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Forecast: Sunshine interlude before another storm hits
rain 1
Turlock High senior Allyson Petersen does her best to dodge traffic and raindrops — she was utterly unsuccessful dodging raindrops — after school Tuesday at the intersection of Colorado Avenue and Cahill Street, behind Joe Debely Stadium (JOE CORTEZ/The Journal).

How hard did it rain on Tuesday?

A half an inch of rain fell on the city during a 90-minute span in the afternoon.

“(Tuesday) we had a total of .89 inches,” CSUS and MJC earth sciences professor Ryan Hollister told the Journal at around 5 p.m. “And we got half an inch of that between 2:40 p.m. and 4:10 p.m., as the front kind of paused before moving through.”

To put that in perspective, the .89 inches is the sixth-highest 24-hour total of the water year, and only four times this water year — which began on Oct. 1, 2022 — has the one-day total surpassed 1 inch.

Had the rain continued for a full 24 hours at the intensity with which it fell yesterday afternoon, it would have produced 8 inches of precipitation.

That’s how hard the rain fell on Turlock Tuesday afternoon.

Merced River flooding
Rains have caused flooding of the Merced River, seen here at the Highway 165 overpass south of Hilmar (Photo by Dan Gomes).

However, there’s sunshine in the forecast, with today and Thursday expected be dry, according to meteorologist Craig Shoemaker of the National Weather Service.

High temperatures will reach the low-60s and the next couple of days will actually resemble a springtime in the Central Valley.

But, there’s also a little bad news, too: The sunshine isn’t going to last long.

“Really, the next system we’ll see that should affect the area won’t move in until Saturday and Sunday,” said Shoemaker. “But that’s a very weak system. We’re anticipating another stronger storm system around Monday.”

And according to the NWS Weather Prediction Center, it’ll be another atmospheric river, with heavy low-elevation rain, heavy high-elevation snow and high winds.

In Turlock, where the average annual rainfall is 12.74 inches, there has already been more than 19  inches of rain to date, according to Hollister. And we’re still two weeks away from midway point in the water year, 

The rains have wreaked havoc for almond growers in the region, inhibiting the bees from flying around and pollinating the trees. Bees don’t like the rain, wind or cold — a trifecta achieved by the recent weather systems.

Several growers have already stated that this year’s almond crop — the largest agricultural commodity in Stanislaus County at more than $1.1 billion — will be a disappointing one.

It’s also been hard for local sports. High schools in the area were set to begin spring sports in late February, and so far, not many teams have been able to get in more than a couple of contests.

Games will have to be rescheduled, and those that can’t be, due to a compacted calendar, will simply be canceled.

“Hopefully, we’re near the end,” said Pitman High athletic director Dustin Curtiss. “It’s been a struggle.”

Usually, in the spring, when teams need to seek refuge from inclement weather, they can conduct practices in the gymnasium. But with boys volleyball now an official sport, and with concerts scheduled at the school, the gym hasn’t been readily available.

The Pride’s baseball team has played just three preseason games and Central California Athletic League play is slated to begin next week. Curtiss has shuffled the baseball team’s schedule. Pitman has a game today in Manteca against Sierra, Thursday at Clovis East, Friday at Tracy and Saturday at Lincoln of Stockton.

Four games in four days, followed by an off day, and then the start of Central California Athletic League action.

“It’s been a mess, but our coaches have done the best they possibly can,” said Curtiss. “Our baseball team hasn’t played a home game yet. The first one will be Monday against Modesto when we start league … if we can get it in.”