Recent storms bring scant relief from drought in Merced

aibarra@mercedsunstar.comApril 1, 2014 

Merced has seen showers four days straight, yet the rainfall average is still short of the norm and far from what’s needed to provide significant relief from the Valley’s drought conditions. But every bit of precipitation helps.

The National Weather Service in Hanford said Merced had 4.38 inches of rain July 1 to April 1 – 6.46 inches short of the 10.84 average.

Tuesday’s showers delivered only 0.07 of an inch, and rain on Monday totaled 0.09 of an inch.

A 40 percent chance of showers and a high of 63 degrees is forecast for today. Meteorologist Brian Ochs said that besides some slight showers on Friday, no rain is expected for the rest of the week. A few sprinkles are anticipated Friday in Fresno and Madera counties.

The wind is expected to pick up in Merced during the weekend, with gusts up to 15 mph Friday and 25 mph Saturday night. Warm and dry weather should return next week with highs in the 80s.

Late March storms brought snow to the southern Sierra Nevada, but the snowpack was still in single digits below 7,500 feet, Kings River water officials said Tuesday.

For the past week, hydrologists have been measuring the disappointing snowpack all along the 400-mile mountain range, generally finding about a third of average water content. It is the smallest snowpack in 25 years.

The northern Sierra was at a dismal 23 percent of average Tuesday morning, according to the state Department of Water Resources.

Reach Sun-Star staff writer Ana B. Ibarra at (209) 385-2486 or aibarra@mercedsunstar.com.

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