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Sonoma County may have rain this weekend, but no lightning

Sonoma County could be in store for a rainy weekend.

The predicted amount of precipitation likely won’t put make much of a difference in the ongoing drought, but it is expected to bring more rain to the region than it has received in months.

As of Tuesday, meteorologists are predicting the North Bay could potentially receive upwards of a tenth of an inch of rain Saturday evening into Sunday, according to the National Weather Service.

If that happens, it could be the wettest period since March 18 when Santa Rosa recorded 1.06 inches of precipitation.

“It’s something we’re keeping a close eye on and the potential is there,” said Roger Gass, a National Weather Service meteorologist. “It’s nothing significant, but definitely more than what we’ve seen so far this summer.”

The North Bay, much like the rest of the state, has had almost no measurable rain. Water levels in many lakes, rivers and reservoirs have been visibly reduced by the lack of rainfall.

All of the North Bay currently falls under the “exceptional drought” category, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor.

This weekend’s forecast could still change by Saturday and Gass cautioned that there was only a 20% chance of rain on the horizon.

But two things appear certain: A cooling trend may keep high temperatures around 70 degrees beginning Thursday and there won’t be any lightning like last week when stormy conditions had North Bay firefighters prepping for possible wildfires.

The National Weather Service issued a red flag warning ahead of last week’s lightning storm, while area fire agencies scrambled to increase staffing ahead of the event.

Weather experts say as many as 125 lightning strikes were recorded in Sonoma, Napa and Marin counties last Thursday.

By the time the storm passed a day later, firefighters had responded to at least two fires in Mendocino County that were believed to have been caused by lightning strikes.

They were the Rock fire, which burned 6 acres, and the Vineyard fire, which scorched a quarter of an acre. Both were in rural, unpopulated areas north of Cloverdale.

You can reach Staff Writer Colin Atagi at colin.atagi@pressdemocrat.com. On Twitter @colin_atagi

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