Northern California sees new record for wettest winter
April 15, 2017
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — It is now the wettest year on record in the Northern California mountains, National Weather Service officials said Thursday.
An index of precipitation at eight sensors showed that just under 90 inches of rain and snow have fallen this winter in the northern Sierra Nevada.
The previous record of 88.5 inches was set in the winter of 1982-1983. The average for the region is 50 inches a year, according to the state Department of Water Resources.
The record was surpassed less than a week after Gov. Jerry Brown officially declared an end to California's drought emergency — a largely symbolic pronouncement that left in place some water-conservation rules for the 40 million residents of the nation's most populous state.
More snow and rain is likely to pad the record before the wet season ends.
A winter weather advisory was in effect for the northern Sierra for much of Thursday with forecasts for moderate to heavy snow along with rain at lower elevations. As of Friday morning Kirkwood Mountain had received 20 inches of new snow in 48 hours and 42 inches in seven days, sending the season total to 685 inches. Sierra-at-Tahoe reported 37 inches of snow over seven days, bringing the season total to 612 inches.
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The forecast on Friday from the National Weather Service in Reno predicted mostly sunny conditions Saturday with rain and snow expected Sunday and the first half of the week.
Thursday's measurements were taken from sensors spread from Mount Shasta near the Oregon border to Pacific House between Sacramento and South Lake Tahoe.
Winter storms have blanketed mountains in snow, flooded urban areas and caused damage that could top $1 billion.
The weather also taxed reservoirs, dams and levees designed to control floods and capture winter rain and snow for agriculture and drinking water throughout the state.
The five sensors that make up the San Joaquin region have recorded 68.2 inches of rain — almost double the average for this time of year and roughly on pace with the 1983 record of 77.4 inches, according to the Water Resources Department.
Further south, the Tulare Basin — the area hit hardest by the drought — has received 45 inches of rain and snow — 178 percent of the average precipitation, state officials said.