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Rainfall continues to surpass historical averages for region
rain pic1
Rain water flooded Norton Dog Park off Berkeley Avenue on Tuesday making it impossible for four or two-legged citizens to use the park. - photo by CANDY PADILLA / The Journal

Turlock residents are gladly adjusting to the downpour of rain throughout the area, with recent precipitation amounts exceeding the average rainfall amount since the 1930s and bringing much-needed relief to a drought-stricken region.

Although recent storms have often been accompanied by a windy weather system, Turlock Irrigation District spokesperson Calvin Curtin said that it has been “pretty quiet” in terms of electrical outages and fallen power lines in the District’s service territory.

“Nothing out of the ordinary as far as outages go,” said Curtin.

However, the region was not left completely unscathed as Lake Don Pedro Marina did sustain some damage to its structure on Tuesday as a result of windy conditions, according to Curtin, who said that the facility will be closed for a couple of days to account for repairs.

While the welcomed downpour of rain has yet to present any localized street flooding or major issues, City of Turlock Utilities Manager Larry Gilley said that his department must still focus on transferring the amount of water accumulating in City storm ponds, including large ones on Walnut Road and Christoffersen Parkway, into TID canals and ultimately the San Joaquin River.

“We’ve had a couple of storms back to back here and we do have a lot of water in our storage. It takes almost a week to get rid of water that we collect in about a day,” said Gilley. “I’m going to have to work 24 hours around the clock to get those drained before the next storm hits. It’s tough.”

Despite the fact that localized street flooding is not of concern, Gilley still encouraged Turlock residents to keep grating clear of leaves as a majority of street flooding is caused by leaves and debris clogging drains and gutters. He also urged drivers to be vigilant when driving in flooded areas.

“The main thing would be to slow down in the rain when they’re driving and to just be careful when driving through larger puddles,” said Gilley.

Residents concerned about flooding can pick up sandbags at 901 S. Walnut Rd. in Turlock. Sandbags are given on a first come first serve basis with a limit of 10 per resident. Pick up times area from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.

According to the National Weather Service,  the Valley will receive a break in the rainfall today and into Thursday, before another wave of wet weather moves in on Friday with more significant precipitation and gusty winds expected. After the weekend rain, fog is expected to roll in on Monday and into Tuesday.

Data up until Friday at TID revealed that the Tuolumne River Watershed has experienced 3.85 inches of precipitation throughout the month of January. This accumulating rainfall amount is more than halfway towards achieving the historical January average of 6.32 inches. This total is expected to increase even more as the TID Canal Drive station recorded .80 of an inch of rain as of 4 p.m. on Tuesday.

This month’s precipitation total so far can already be considered a refreshing change from last year’s historically dry January, which only saw .09 of an inch in rainfall.

While September 2015 fell short of its historical average 0.59 of an inch in precipitation with only 0.05 of an inch in rainfall, both October and November surpassed their historical averages by 0.26 of an inch and 0.91 of an inch, respectively. The region also exceeded its historical precipitation average for the month of December by nearly four inches with a final total amounting to 9.38 inches of rainfall.

With this total, accumulated precipitation in the Tuolumne River Watershed from September to Jan. 15 now stands at 20.58 inches, or 126.3 percent of the historical average of 18.94 inches.