By Shirin Rajaee

NEVADA CITY (CBS13) — A powerful storm is making its way across California. Thousands of people were under mandatory evacuations in Montecito and Santa Barbara County, dealing with another threat of mudslides.

And in Northern California, local counties are keeping a close eye on creek and river levels as more rain and snow moves in.

Areas such as Grass Valley and Nevada City are projected to get the brunt of the rain, upwards of 7.5 inches of rainfall by the time the storm is over.

The storm’s punch started soft Tuesday, on the first day of spring. But by Thursday the front is expected to dump more rain than any other storm this year.

“We know what was happening last year, so we’re just preparing ourselves, a lot of people are getting sandbags,” said Abby Theis.

Abby and her friend Robin Olsen live in Nevada city and remember the destructive winter storm just one year ago.

“We’re just worried about any of the infrastructure to go down and deer creek, which is the one that gets flooded is in my backyard,” said Abby.

Deer creek sits right below the popular restaurant Lefty’s Grill. The creek turned into a raging river last winter, causing major damage, forcing the restaurant to shut down for months. Now locals hope that doesn’t happen again.

“I feel for Lefty’s and hope that there’s no more damage done, “ said Robin.

Across the street from Lefty’s is a sinkhole from last winter that’s still there, just fenced up.

“You’re gonna see a lot of rain in a short amount of time, and you’re gonna see local creeks and waterways come up really quickly,” said Dave Rizarrdo.

Rizarrdo is with the Department of Water Resources. He says it’s been a very dry water year, but last winter’s storms are helping sustain our reservoirs.

“Even though it’s been a relatively dry year up till March, thankfully last year was wet enough that our reservoir storage is pretty good,” said Rizarrdo.

The storm is expected to make a dent in California’s rain shortfall, but whether or not this is a so-called “Miracle March?”

“Yes, we’re gonna get 5 to 7 more inches, and that’s an above average March, but no it’s not a miracle,” he said.

The Storm is expected to boost regions rainfall to 70-80% of average.

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