San Francisco rain breaks dry spell dating to Gold Rush

By: Candice Sorensen Email
By: Candice Sorensen Email

(AP) SAN FRANCISCO—Since the days of the Gold Rush, San Franciscans could count on July 18 for at least one thing: They wouldn't need their umbrellas.
That all changed, albeit briefly, Wednesday when the city saw its first rainfall on that date since climate data started being collected in 1850.

"It's not a real gully washer, so to speak, but it is a record," said Dan Gudgel, a National Weather Service forecaster in Monterey.

Meteorologists measured about two-hundredths of an inch of rain in downtown San Francisco on Wednesday morning. Residents awoke to the telltale rush of cars on wet streets, a sound rarely heard during the sunny, dry summers that are a reliable feature of the San Francisco Bay area's mild Mediterranean climate.

The moisture was also being blamed for a rash of power outages east of San Francisco across the bay.

At least 17,000 customers in Berkeley, Richmond and El Cerrito were without electricity early Wednesday as light rains turned dust on power equipment to mud, causing shorts in the system, said David Eisenhauer, a spokesman for Pacific Gas & Electric.

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