Storms Give Valley And Sierra Welcomed Soaking, Little Relief
All the San Joaquin Valley rain and mountain snow that fell — in one small early February storm and two larger and wetter events as the month was ending — was welcomed . Unfortunately, there simply was not enough of it.
Drought conditions are continuing and showing no sign of permitting Pacific storm events, like the two that soaked the final days in February, to continue this spring. The National Weather Service’s long-range prediction calls for below average precipitation continuing into early June.
“It would take many more storms the size of what we’ve just experience to overcome the precipitation deficit that was recorded over the previous fall and winter months,” said Ronald D. Jacobsma, Friant Water Authority General Manager.
In the valley, where reports of more than inch of rain (and more in a few places) were fairly common, the storms added up to the equivalent of a good irrigation for many farmers. That moisture was welcomed since so many growers are going to lack surface water supplies with which to irrigate during the spring and summer.
In the mountains, a few feet of snow fell above 8,000 feet and Sierra Nevada snow sensors showed good gains. However, in the southern ranges water content readings still are less than a third of the peak April 1 average. The Sierra was so dry that calculated full natural flows in all rivers showed only a few days of modest storm increases and then quickly fell back into unusually low daily late winter runoff.