A Wednesday afternoon thunderstorm brought pea-sized hail to sections of Sonoma County as part of seasonal showers for the region that are expected to continue until the weekend.
By afternoon, the low-pressure system produced about a quarter-inch of accumulation. That helped to push precipitation levels to 3.19 inches for the month, slightly ahead of average rainfall of 2.95 inches for mid-March.
The gauge at Charles M. Schulz-Sonoma County Airport, however, tells a different story since Oct. 1. The almost 17 inches in the county are slightly more than half the nearly 30 inches normal each winter.
For comparison, last year during the same period, Sonoma County saw almost 53 inches.
The rain and hail Wednesday delighted some in downtown Petaluma for the 10 or so minutes it lasted. It briefly collected on the sidewalks and in road drainages before melting.
“It looked like icebergs floating down the street,” Kelly Child said by email from the Starbucks on Petaluma Boulevard North.
Others around the county were less enthusiastic.
A lighting strike hit a PG&E circuit around 11 a.m. on Huntley Road north of Fallon Road, causing a power outage through the evening for 25 residents of Petaluma and Fallon. A PG&E spokeswoman said crews were replacing the damaged equipment.
More rain is in the forecast near the coast, and from Santa Rosa north the chance of more showers is up to 80 percent by lunchtime Thursday. Overnight into Friday it drops to 60 percent before tapering to a slight chance Friday night and Saturday.
“Long story short, just keep your umbrellas handy,” said Scott Rowe, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Monterey. “A lot of shower activity has diminished right now, but we could see more showers off and on. Multiple rounds of rain showers may make their way on shore.”
A winter weather advisory through Saturday was issued for the Sierra Nevada mountains beginning early Thursday, on the heels of a winter storm warning that was in effect until late Wednesday night. Heavy snow was expected in elevations above 4,000 feet.
You can reach Staff Writer Kevin Fixler at 707-521-5336 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter @kfixler.