By ERIN MAYES
and LENORE RUTHERFORD
The Twain Harte Summer Arts and Wine Festival, an event 25 years strong, had a less-than-welcome newcomer Saturday rain.
In fact, weather records dating back to 1867 show this is the first Aug. 2 since then that has seen rain.
In Sonora, the last few days brought record rainfall for the date, for the month, and for this early in the season.
The weather year runs from July 1 through June 30.
Sonora had 1.73 inches of rain since Friday. The average rainfall for the three-month period of July, August and September only adds up to .48 inch, and the average through the month of October is just 2.11 inches.
Twain Harte got 1.85 inches of rain in the Saturday storm. With the rain that fell early Friday morning, that brought the total rainfall for August to 2.17 inches in Twain Harte.
Other rainfall totals since Friday include 2.02 inches in Tuolumne, 1.29 inches in Grove-land and 1.06 inches in Jamestown. Several communities also saw and heard spectacular lightning and thunder.
Mike Ashland, owner of Elegant Cottage, said thunder awoke him and many other Twain Harte area residents about 4 a.m. Saturday. The thunderstorm held strong for about an hour and then returned later in the morning, scaring away many who wanted to get to the wine-and-arts festival early.
In years past, his store was packed by 9 a.m. during the weekend of the festival, Ashland said. But this weekend, business was quiet.
He had pulled up an Internet weather site showing what Ashland said was the only "red dot" in the United States, signifying extreme weather, right over Twain Harte.
The National Weather Service had issued a "small stream flood advisory" for the Gold Rush towns, and Sonora saw a river of mud flowing from piles of graded dirt on Mono Way, where construction for the bypass is taking place. Project officials, though, reported little damage from the rain slight erosion and some puddling.