OAKLAND -- Heavy rain and thunderstorms crossed over the Bay Area on Monday afternoon, causing minor flooding and some lightning-related damage, but the late-season shower would not be enough to alleviate drought conditions, experts said.
The storm threatened to put a damper on baseball's opening day in the Bay Area, with rain, strong winds and the possibility of hail in the forecast for Monday night's game between the Oakland A's and the Cleveland Indians. By Monday evening, however, baseball fans were all smiles as the skies cleared and the sun shined over the Oakland Coliseum.
The weather forced BART to reduce the speeds of its trains Monday afternoon, causing delays of 5-10 minutes throughout the system.
In North Berkeley, a bolt of lightning shredded a 70-foot-tall redwood tree at Holly Street and Buena Avenue around 1:20 p.m., a fire official said. Large chunks of the tree broke windows and skylights at nearby homes, but no injuries were reported, said Berkeley Fire Deputy Chief Avery Webb.
"It looks like the tree exploded," Webb said.
Minor flooding was reported throughout the Bay Area as a heavy band of rain moved over the region early Monday afternoon, and thunder was reported in San Francisco and the East Bay.
Winds were expected to gust as high as 50 mph in some areas. Low temperatures Monday night were expected to be in the high 40s, with westerly winds of up to 30 mph.
As of 5 p.m., twenty-four hour rain totals for much of the Bay Area hovered around a half-inch: downtown San Francisco had .76 inches, Concord reported .50 inches, downtown Oakland measured .26 inches, and Mineta San Jose International Airport had .34 inches. A light dusting of snow was seen Monday afternoon on top of the Mount Hamilton ridge in San Jose.
Even so, meteorologists do not expect enough wet weather this season to bring the state's rainfall total to a normal level and out of its record-setting drought.
"It's not helping (a lot) but it's not hurting," said meteorologist Steve Anderson of the National Weather Service. "There's no way things are going to switch 180 degrees."
Meteorologist Ryan Walbrun of the National Weather Service said residents should expect a repeat Tuesday with showers earlier in the morning and another intense band of thunderstorms.
Walbrun predicted Tuesday's rainfall would measure up to an inch of rain in the lower elevations and as high as two inches in the East Bay hills. The South Bay should expect to see just under a half-inch of rain, he said.
The heaviest rain should taper off by Tuesday evening, with some showers remaining in the South Bay and over Monterey early Wednesday morning. Thursday should be mostly dry, though another system could bring light rain to the Bay Area on Thursday night and Friday morning, according to the weather service.
Staff writer David DeBolt contributed to this report. Contact Natalie Neysa Alund at 510-293-2469. Follow her at Twitter.com/nataliealund.