for drought-stricken Southern California this weekend after trace amounts of rain descended on the region overnight.

More: Gov. Brown Declares Drought Emergency

Forecasters say there's a 20 percent chance of rain late Sunday night into Monday morning in Los Angeles and Orange counties, and a 30 percent chance of showers in the Inland Empire.

Most of Southern California received about 1/10th of an inch Thursday into Friday morning - the first measurable precipitation in the area in weeks, forecasters say - with snow at elevations above 6,000 feet.

The rainless winter is bad news for California, which is on track to have the driest year on record.

Earlier this month, Gov. Jerry Brown declared a drought emergency, citing a need for water conservation and a fingers-crossed message that he "hopes it will rain."

In Tahoe on Thursday overnight, a fresh blanket of snow covered the area, giving state water officials a reason to be thankful, but not enough reason to fully rejoice. A snowpack survey taken by the Department of Water Resources in the Sierra showed the snow core was barely a foot deep, when the normal reading would be anywhere from 30 to 56 inches deep. State officials said the average snow water equivalent is about two inches, which is 12 percent of the typical amount for this year.

The snow is what the state depends on to melt into streams and reservoirs, to provide a third of the water California's cities and farms use.

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Temperatures will cool off for Southern California over the weekend, with highs in the mid to upper 60s in most areas, forecasters say.

A wind advisory was issued through 6 a.m. Saturday as gusts of up to 50 mph are expected to sweep across the region.

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