For brides in Merced, June rain is something new

Heavy rain flooded a side yard to flood at 3450 McKee Road lending to some beautiful reflections in the water of an old car.
SUN-STAR PHOTO BY MARCI STENBERG Heavy rain flooded a side yard to flood at 3450 McKee Road lending to some beautiful reflections in the water of an old car.

Johnny Mercer's song "June Bride," from the 1954 musical "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers," helped popularize June weddings. But you'll forgive brides-to-be if they nervously check the extended forecasts for the rest of the month.

After all, Mercer also wrote a dozen songs about rain.

The Merced area received .88 inches of rain Saturday and Sunday, drenching guests at outdoor weddings and graduation parties. Fortunately, there's good news in store for anyone attending future outdoor events: Sunny skies are in the forecast for Merced starting today and continuing into next weekend, according to National Weather Service meteorologist Brian Ochs.

Despite the unseasonable downpour, there were no problems with flooding on area roads and highways, and accidents were few, according to Merced area California Highway Patrol spokesman Luis Lara. Some water pooled beneath the new G Street underpass, which will delay construction by a few days as crews wait for the water to dry. Still, the work was ahead of schedule, so the delay won't mean much in the long term, said Merced city spokesman Mike Conway.

Lake McClure's water level increased by 1½ feet over the weekend. It's difficult to say how much of that water was from rainfall and how much was added by snowmelt, but the reservoir still has plenty of room for more water, according to Merced Irrigation District spokesman Mike Jensen. Lake McClure has a storage capacity of 1.02 million acre-feet. On Monday morning, the reservoir was at 758,692 acre-feet, Jensen said.

Had the rain come a few days later, the wet weather could have affected setup at the Merced County Fairgrounds, where the annual fair is scheduled to begin June 15. But the timing couldn't have been better, and work won't begin in earnest until the end of this week.

"A little rain won't get in the way of the fair," fair spokeswoman Diane Booth Conway said. "Sunshine will dry it out."

The Atwater Aviators, a minor league baseball team that plays during the spring and summer months at Memorial Ballpark suffered its first rainout ever Saturday. "To be honest, we were not ready," said Richard Ruiz, general manager for the Aviators. "We had no processes in place. I talked with everyone on Friday night and everybody was convinced that it wouldn't rain in June."

Puddles were on the field Saturday morning. Most of the team worked throughout the day to get the field ready for the visiting San Francisco Seagulls. Then the rains came again.

The Aviators played 1½ games against the Seagulls before the second game was called in the fifth inning.

The Aviators won't have to worry about rain in Merced for a while -- their next home game isn't until Friday.

Merced photographer Jay Sousa said the recent rains have wreaked havoc with his outdoor photo shoots. "A lot of the senior portraits I shoot are outdoors, and we've had week after week of rescheduling," Sousa said.

A photography training session that Sousa was leading in Yosemite National Park also had to be rescheduled, he said. But he's managed to "luck out" with weddings, so far avoiding outdoor shoots in the rain.

Others weren't so fortunate. At the Turlock Golf & Country Club in North Merced County, staff members had to scramble to move an outdoor wedding to an indoor location. "We had to figure out, timing-wise and logistically, how to move it all indoors," said TGCC General Manager Michael Blevins. "For the brides, it wasn't the picture they had in their minds, but they still had a wonderful day."

Blevins said June weddings usually are warm, but country club staff always have a backup plan. "We're always looking at having another option when you're talking about outdoor weather. Our weather in the Central Valley is predicable but it has that erratic tendency."

Not far away in Crows Landing, Megan Cardenas was attending a backyard wedding reception. A covered patio area shielded the tables and dance floor, but guests got soaked as they traveled to and from their vehicles, and the dirt turned into a swampy mess. "I thought I was being smart by wearing closed-toe shoes, since I knew it was going to be cool that day, but I ended up with mud in each shoe," said Cardenas, a Modesto resident who works with Playhouse Merced. "I left with mud splattered up to my knees, and so did every other person there."

Cardenas said the bride's dress soaked up mud as the night went on. "The members of the wedding party were all smiles the entire evening, though," she said.

Of course, if Mercer's lyrics in "June Bride" are any indication, the crazy weather could continue: "But the June bride hears the song; Of the spring that lasts all summer long."

Online content editor Brandon Bowers can be reached at (209) 385-2464 or bbowers@mercedsun-star.com.

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