Californians have been rushing to buy cheap umbrellas this week after the long term drought was broken by rain.

California has been in the midst of one of the most severe droughts on record since January, but rain which has fallen over part of the state has given hope that the weather system El Nino will bring an end to the drought in the coming weeks.

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The rain which has fallen across the Bay Area this week has lifted not only umbrellas, but spirits too. With the rain falling steadily but not too heavily, people were happy to hoist an umbrella or raise their hood while thinking about the good the rain would do for their gardens.

Painter Kevin Santos said he was pleased to see the rainfall even though he was having to work outside as a painter and decorator in it. But as a keen fisherman, he’s looking forward to his next day off following the rain. “I love a bit of rain,” he said. “It means the rivers are filling up and there’ll be good fishing to be had when the fish head into the topped up rivers.”

Retired accountant Howard Walwyn said he was looking forward to seeing the effect of the rain on his garden. “My perennials have been looking a bit sad lately,” he said, “so this rain will spruce them up a bit and the whole garden will look better for it.”

The operator of an open top bus tour company was understandably a little less enthusiastic about the change in the weather. Joe Tomasson, who runs Open Top Sightseeing in the Bay Area, said: “Obviously we’ve been quite a bit quieter today with the rain, which isn’t great. We have had a great run with the dry weather though and I can’t really complain about it only starting to rain at the end of November.”