Showers delay California ballgame but won’t ease drought

LOS ANGELES (AP) — April showers delayed a ballgame and prompted flood advisories as they scooted through California on Saturday, but the overall rain totals won’t do much to ease five years of drought, forecasters said.

Light rain began falling Friday, and scattered showers should continue into Sunday, with a slight chance of thunderstorms, according to the National Weather Service.

In San Francisco, a downpour delayed the Giants-Los Angeles Dodgers baseball game for 41 minutes.

In Central California, about 2 inches of rain fell in some places. The National Weather Service issued flood advisories until 3 p.m. for Merced, Mariposa and southwestern Tuolumne counties. Heavy showers hit Bakersfield later in the day, bringing minor flooding.

In Nevada, firefighters rescued four people from flooding caused by heavy rain.

A 50-year-old man got stuck in a flood control channel in Las Vegas, Clark County Assistant Fire Chief Larry Haydu said.

Then a crew discovered three more people trapped in another channel nearby. All three were rescued and one was hospitalized for a minor leg injury.

It was relatively dry in Northern and Southern California. No more than a quarter-inch of rain was expected to fall throughout the day, with the south only beginning to see heavy showers in the afternoon or evening.

Ernesto Munoz, 56, of Hollywood welcomed the forecast.

“I don’t have any problem with that,” Munoz said Saturday morning as he walked his two Huskies, Whiskey and Brandy, on Sunset Boulevard. “I say, ‘Thank you, God’ because we need rain.”

Zoe McGeary, 35, of Oakland came south to run the Hollywood Half Marathon.

“It was raining when we left Oakland, and it rained the whole drive down,” she said.

“I love it. I’m excited about it,” she said. “Every time it rains I’m like, ‘Please: Rain, and rain more.’ The drought scares me.”

The coast, deserts, valleys, foothills and mountains could see anywhere from a half-inch to 1 1/2 inches of rain as a Pacific weather system moves over southwestern California, according to the weather service.

The chance of thunderstorms in the mountains and deserts prompted the Los Angeles County Office of Emergency Management to issue lightning safety tips. They included a suggestion to unplug electronic equipment before a storm arrives and a warning that rubber-soled shoes and rubber tires don’t provide protection.

Southern California could use any rain it gets. As of Friday, downtown Los Angeles had recorded less than half the normal 13.67 inches of rain that normally falls to date. San Diego has fared better, with a deficit of little more than 2 inches.

While the El Nino warming phenomenon in the Pacific Ocean brought rain and snow to California this winter, most of those storms hit northern areas including the Sierra Nevada while bypassing the southern half of the state.

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