Mild days will give way to rain

jholland@modbee.comFebruary 23, 2014 

The latest stretch of mild winter days could give way Wednesday to rain in the Modesto area and snow in the Sierra Nevada.

The National Weather Service forecasts a series of storms over the five days ending March 2.

“The rainfall received will not end the drought,” said an email Sunday from the weather service’s office in Sacramento.

The central Sierra snowpack stood at 30 percent of average as of Sunday, according to the California Department of Water Resources. It jumped from 12 percent to 36 percent thanks to storms over the past month, but it has fallen back with recent dry days.

That snow provides much of the water for the Northern San Joaquin Valley and Bay Area. The statewide snowpack is just 23 percent of average, pulled down by especially low readings in the northern mountains.

The forecast predicts a 50 percent chance of rain in Modesto on Wednesday and an 80 percent chance Wednesday night. Middle to upper elevations of the Sierra could get snow.

“The potential for moderate to heavy rainfall, and snowfall over mountain roads above 4,500 to 6,000 feet, may cause disruption to travel, especially over the weekend,” the weather service said.

February has brought small gains to rain and snow totals that have lagged for most of the storm season, which is October to May in normal years. Modesto recorded no rain in a 53-day stretch from early December to late January.

Bee staff writer John Holland can be reached at jholland@modbee.com or (209) 578-2385.

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