Blustery winds carried plenty of rain to Lodi on Wednesday, leaving residents scrambling for umbrellas and staying indoors as much as possible during the first storm of the season.
About half an inch of rain was predicted, along with wind gusts of up to 45 miles per hour, according to Mike Pigott, senior meteorologist with AccuWeather.com, a private weather forecasting service. Temperature highs reached about 60 degrees, and 0.76 inches of rain had fallen by 4 p.m.
Also by 4 p.m. on Wednesday, there weren't any reports yet of power outages or flooded streets due to clogged storm drains.
Jeff Hood, director of the Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services department, said he already had crews lined up to work on Friday and through the weekend to clear out clogged drains.
"Anything people can do to reduce the number of leaves going into the storm drains would be appreciated," said Hood.
Leaf crews were also working on Wednesday to manage the bushels of leaves piled in the streets and to clear downed branches and trees.
A 70-foot-tall pine tree fell over at Tokay High School, mangling a street light at the corner Ham Lane and Century Boulevard.
Berndt Tree Service had about 10 men using chainsaws to cut the tree into chunks and then drag them into a wood chipper.
An employee from the tree service said the wind, which was coming from the southeast, likely twisted the tree, which was top-heavy from pine cones that had yet to fall.
Public works crews weren't the only folks working in the rain. Mail carriers braved the gusts, too.
Ryan Stockton of Lodi has delivered the mail for six years. He trudged through the rain on his route on Wednesday decked out in a raincoat and hat, doing his best to keep letters and magazines dry.
"The worst part is that when it's cold and wet, you have to go to the bathroom a lot. It's like the water gets in through osmosis or something," he said. Luckily the drizzle was manageable as he made his way down Church Street.
It seemed that no one was out during the rainy hours if they didn't have to be.
Noel Garcia, who works in maintenance at the Lodi Airport, said he didn't expect any private pilots coming in for flights on Wednesday, though the airport does not have a control tower to restrict landing.
"I wouldn't think anyone would be flying today. Common sense would tell you that," he said.
For some nearby "residents," the rain is the subject of fascination, not inconvenience.
Kelly Morris, the office manager at Micke Grove Zoo, said she could see spider monkeys peeking out of their covered dens to watch the rain coming down in their enclosure.
"The animals are free to come and go in their dens as they want when it rains. We don't do anything different," she said. The only exception is their mountain lion, who is kept within his shelter during inclement weather.
"He's older. We want to keep our big cat around a little bit longer," she said.
Domestic animals, too, are affected by the rainy weather. Officials at the Lodi Animal Shelter say they see a lot of new animals after each bad wind storm. Dogs run loose when the wind knocks down a loose fence or throws open a gate.
The rain is predicted to return on Friday and to continue through the weekend, according to Pigott.
Contact reporter Sara Jane Pohlman at email@example.com.