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Rain returns to California, but not enough to end the drought

Rain predicted in parched California

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - Meteorologists forecast a pair of storms could dump several inches of rain on parched cities and croplands throughout California in the coming week, bringing welcome news to a state that has just endured its driest year in recorded history.

While the rain won't be enough to end the drought, the National Weather Service projected Sunday that the much-needed precipitation could nearly double the amount of rainfall in parts of Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay Area this year.

By next Saturday, the twin Pacific storms are expected to bring as much as 2 inches of rain to the coast and several feet of snow to the Sierra Nevada.

The first storm on Wednesday won't offer much relief, just light overnight rains heading into Thursday. By Friday, radar images show the second storm should drench the entire state for 24 hours.

"We're not calling it a drought-buster, but it definitely will make a difference," said Jim Bagnall, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Hanford, one of many San Joaquin Valley towns where farmers have fallowed crops in anticipation of record low water supplies. "With these few storms, we could see about an inch total in the valley. So this could obviously have some significant impact."

The wet weather is badly needed: Since July 1, only 5.85 inches of rain have fallen in San Francisco, or about 35 percent of normal for this time of year. Just 1.2 inches have fallen in downtown Los Angeles, compared to 10.45 inches in a normal year.

The heavy rains will likely lead to flash flooding and runoff, carrying mud, trees and debris in areas burned in recent fires, such as the Colby fire, near Glendora.

"People who live around the burn areas need to be aware that Friday and Saturday could be potentially dangerous days," said Andrew Rorke, senior meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Oxnard.

At higher elevations, the storms could blanket the Sierra in several feet of snow reaching down as low as about 4,500 feet, Bagnall said.

Looking further into the future, meteorologists say computer models show another sign of hope: greater chances that this year could see El Nino conditions and accompanying rainfall.

The San Jose Mercury News reports (http://bit.ly/1fmbIyT) researchers at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said in November there was a 36 percent chance of El Nino conditions developing by August 2014. NOAA recently updated that probability to 49 percent.

"There's been an uptick recently. More models favor El Niño," said Jon Gottschalck, acting chief of operational prediction at NOAA's Climate Prediction Center in College Park, Md. "We certainly don't want to promise anything, but conditions are looking better."

Scientists are quick to say that El Nino conditions don't guarantee that California will get intense rainfall. But if the pattern is strong and temperatures are warm in the Pacific Ocean, the likelihood of heavy rainfall increases.

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DOUG February 24 2014 at 12:04 AM

Since California produces so many crops I certainly do hope they get the rain they need. Dont feel like paying triple I used to for some veggies.

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2 replies
rothhammer1 DOUG February 24 2014 at 12:19 AM

Somebody finally 'gets it.'

Flag Reply +2 rate up
MIKEY'S SCREEN DOUG February 24 2014 at 1:55 AM

Blame the California Aqua Duc that send most of the Northern Delta and San Luis Resevoir water to Southern California. The Gov's Office even said that water allocation for the Valley will be close to Zero.

Good thing about us folks who farm is that WE ALWAYS HAVE FOOD for our families!

Lotsa Luck!

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mvaldez449 February 24 2014 at 3:10 AM

Instead of wasting money on foolish things, and there are many, does it not sound reasonable to start building desalination plants?

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4 replies
Sage February 24 2014 at 1:52 AM

The Central Valley needs to have a few days of light rain in order to allow the heavier rains to soak into the ground or the rain will not help as much as it needs to. If it all comes down fast and furiously, it will simply cause floods but hopefully also fill the canals and reservoirs. Every little bit will help in some way but doesn't seem like it will be enough. Which will hurt the farmers and the consumers, financially.

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1 reply
rothhammer1 Sage February 24 2014 at 1:59 AM

So true.
A heavy snow in the Sierra Nevada, if followed too soon by warm weather, could spell bad news where I live.

Slow and steady would be nice.

Flag Reply +5 rate up
dal February 24 2014 at 6:33 AM

some years ago here in georgia we saw our lakes looking the same, but nature has her way, when it comes it will come. but this should be a wake up call that things we take for granted are things we miss when they are gone and water is the key to life.

Flag Reply +3 rate up
kcarthey February 24 2014 at 7:50 AM

In the 1950s the Eisenhower Administration initiated the Interstate Highway System. This ambitious project has saved billions, perhaps trillions over time. Should we now not start to think of an Interstate Aquaduct System where in areas prone to regular floods have excess water transported to places it is needed such as California and Texas? A few years ago Georgia was despirate for water while the Dakotas had too much of it. No area is immune from drought nor flooding.

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4 replies
missfrilly February 24 2014 at 9:22 AM

It is too bad we cant melt the snow and send it to them thru pipelines like gas and oil but I expect it cant be done as there would be no money in it for anyone...

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rothhammer1 February 24 2014 at 12:03 AM

To all these 'phishers' who claim that some relative of theirs makes seventy or eighty dollars an hour on the 'net........ why aren't you doing it?

Oh, you are- by suckering others into the scheme.

Flag Reply +9 rate up
GERONIMO February 23 2014 at 11:44 PM

Desalt plants all over the coast and import water to the normal dry states. Like the power grid

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2 replies
rothhammer1 GERONIMO February 23 2014 at 11:55 PM

The present methods of desalinization require vast amounts of electricity.

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1 reply
dashdzl rothhammer1 February 24 2014 at 12:43 AM

what do you really think should be done?

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blueshyam GERONIMO February 24 2014 at 2:34 AM

Great idea, GERONIMO.... but, sorry to say that the cost of building a "Desalt Plant" is enormous! Who is going to provide the $$$ $$$ $$$ for the first plant??? If more than one plant is necessary, we are going to be up into the billions of dollars. By the time we succeeded in getting Plant #1 operational, we would probably be getting flooded out of our homes by another "climate change" in the opposite direction. Let's all pull together to get rid of HAARP - Which used to be one of the planet's best kept secrets!


Today, there are several HAARP locations all over the globe, including Alaska and Russia ...if they would stop experimenting with the weather worldwide, then hopefully our weather patterns would inprove, and return back to “normal.” Let's hope so, anyway!

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yotomtom34 February 23 2014 at 11:37 PM

Why rely on Mother Nature when much of that water could be captured before it reaches the ocean.

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3 replies
Fred & Linda February 24 2014 at 12:47 AM

We hope there is a 3rd storm or more, we all need it!

Flag Reply +6 rate up
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