While the month of October helped this year’s water year get off to a good start with above-average precipitation in the Tuolumne River Watershed, a relatively drier November and forecasts from the National Weather Service indicate that the region might be in for another dry year.
“We have clearly had good start to the water year, but the National Weather Service’s November-to-February forecast products I have seen still indicate a slightly greater chance for below-normal precipitation than for above-normal precipitation,” said Turlock Irrigation District utility analyst Jason Carkeet.
Data from Nov. 14 through Sunday showed that the Tuolumne River Watershed experienced .61 of an inch of precipitation, with a majority — or .43 of an inch — from Monday alone. Total monthly precipitation now stands at .81 of an inch, which is more than three inches below the historical November average of 4.18 inches.
Carkeet said the precipitation forecast from Monday to Nov. 29 in the upper Tuolumne River Watershed anticipates about 1.25 inches of rain, while the forecast from Nov. 29 to Dec. 7 predicts below an inch of precipitation.
Despite November’s relatively slower start, October in the Tuolumne River Watershed wrapped up with nearly 6 inches of precipitation — about 4 inches more than the historical monthly average of 1.96 inches — thanks largely in part to two storms in the middle and end of the month which brought in 1.64 inches and 1.23 inches of rainfall to the region, respectively. September only experienced .03 of an inch of precipitation, which fell significantly below the historical monthly average of .58 of an inch.
Accumulated precipitation for the region from September to Nov. 21 now stands at 6.80 inches, or 124.3 percent of the Tuolumne River Watershed’s historical average of 6.73 inches for the period between September through November.
“We’re off to a good start,” said TID Director Michael Frantz.