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Weather Report: No Drought Buster But Hopeful Rain Totals & Predictions

Screen Shot 2014-02-28 at 10.57.55 AMCan California Snowpack Rally?

Shasta Dam, the state’s most important reservoir saw just 5.4 inches of rain by by February 1. Now with a few days left in February the rain gauge is up 18.64 this month. The reservoir has gained 100,000 acre feet of water over that time.

Over the same period New Melones Dam started this month with only 2.4 inches of rain in the bucket but that number has climbed to 6.04 in today as this winter’s  total.

On the parched upper San Joaquin River watershed at Kaiser Point they had received only at 5.50 in of rain as of Feb 1. But some 28 days later the rainfall totals stand at 11.64 in with more than 2.5 inches falling in the past few days.

On the Kaweah River – Hockett Meadow rain totals stood at 7.4 in before this most recent storm but increased to 9.5 inches at 10.45 today. Mineral King webcam shows a snowy scene today with 10 inches of snow on the ground.

On the upper Tule,Quaking Aspen rain totals jumped 2.5 inches in the past two days.

California is in for more rain this weekend and next week say forecasters. In Northern California – here is the 10 day forecast for Redding.

Screen Shot 2014-02-28 at 10.49.39 AM

Sierra ski resorts are reporting a good dumping of snow with China Peak above Fresno stating on their website this AM –
“The snow level is right at our base area, 7,000 feet, so it will be a wet and snowy day, expected to continue for the next 24 hours.
Forecasts continue to vary as to amount, but it looks like an additional foot or more (in addition to the 9-12 inches since yesterday) before it begins to wind down either late tonight or early Saturday morning, should be ideal timing for the weekend.
We will evaluate Chair 7 after today and tonight’s weather, hope to have it open at some point Saturday morning, will be slightly delayed in any case. With enough snow we might be able to open China Bowl, accessing from Chair 2, but we’ll see in the morning.”

Here is what snow forecaster Bryan Allegretto shows on his blog today (see chart). Models show next Wed/Thurs could be wet for both the Tahoe area, the Central Coast and the key upper San Joaquin river watershed, headwater for the important Friant Kern canal.Screen Shot 2014-02-28 at 10.53.49 AM

It’s been good news on the Central Coast as well as Los Osos (our home base) seeing 2.5 inches in the past few days with plenty of rain still to come. Regards SLO County PG&E forecaster John Lindsey just wrote the following this AM: ”Total rainfall amounts today into Saturday will range between 1.5 and 3.5 inches. Higher amounts of rain could develop along the southwesterly facing mountains where up to 5 inches of rain could fall. Snow levels will  remain at between 5,000 and 6,00 feet with up to 2 feet of new snow in the Sierra. At the moment, current models indicate we will be under the influence of a subtropical moisture plume that will keep temperatures mild, mainly in the 60’s and 70’s and skies partly to mostly cloudy with the threat of sprinkles/light rain showers on Sunday and Monday. Mostly dry and partly cloudy weather is forecast on Tuesday
and Wednesday.

A cold front is expected to pass over San Luis Obispo County Thursday morning with rain showers, followed by increasing northwesterly winds Thursday afternoon through next Friday.”

Wear Your Rally Hat

Earlier this week weatherman Scott Sistek wrote an article asking “Can California’s Snowpack Rally like Washington’s?” He points out that the state of Washington was at 50 to 60% of normal as of February 7 but is now around 100% of normal. California needs 12 to 15 inches of rain to make up the drought or 120 to 150 inches of mountain snow.

By way of comparison Northstar ski resort in Tahoe has received 62 inches of new snow in February,more than all that had fallen earlier. A wet March with similar snow total would take it over 120 inches.

It seems clear that California is following the adage that ‘when it rains – it pours’, with these tropical banana express, atmospheric river events making the difference whether this drought will continue to be extreme or less so.
These weather patterns also calls for more storage in the state to capture storm water as it comes, saving it for a (non) rainy day.

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