Rain on the way for Christmas Day in Sonoma County

After a break in the weather, rain is expected to return to the North Bay today, Christmas Day, right around the time kids are jonesing to get outside to try out their new trikes.

Forecasters are calling for a significant amount of rain to start falling by late morning or early afternoon and dump up to an inch or more overnight.

"It's supposed to move through pretty quickly and be gone by Wednesday morning," said Mark Strudley, a hydrologist with the National Weather Service in Monterey.

Strudley said the Russian River, which was under a flood watch Monday, was not predicted to overflow its banks today. But he said officials are monitoring the situation closely should rainfall totals begin to exceed predictions.

"Some of the creeks are receding to levels we saw before the latest storm, while others haven't gotten there yet," he said.

As of Sunday, 8.34 inches of rain had fallen in Santa Rosa since Dec. 1.

That ranked as the ninth-wettest for that period of time dating back to 1931.

That's well short, however, of the rainiest December on record in Santa Rosa, a gutter-filling, boot-shloshing 17.89 inches that fell between Dec. 1 and Dec. 31 in the city in 1955. That barely eclipsed 2005's total of 17.59 inches.

About 500 Sonoma County residents were still without power Monday afternoon following the weekend's big storms. The majority of them were in Petaluma, Sebastopol and Occidental, said J.D. Guidi, a spokesman for PG&E. He said crews were expecting to have the power back on for these customers by about 10 p.m. Monday.

On Monday in the Tahoe area, chain restrictions were lifted on Interstates 80 and 50.

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