A Sunday morning cloudburst brought a small amount of relief to the Modesto area, but this remains yet another below-average winter.
The Modesto Irrigation District recorded 0.15 inches of rain downtown between 10 and 11 a.m. Clouds continued into the afternoon, but no more rain had fallen as of 4 p.m.
The National Weather Service forecast a 20 percent chance of rain Monday in Modesto, then a few dry days followed by another chance of rain Saturday.
If rainfall were all that mattered, Modesto would be in good shape, with a total of 10.7 inches in the precipitation year that started July 1. The historical average is 12.15 inches. A near-record December, with 7 inches, accounted for most of this.
It’s another matter with the central Sierra Nevada snowpack, which stood at 23 percent of average before Sunday’s storm, according to the California Department of Water Resources. This is the main source for MID and many other farm and city water suppliers.
Irrigation districts are getting close to setting allotments for farmers. Storms in March and April could help some, but the federal Climate Prediction Center said there is no strong chance of above-average conditions.
This is the fourth straight year of drought. Abundant reservoir storage from the wet 2010 and 2011 eased the impact for a while, but things have worsened as the levels were drawn down.