First of 3 storms expected in Northern California delays flights, drenches drought-hit farms



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SAN FRANCISCO — Farmers on Wednesday welcomed the first of three storms expected this week in drought-stricken Northern California.

However, the precipitation delayed some flights.

The first storm brought as much as a half-inch of rain by midday north of San Francisco, and one-tenth of an inch in San Jose, said forecaster Steve Anderson of the National Weather Service.

Farm bureau executive director Tim Tesconi was watching heavy rain fall outside his office window in Santa Rosa, and feeling good about it.

"It's really getting the pastures green, and the vineyards are getting a good dose," Tesconi said. "We need a lot more to get through."

Farther south, the storm from the Gulf of Alaska was delaying flights at San Francisco International Airport an average of 45 minutes, airport duty manager Joe Walsh said.

Two more weather systems are predicted to blow through northern California, with another half-inch of rain expected in some areas Friday through Saturday, Anderson said. High pressure will follow, making for dry conditions next week, he said.

Northern California has received slightly more rain so far this year than during the same period last year.

It was too soon in the state's winter rainy season to know if a high pressure ridge is easing after being parked off California in recent years and turning back rain storms, he said.

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