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And the rain just keeps on coming
Sierra snowfall more than double of average year
A nonconference baseball game between Turlock Christian High and Mariposa High was cancelled this week due to snow, likely a first in TC school history (Photo contributed).

Whoever’s been praying for rain … you can stop now. 

Famous for its short, temperate winters, the Golden State is putting the rest of the nation to shame. More snow is expected in the Sierra Nevada and more rain will pelt Turlock over the next week, according to TID hydrologist Olivia Cramer. 

“In the near term we’re looking at another storm system coming in this weekend,” said Cramer. “These storms aren’t going to be like what we were seeing in January, when we were getting over a half an inch to an inch in a single day.” 

After this weekend, it will be dry for a few days … then more rain. 

“We’ll have a little of a break, locally, going into most of next week,” said Cramer. “Then, going into the weekend after that is when we start to see it starting up again. Probably Thursday, Friday, you’re going to see the most intense rainfall … so from today to about the 10th, you’re looking about an inch for the local area.” 

On average, Turlock receives 12.74 inches of rain for the entire year. Through Friday, Turlock has received 17.28 inches of rain since the water year began on Oct. 1, according to earth sciences professor Ryan Hollister, who operates his own rain gauge at his home in East Turlock. As it stands, the region is 35 percent above its average rainfall total, and we’re not yet to the halfway point of the water year. By the end of next week, with about an inch expected to fall on the region, Turlock could be sitting at 50 percent over average heading into the April 1 midpoint. 

The Tuolumne River Watershed so far this year has accumulated 44 inches of precipitation in the system, 176 percent of normal for this date. The yearly average is 36 inches. The recent record is 63 inches, back in 2017 when TID opened the spillway at Don Pedro Reservoir. 

Regarding snowfall, Donner Pass on Interstate 80 near Reno has accumulated nearly 12 feet of snow over the past week, with more on the way this weekend. So far this year, more than 44 feet have fallen on the Central Sierra Snow Lab in Nevada County. That’s more than double what we normally receive this time of year. 

The recent storms have wreaked havoc on local high schools’ spring sports schedules. Turlock Christian baseball was slated to play a nonconference game in Mariposa on Thursday, however, the game was ‘snowed out,’ likely a first in school history.

The upcoming storms figure to be warmer than recent systems, which could cause melting of the snowpack. While that’s not a major concern for now, it is something worth monitoring, said Cramer. 

“The first two systems that we’re looking at, the one for this weekend and the one for later next week, both seem to be colder storms,” said Cramer. “The one that’s on and off for the 13th, 14th through the 17th does indicate it might be a warmer storm. But because it’s been so cold, the benefit is the snowpack in general is that it’s not ripe. So, the overall temperature of the snowpack – ‘cold content’ is the term that we use – is really low. So, it takes a lot of heat to get the entire snowpack to ripen up to be able come off. So even if the top layer melts, it could refreeze as it’s coming down.”