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Rain, snow needed

Driest year since 1987, says TID

POSTED February 7, 2012 9:48 p.m.

A wet end to January hasn't made up for dry conditions in December, according to the Turlock Irrigation District.

So far this water year, rainfall in the TID watershed has tallied 9.61 inches, or 46.6 percent of average for this date. Even if conditions are wet for the remainder of the year – among the wettest 10 percent of years – the water year would only end near the 50-year average.

The unseasonably warm weather has also troubled snowpack levels. Though some snow has fallen, much has already melted away. That could spell trouble come summer, when melting mountain snow traditionally replenishes TID reservoirs.

Results from the Feb. 1 snowpack survey show Tuolumne River watershed snowpack levels at 31.5 percent of average for the date. The electronic snow sensors used in runoff forecasting show snowpack at 28.9 percent of average for this date.

“You have to go back to 1991 before you get a year drier at this point in time,” said Jason Carkeet, TID utility analyst. “This is comparable to 1987.”

To contact Alex Cantatore, e-mail acantatore@turlockjournal.com or call 634-9141 ext. 2005.

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