Blustery wind is expected to continue off and on in the foothills and high country tonight and Saturday morning.

The wind that started early Thursday evening startled foothill residents.

It was really windy this morning, said Pete Delaney of Arnold. I thought it was raining when I woke up around 6 a.m., but it was all wind hitting my windows, and the trees were really moving.

Jay Quick of Murphys said the wind kept his poodle, Dustin, barking at the shadows of the moving trees off and on all night.

He sleeps in our bedroom, so he kept us awake, said Quick. His doggie door was flapping in the wind, too, so he knew something was outside, but he wasnt going out to check.

Quick said the wind didnt cause any damage or downed limbs that he could see.

The wind is expected to die down Saturday afternoon, according to the National Weather Service forecast.

Clear skies are expected through the weekend.

The next chance of rain and higher elevation snow is forecast for Tuesday north of Highway 50 and Wednesday and Thursday in Calaveras County.

More rain and snow is needed to keep the Sierra Nevada snowpack near normal levels.

February ended with 22.06 inches of rainfall in Sonora so far this weather year, which runs from July 1, 2001 through June 30, 2002.

Thats 95 percent of average for the end of February.

Sonora is the only town for which The Union Democrat has maintained weather records for a long period of time, but the percentages are comparable to other foothill towns.

Sonora received 3.10 inches of rain during the entire month of February, compared to 5.75 inches average for the month.

The average rainfall in March is 5.60 inches, but more than that is needed to keep up with the average for the weather year that ends June 30.

Sonora gets an average of 33.16 inches of rain per weather year.