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Chance of Light Rain Echoes Season's Trend

February 06, 1996|MICHAEL GRANBERRY | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Last year at this time, Orange County was trying hard to recover from a siege of record rain that left the sodden cities of Buena Park, Garden Grove and Laguna Beach scrambling for more than $25 million in federal disaster relief.

This year is a different story.

Forecasters say the county can expect a 30% chance of light showers--with the emphasis on light and chance--early today, meaning primarily the predawn hours. Mostly, however, those in the know continue to marvel at how dry the county is and will apparently continue to be.

"Well, I'd rather have this than what they're having back east," said Mel Newman with the county's Environmental Management Agency. "I'd also rather have this than what we had last year."

Rainfall seasons are measured from July 1 to June 30, the same period as the fiscal year. Last season at this time, Orange County already had been soaked with 14.99 inches of rain, Newman said. As of Monday, the rainfall total for the season was 4.08 inches.

The seasonal average at this time, Newman noted, is 7.3 inches.

But he, like other weather aficionados, isn't worried about a drought. Northern California has had more than its share of rain, and of course, Southern California and Orange County import most of their water from that wetter region of the state.

As for most of today and Wednesday, "it should be dry," said Robb Kaczmarek, a forecaster with WeatherData Inc., a Wichita, Kan.-based company that compiles weather information for The Times. "As high pressure builds in [today], you should have a very nice day, with only coastal fog in the morning."

Kaczmarek said he also sees sunny skies for Orange County during "Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and into the weekend. Oh, you may have some light sprinkles on Saturday, but that should be it. Most of the [storm] activity should be up north, near San Francisco. And as for temperatures, well, they should be in the 70s in Orange County. In short, it's fantastic."

That's where readings were most of Monday, with Santa Ana recording a high of 71 degrees; Fullerton, 72; Newport Beach, 68; and Tustin, the county's high of 73.

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