SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX) -- A potent storm front rolled through the San Francisco Bay Area early Monday, dumping at least two inches in the Santa Cruz Mountains and bringing much needed rainfall throughout the drought-parched region.
A flash flood watch for the Colorado and Dolan Fire burn scars along the Big Sur coast were in place overnight.
"Since the Colorado scar has not been 'tested' in a rain event yet, folks in the area should prepare for slides possibly impacting Highway 1," the National Weather Service said. "Make sure you have the necessary supplies should the road become blocked and/or a power outage occur."
Reduced rain later in the evening on Monday led the flash flood watch to expire at 6:30 p.m.
On Monday morning, BART officials warned commuters that they may experience train delays due to wet weather. Riders can visit BART.gov for real-time service updates.
Cal State East Bay Geography Professor Elena Givental on Monday told KPIX even though this was the biggest storm since the beginning of the year, it wasn't big enough to end California's long-term drought woes. The state is entering its third straight year of extreme drought conditions
"Now we're probably good to go for the spring months, because it may be sufficient to moisten the soils," said Prof. Givental. "Let's hope it's not the last one."
The problem is that experts say this storm might be the last downpour the region sees for a while as the traditional rainy season comes to a close.
"We need to learn how to conserve water. We need to learn how to be more responsible," she said.
Experts say unless things get unusually wet during April and May, the current trends would indicate another busy wildfire season this summer.
In San Francisco, Market Street was virtually empty as the rain began falling Sunday evening.
"It came down in buckets, I wasn't ready for it," said Don Green. "It is what it is. San Francisco -- the weather changes from day to day so you just got to be prepared."
After a sunny and dry Saturday, San Francisco was expecting close to half an inch of rain overall from this system. Welcome relief from the sporadic rainfall since the start of year.
"We need more of it, it's nice to have it," said James Espey of Berkeley.
Sunday's weather wasn't significant enough to derail Espey's plans.
"I'm headed out to a party tonight so nothing's changed for me," he said.
Ominous gray skies for much of the day turned into a long awaited downpour in the North Bay Sunday evening, as withering plants and trees got relief.
"This storm is not an atmospheric river, however, it will, for the most part, bring beneficial rain to our area, especially considering that we were so dry in January and February," said National Weather Service Bay Area meteorologist Brooke Bingaman.
Bay Area reservoirs will benefit too. Reservoirs that were in dire straits at this time last year in Marin County are nearly full again after historic rainfall toward the end of 2021.
"We're not going to be complacent and say, since they're 92% full, everything's great and let's just go back to the way things were," said Marin Municipal Water District board president Cynthia Koehler.
The latest California Drought Monitor Map shows that, last fall, nearly 88 percent of counties were in "extreme" or "exceptional" drought. Now it's at 37 percent but more than 37 million of the state's population are living in drought areas.
"We can't say that there's an emergency any longer," Koehler said. "At the same time, we really can't be complacent about supply and declare that the drought has passed."
The emphasis is on conservation and many are getting the message.
Gallons used per person for this district's nearly 200,000 users has dropped significantly over the past 15 years, according to water officials.
This latest storm could be the final soaking for a while, as the wet season comes to an official end in days.
"Unfortunately January, February were very dry and March hasn't been that impressive either," Bingaman said.
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