The rain that has pelted California for days was held at bay Saturday for revelers at a St. Patrick’s Day parade, a little luck of the Irish as Northern California braced for another round of windy, showery weather later in the day.
Spectators in San Francisco braved grey skies for the festive noontime parade that started downtown, some wearing ponchos and hats to ward against colder temperatures and possible rain. But the weather cooperated, allowing dancers and baton twirlers decked in green to march rain-free.
Further north, an assistant manager at Friedman’s Home Improvement in Santa Rosa reported little shopping activity during the morning lull.
“It hasn’t been raining too much, but we do expect more rain coming this afternoon,” Jennifer Glaze said. “We have sand available, along with bags for people who are having flooding issues.”
The dry lull follows a soaking late in the week that gave a brief blast to Southern California while closing schools and tying up traffic in Northern California on Friday. In counties north of San Francisco, rivers swelled and the flood risk was high.
In the inland mountains, another 2 to 4 feet of snow is forecast in the higher crests of the Sierra Nevada starting Saturday night through Monday. That snowpack normally stores about 30 percent of the water supply to drought-stricken California.
“We’re looking forward to it,” said Leslie Byrd, front desk supervisor of Aston Lakeland Village Resort in South Lake Tahoe. “Right now it’s clear and it’s very windy. We’re almost full tonight because lots of people have come up to ski.”
Stormy rains that started Thursday prompted road closures, including a portion of California Highway 1 in Mendocino County where slides nearly toppled a California Department of Transportation dump truck with an employee inside.
The truck hit a guardrail — stopping its fall — and landed at a 45-degree angle. No one was injured.
Powerful rains also slammed the central part of the state, flooding streets in Fresno and briefly shutting down the airport there.
In Southern California, torrential rains snapped power poles and littered roads with electrical lines, leaving about 3,000 customers in Riverside without electricity, city and fire officials said.
In the Hollywood Hills, firefighters rescued two hikers who climbed a tree and were afraid to risk a rain-soaked trail on Mulholland Drive, Stewart said.
Locals suffering through years of drought and a dry winter were happy to see the wet weather.
“I love the smell, the fresh clean air because it takes the dirt out of the air. I like seeing it. It’s been awhile,” Peer Swan, a board member of the Irvine Ranch Water District, told KABC-TV.
Another round of showers is forecast for Northern California on Sunday. Then it’s back to sunny skies and temperatures in the 70s and 80s up and down the state, said National Weather Service meteorologist Charles Bell on Saturday.