Fall weather is finally making an appearance as up to 6 inches of rain is forecasted to hit the Valley in the next seven days.
The National Weather Service is predicting a 40% chance of showers on Wednesday and 30% chance on Thursday. The chance of rain increases to 60% on Friday and continues through the weekend. The Valley is expected to see from 0.5 up to 2 inches of rainfall by the end of the week, according to the NWS.
After a brief lull early Saturday, a very wet pattern setting a zonal polar jet stream will extend across the Pacific bringing copious subtropical moisture into Northern California, according to the weather service. This Atmospheric River will lead to significant amounts of precipitation across the region, especially Sunday into early Monday, which will equate to about 1 to 4 inches in the Central Valley with 3 to 7 inches in the foothills and mountains.
Snow is also possible in the higher elevations and down to 5,000 feet by Tuesday.
The weather service cautioned that periods of moderate to heavy rain could bring potential impacts to recently burned areas, such as ash flow.
The City of Turlock offers a sandbag pickup for local residents during storm events to prevent damage and flooding. Residents can pick up sandbags at 901 S. Walnut Ave.
The rainfall is needed, as the area is in the midst of another drought, just two years after officials declared the state to be drought-free for the first time in nearly a decade.
According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, both Stanislaus and Merced counties are listed as being in an “Exceptional Drought.” That designation means that fields will be left fallow, the number and severity of wildfires will increase and forests and wildlife will suffer.
The 2020-2021 water year came to an end on Sept. 30 as the sixth driest year for the Tuolumne River Watershed and the fourth driest two-year period dating back to 1897. Full natural flow for the water year was 619,099 acre-feet – only 32.4 percent of the more than 1.9 million acre-feet average for the watershed.