Storm dumps half-inch of rain on downtown Modesto

pguerra@modbee.comDecember 5, 2012 

— An abrupt squall moved through the Northern San Joaquin Valley on Wednesday morning, dumping a half-inch of rain on downtown Modesto within an hour and contributing to several accidents on area roads.

The Modesto Irrigation District reported nearly two-thirds of an inch of rain had landed in downtown Modesto by Wednesday night, with about a third of an inch in the Modesto Reservoir. At its Canal Drive station, the Turlock Irrigation District had recorded about a third of an inch as of Wednesday night.

The TID reported one brief power failure in the area including west Turlock, Ceres and Crows Landing Road. The failure started at 8:25 a.m.; power was restored within about a half hour, said spokesman Herb Smart.

The MID did not receive any reports of power failures, said spokeswoman Melissa Williams.

California Highway Patrol officers responded to reports of spinouts, collisions and flooding along Highway 99 in the Modesto area.

The area will dry out over the next few days, forecasters said. It should be sunny and in the 60s by the weekend, except there's a good chance we won't see it.

"If the fog doesn't burn off, the temperature won't get as high as forecast," said Johnnie Powell, meteorologist with the National Weather Serv-ice in Sacramento. "But it'll be sunny just above it."

Rain in the valley often means snow in the foothills, but the past couple of storms have been pretty warm, keeping snowfall up around 8,000 feet. The Dodge Ridge ski area off Highway 108 east of Sonora reported Wednesday that snow was falling in the upper elevations, but the resort was getting mostly rain on its base at about 6,600 feet. Officials hope for a mid-December opening.

Wednesday's storm, combined with the rainfall that came in last week, bodes well for a winter that won't be as dry as last year's.

"Initial data show last weekend's storms helped best the historical November precipitation average to the Tuolumne River watershed," Smart said. Last month saw 4.44 inches drop in the area, compared with the average 4.25 inches. "Additionally, we are already two-thirds of the way to reaching December's average of 5.96 inches to the watershed."

Breaking News Editor Patty Guerra can be reached at pguerra@modbee.com or (209) 578-2343. Follow her on Twitter, @pattyguerra.

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