More at CADrought.com

The Bay Area finally got some rain on Sunday, but not nearly enough to spark hopes of a string of powerful storms swooping down from Alaska -- just like old times -- or the end of the drought.

"Winter finally arrived," said Steve Anderson, a forecaster with the National Weather Service in Monterey. "But I would call this weekend's storm 'weak.' "

Although dark clouds floated above the region for most of a cold, wintry day, they dropped little water on parched parks, brown hillsides and thirsty gardens. By 5 p.m., most of the Peninsula got less than a half-inch of rain, the East Bay about a quarter-inch. San Jose registered a paltry 0.08 inch.

"It didn't quite get over the mountains for you," Anderson said.

The wettest spot was San Francisco International Airport, which got 0.85 inch of rain, even more than coastal areas.

The showers made barely a dent in the drought. San Jose now has gotten 1.76 inches of rain since July 1. The normal rainfall is 8.21 inches.

Oakland has received 2.45 inches of rain. Normally it receives 11.78 inches.

Sunday's rain followed Wednesday's light rainfall -- the first time the Bay Area had measurable rain in 53 days.

Still, as the weather service's website put it: "We're at the point of taking any precipitation we can get."

More than a few people who were out and about agreed, but nobody was fooled.

"For anyone who planted cool-season crops, this is a blessing," said Laramie Trevino, a master gardener trained by UC Santa Cruz who was in San Jose and Palo Alto on Sunday. "But we need consistent rain."

Soon after the light rain stopped in the early afternoon, Lino Costillos walked his two small dogs, Samurai and Ninja, around the city's municipal rose garden.

"I don't see the end of the drought happening," Costillos said, who added that he and his wife have already started cutting back on water use at their Rose Garden neighborhood home. "We actually haven't watered our plants in two weeks, but they'll survive."

Weather forecaster Anderson said the next few days will be cooler, with daytime temperatures in the 50s throughout the region and overnight lows ranging from 35 to 45 degrees. He said another weak storm could pass through Wednesday or Thursday and drop an equally small amount of rain. But it could easily fizzle out, too. But next weekend, he said, could bring a wetter storm.

Basically, the powerful weather formation behind the drought hasn't budged. The "Ridiculously Resilient Ridge" still rules.

That's what some meteorologists call the mass of high-pressure air that has been blocking Pacific winter storms from hitting the West Coast from Washington to Baja California.

Anderson said Sunday's storm did not take on the ridge mano a mano.

Most Pacific storms, he said, come down from Alaska over the ocean and then slam into California with full force directly from the west. The high-pressure ridge parked itself in December 2012 and continues to deflecting those storms north and toward the Midwest.

Sunday's storm "just came sliding down the coast," not carrying enough moisture or momentum to pack the punch of a respectable Pacific storm. The Sierra Nevada was barely dusted on Sunday.

In what appears to be a growing trend, another group prayed for rain Sunday. The San Juan Intertribal Council performed Native American rain dances in San Juan Bautista for the third Sunday in a row, as light fell.

The group has vowed to dance every Sunday until the rain relieves the drought. Less than a tenth of an inch of rain was recorded in the area Sunday.

Still, just as any amount of rain can be counted as a blessing these days, any amount of rain can spoil weekend plans.

The weather cut into sales at area farmers' markets, as customers were reluctant to brave the rain and 50-degree air. Vendors were left with piles of unsold produce -- and mixed feelings.

"It was kind of bad timing," said Bob Comstock, who was selling organic tofu at the Mountain View Farmers' Market.

Nearby, Marsha Habib of Hollister's Oya Organics scooped up bundles of rainbow chard and other greens left at closing time.

"We need the rain in order to have enough water to grow our crop," she said, but she hadn't anticipated the effect of the overnight storm that lingered through the morning.

"We shouldn't have harvested as much," said Habib, whose farm is named after a Yoruba weather spirit whose dancing brings on storms.

"We've been trying to get her to dance all season," Habib said.

Even though it was light in moisture, the storm was substantial enough to keep skies cloudy all day. So Punxsutawney Phil, if he had migrated west, would not have seen his shadow.

Does that predict an imminent end to our so-called winter?

Anderson wasn't buying it.

"We don't have conference calls with the ground hog," he said.

Mercury News staff writer Rick Hurd contributed to this report.

Rainfall totals

Inches of rain that fell from
5 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday:

San Jose: 0.08
Gilroy: 0.05
Redwood City: 0.47
Santa Cruz: 0.43
Oakland: 0.22
Concord: 0.23
Hayward: 0.48
Santa Rosa: 0.62