Light rain dampened parts of Orange County on Monday and a few more drops may fall this morning, but the weak storm system should clear out of the region by afternoon without dropping much moisture, forecasters said.
The gloomy weather moved in Monday morning with percussive pomp, as thunder rolled and lightning flashed from storm clouds along coastal areas including Seal Beach and Laguna Beach.
But there was more sound and fury than actual rain. The small amount of precipitation mainly moistened pavements.
Because Monday was a holiday commemorating the birth of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., the light rain had negligible impact on traffic. Almost all highways and freeways in Orange County had very light traffic on Monday morning, and the rain neither slowed things down nor caused many accidents, police reported.
“It’s been real quiet today because of the holiday, and we haven’t had many accidents,” said a dispatcher for the California Highway Patrol on Monday.
Lt. Barry Richey of the Orange County Sheriff’s Department agreed. “We haven’t had anything out of the ordinary today,” Richey said. “Not a single accident caused by the weather that we know of.”
While not bringing much moisture, the storm on Monday produced an early morning sound display. The storm moved in from the ocean just about dawn on Monday, igniting the sky with lighting and sending thunder reverberating through coastal cities.
“Most of the rain fell offshore,” said Steve Burback, a meteorologist with WeatherData Inc., which provides forecasts for The Times. Burback said San Diego County got more of the moisture than Orange County during the brief rainy periods on Monday.
Lingering elements of the offshore storm may produce a little more rain this morning, Burback said, adding that there should be no precipitation by afternoon.
There was no measurable rainfall in Santa Ana. Since July 1, only 1.81 inches have fallen in the city. By contrast, Santa Ana normally would have received 5.78 inches of rain during that six-month period, Burback said.
“Your area is not getting even a third of its normal precipitation,” he noted.
According to WeatherData, few Orange County cities had measurable rainfall. Among those reporting were Newport Beach with .08 inches and San Juan Capistrano with .07.
The continued drought has prompted county and city governments to plan a series of water-conservation strategies for the remainder of the year.