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Week Of Rain Soaks City
Rain was on everybody's mind over the past week as the skies opened and it poured - more or less continuously - from Monday into Saturday when there was a glimpse of the sun and the chance to get outdoors for a brief spell before it turned wet again Sunday. The weather is expected to turn sunny today with storms tapering off this week.

The latest rainfall figures available at deadline, those taken by MID in Modesto near sundown Sunday, showed the seasonal amount to date at 8.34 inches compared with a normal season of 6.22 inches. The normal rainfall for a full season from July 1 to June 30 is 13.12.

Riverbank suffered some storm related incidents earlier in the week such as road flooding at Patterson Road and Roselle Avenue on Wednesday, Jan. 20. On the same day, a tree blew down to block the road at Candlewood and Woodhaven streets and canvas screens on the tennis courts fencing at Atchison and Seventh streets were battered so strongly by wind as to bend the metal poles.

"We did OK. There was a lot of heavy rain and we had some high wind issues but we try to prepare for these and go out ahead of time to clear the drains," said Public Works Director Dave Mellili.

"One thing that hampered us was Christmas trees left in the street that clogged the gutters. We've gathered them now and have a pile here at the yard," he added.

As customary for winter storms, the department had a special team on call to deal with flooding and bring in generators for the storm basin pumps as PG&E experienced power outages here and there.

The city's storm drains can keep up with rain provided it's not too heavy for too long when the older, smaller diameter pipes just cannot draw the water fast enough from the street and the known low spots in town experience some flooding.

"We started seeing the street drains were kept clear in October when we had our first big storm and we've been vigilant ever since," said Mellili. "And we're generally OK until the power goes out."

While the soil was again saturated by rain and the wind was gusty at times, not as many trees fell this time as in the last storm, since most of the weakened trees were already down.

As to rainfall, close to four inches fell on the area during the past week.

Wednesday was the record setter, as Modesto Irrigation District recorded its wettest Jan. 20 in its history, with 1.1 inches of rain falling in 24 hours to break a mark of 0.81 inches set in 1964.