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More rain on the way
drought maps
California drought maps from August 2021, left, to today (Image contributed).

Don’t put away the long-sleeves and umbrellas just yet.

Though it’s hard to imagine that after hitting nearly 80 degrees today and tomorrow that a few more raindrops may be in store this weekend.

According to the National Weather Service in Sacramento, temperatures will retreat into the 60s on Friday with a 20 percent chance of showers. There’s also a chance of showers Friday night and on into Saturday, with overnight lows dipping into the 40s.

“It doesn’t look like a washout,” said Karl Swanberg, a forecaster with the NWS. “The best chance of rain is on Friday night, maybe into early Saturday, then diminishing from Sunday on. There’ll be a slight chance of showers on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday, with cooler temps.”

Since the start of the water year on Oct. 1, 2023, Turlock has received 14.69 inches of precipitation, which is about 4.5 inches better than the 10.21 average recorded between 1991 and 2020, but four inches shy of the 18.69 we had at this time last year.

In fact, the 2022-23 water year was the third wettest on record, according to Turlock Irrigation District, behind only 1983 and 2017. And while 2023-24 isn’t shaping up to be an historically wet year, 14.69 inches of precipitation is still good news for a region that has been plagued by drought for the better part of a decade.

According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, only seven of California’s 58 counties register as abnormally dry (D0) on the drought intensity scale — represented by the color yellow — which is just one step below “no drought” conditions (white). Only Lassen County in Northern California is at about 50 percent yellow. The other six counties show just slivers of yellow, while the remaining 51 counties show no drought conditions whatsoever.

However, that can change rapidly. In August of 2019, only four counties showed any signs of drought conditions. But less than two years later, by August of 2021, roughly 50 percent of the state — including 90 percent of Stanislaus County — was classified as D4 (exceptional drought), the most dangerous rating on the scale. Nearly all of the rest of the state was at D3 (extreme drought). Only slivers of the state in 2021 were classified as D2 (severe drought) or D1 (moderate drought). There was no yellow or white visible on the 2021 map.