While Turlock has been doused with showers this week, skies are expected to clear just in time for the weekend before a possible return to rainy weather Thursday, according to the National Weather Service.
The heavy rainfall accumulated over the past several days will result in high river levels and stream flows even after rainfall tapers off early Saturday. As a result, forecasters issued a flood warning until 9:15 a.m. Saturday for several counties in the interior of northern California, including Stanislaus County.
Despite the fact that this precipitation has been readily welcomed by a region that has been severely affected by drought over the past six years, Turlock Irrigation District spokesman Calvin Curtin said the effect it will have on the upcoming irrigation season is still unknown.
“TID’s Board of Directors hasn’t made a decision on the amount of available water, irrigation rate schedule or the dates of the season,” said Curtin. “Those decisions are usually made at a Board meeting in late February or early March and they typically allow the Irrigation Department Manager to adjust the season dates depending on weather conditions and crop requirements.”
Last year, TID Directors voted to begin the irrigation season on April 7 with a 36-inch irrigation cap. In July 2016, TID adjusted the end of the irrigation season from Oct. 19 to Nov. 2, which was a brief but welcomed two-week extension.
According to data from TID, the region has experienced 1.62 inches of rainfall as of 5 p.m. Friday. This precipitation builds upon a historic rainfall amount of 20.07 inches in January, which more than tripled the monthly average of 6.35 inches and marked a new record maximum. Last month’s total was also more than last January’s rainfall total of 9.40 inches and a drastic improvement from January 2015, which only saw 0.09 of an inch of precipitation for the entire month.
TID will host a grower meeting at 5:30 p.m. on Feb. 28 in the C.C. Wright Hall, located at 247 E. Canal Drive. During the meeting, TID will provide growers with an irrigation outlook for 2017 by covering current hydrology, an update on the State Water Resources Control Board’s Substitute Environmental Document, information about the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act and an update on SBX7-7.
TID also announced Friday that it will continue to work in cooperation with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to maximize releases from Don Pedro without exceeding the flood stage of 55 feet at 9th Street in Modesto. To achieve this, flows at 9th Street will be approximately 10,000 cubic feet per second, which may cause a small incremental rise in the river.
Based on current conditions, TID has no immediate plans to open the spillway gates at Don Pedro. For more information, visit TID.org/flows.