Rainfall levels remain far below what is considered normal for the area, but if the storms bring the 2 inches of rain predicted, it will be about 15 percent of what the parched region has received in the past nine months, said Dwayne Dykema, another Weather Service meteorologist.

"It's not an insignificant amount," Dykema said. "Especially with the dry year that we've had."

The first storm arrived early Friday with a spate of light showers that barely touched the area before dissipating. Intermittent rain is forecast through today, ending early Sunday. The storm will drop about an inch of rain, forecasters said.

After a brief respite, the Weather Service said a larger storm will likely arrive midday Monday and continue through the evening commute, bringing heavier showers and stronger winds, as high as 20-30 mph.

Thundershowers and hail are possible Tuesday, the weather service predicted. Another inch of rain or so is expected to fall, with slightly more expected in the mountains.

Weather Service officials said they may issue a high-surf advisory for the entire California Coast on Tuesday, if conditions bring swells of 15 feet or higher.

A window of clearing is expected Wednesday, said forecasters, but a third storm front is expected to arrive at the tail end of the week, possibly as soon as Thursday afternoon, that could bring rain into next weekend.

Despite the week of wet weather, forecasters said the rainfall won't affect the serious dry conditions that have left California in one of the worst droughts in recent history.

According to the Weather Service, normal rainfall for Santa Rosa is about 32 inches during the span of the rain season, which begins July 1 and runs through June 30 each year. By Friday evening, the city had received just 12.5 inches.

(You can reach Staff Writer Elizabeth M. Cosin at 521-5276 or elizabeth.cosin@pressdemocrat.com.)