SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- A third winter-like storm in a week will bring rain and possible thunderstorms to much of Northern California and snow to the Sierra Nevada, forecasters said.
National Weather Service meteorologist Nathan Owen said that after a lull Saturday, a system will move into parched California overnight packing precipitation and strong winds.
Owen says the latest storm will dump slightly less rain in the state than the previous systems — with the San Francisco Bay Area and the San Joaquin Valley expected to get up to about half an inch.
"We'll see a very similar storm to what we had the last round with less rain, but we're expecting a good bit of wind for this system," Owen said.
Central California could see winds gusting up to 55 mph and higher peaks in the Sierra Nevada could see up to two feet of snow, the weather service said.
In Southern California, chains were required Saturday on several roads leading to the Bear Mountain and Snow Summit resorts after several inches of snow fell on the San Bernardino Mountains.
A storm Friday dropped six inches at higher elevations and brought rain, hail and thunderstorms elsewhere.
The National Weather Service said daytime temperatures in the mountains will stay in the 30s through the weekend and that more snow is expected before Monday.
The Southern California coast remains under a high surf advisory through Sunday, with unpredictable waves topping 10 feet.
Forecasters have said a strong El Nino weather system could drench California and other parts of the West in the coming months. However, Johnny Burg, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Seattle, said he didn't believe the latest Northwest storms were related to El Nino, a warming in the Pacific Ocean that can alter weather worldwide.