SACRAMENTO (AP) — The great June rain deluge predicted for Northern California failed to materialize Monday, with the San Francisco and Sacramento regions getting well under a quarter-inch with not much more expected, forecasters said.
The heaviest rains came in wine country and points north, with about a quarter-inch falling on Napa County's Mt. St. Helena.
San Francisco had received about .03 inches of rain by sunset Monday, with similar amounts falling on Oakland, San Jose and Sacramento.
That any measurable amount of rain fell at all in California is unusual but not unheard of at this time of year. Normally a Pacific high pressure system settles by summer off the Northern California coast and steers storms north into Oregon and Washington.
"Every now and then it doesn't protect us," said Johnnie Powell, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Sacramento.
Forecasters who had expected an inch of rain said that moisture existed in the system, but it did not fall. They compared it with a sponge full of water than gets only partially wrung out. It means more rain will fall in the Sierra when the storm clouds bump up against the mountains, though it's unlikely much of it will fall as snow.
"It's a warm air mass," said Warren Blier, science officer with the Monterey Bay office of the National Weather Service. "There may be some snow at 10,000 feet, but most of the precipitation will be north of Lake Tahoe and the peaks aren't that high there."
The good news is that rain that fell in a band from San Francisco to Sacramento north to the Oregon border will be enough to douse dry grass and foliage and reduce the risk of fire, at least temporarily.
"Moistening everything up for a bit will mitigate what had been extraordinarily dry conditions," Blier said. "It's not enough to change the whole season, but for a couple of weeks it should be better in those areas that got more than a light trace."
Even a little rain in June was enough to set a record at the Sacramento Executive Airport, which recorded its first precipitation Monday since records first were kept in the 1940s.
San Francisco has seen wet Junes, most recently on June 28, 2011, when 0.80 of an inch fell.