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Rain Arrives, Providing Some Relief For Drought-Stricken Northern California

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) -- The first of two storm fronts lined up off the Northern California coast arrived in San Francisco Bay Area Friday, bringing the first rain in months to a region in the grip of a severe drought.

According to the National Weather Service, light to moderate rainfall first arrived in the North Bay at around 1 p.m. Friday.

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Light showers were reported in San Francisco and the East Bay, gradually moving to the South Bay later in the afternoon.

Heavier rains were expected to arrive early Friday evening, with the first storm system moving out by the early hours of Saturday morning.

Scattered showers are expected during the day Saturday, but weather should be dry enough to make that day the best bet for outdoor activities in the Bay Area.

The second stronger storm system was expected to arrive early Sunday morning, dumping another round of showers on the Bay Area.

"Storm total precipitation will be greatest over the North Bay mountains where 1.50-2.50 inches are possible with 0.75-1.25 inches likely in the North Bay valleys and coastal ranges to the south," NWS forecasters said. "Meanwhile, other inland hills across the Bay Area can expect between 0.50-1 inch. The immediate San Francisco bayshore, including the city of San Francisco and Oakland, is forecast to receive 0.25-0.75 of an inch."

Even though the totals are modest, any amount of rain will be welcomed relief. Since January 1st, San Francisco International has reported 4.47 inches of rain (over 11 months) which is 12.58 inches below normal."

The dry stretch has led to the return of severe to extreme drought conditions.

The U.S. Drought Monitor map released on Thursday revealed that major portions of Napa, Lake and Solano counties have dropped into the extreme drought state.

The rest of the San Francisco Bay Area has fallen into the severe drought status.

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