First big storm drops 2 inches of rain

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A double rainbow was seen in the western sky after the mid-week rainfall. Photo by Vic Serkin

After months of little to no rain, the Hill received several inches of rain last week. Both Keenwild Ranger Station and Pine Cove recorded about 2 inches of rain. For this storm, the National Weather Service reported that Pine Cove (2.2 inches) and Keenwild (2.1 inches) received the second- and third-greatest rainfall throughout Southern California.

At the peak of Mt. San Jacinto, nearly 2 inches of rain fell.

Of course, that much rain is insufficient to offset the effects of five years of drought as demonstrated by the fire agencies’ concern about the heat and Santa Ana winds this past weekend.

“The rain helped alleviate the immediate fire danger,” Idyllwild Fire Chief Patrick Reitz said. While the rain was not sufficient to reverse the long-term drought effects, Reitz was pleased with the rain that did fall. “It was 2 inches of rain soaking into the ground. I feel grateful for the immediate help.”

Historically, for the first three months of the rain year (from July 1 through Sept. 30), the Hill received 2.4 inches. So through the end of September, this storm has brought the total close to or slightly above the average at Keenwild. In Pine Cove, which has received about 2.8 inches of rainfall since July 1, the total is about 15 percent more than the first quarter average.

In the last month, the National Weather Service forecast of a normal fall and winter has increased. The NWS is now reporting a 55- to 60-percent chance of a “neutral” weather pattern this winter.

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