Another series of storms is expected to reach the Mother Lode tonight and Saturday, the National Weather Service said.

Meteorologist Brooke Bingaman, based in Sacramento, said the bulk of the precipitation is expected late tonight and Saturday, although it is expected to be showery all weekend with a slight chance of thunderstorms Sunday afternoon.

"Our confidence isn't very high right now that there will be thunderstorms Sunday," she said, "but it is something people should keep in mind if they are planning to go out."

She said the unsettled, showery weather will continue off and on through next week, but it doesn't look as if there will be major, significant storms.

The snow levels are forecast to remain at 4,000 feet and above this

weekend, with 4 to 7 inches of snow expected at most elevations and

around 10 inches on the highest mountain peaks.

"People talk about a March Miracle saving us completely from the

drought," she said of recent storms. "Not true. Every drop in the

bucket counts, but even if March is significantly wet, it's not enough

to completely get us out of drought conditions."

Angels Camp weather watcher Jay Quick agrees with that estimate. He

has measured 17.48 inches of rain at his home so far this weather year,

which runs from July 1, 2011, to June 30, 2012. That's compared to

40.25 inches last year.

Sonora received 14.56 inches so far this year, compared to 42.03 inches last year.

"I don't think we will catch up," Quick said, "and maybe we don't want to now."

He said that much rain this late in the season could cause serious flooding and other problems.

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