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January 22, 2013

Modesto's weather about to change

A storm due in Wednesday could end a 17-day stretch of dry weather in Modesto and boost a snowpack that has slipped to slightly below average.

A storm due in today could end a 17-day stretch of dry weather in Modesto and boost a snowpack that has slipped to slightly below average.

The forecast called for a 20 percent chance of rain in Modesto today.

The storm season started out strong, with 7.74 inches in the city as of Jan. 6, according to the Modesto Irrigation District.

There has been nothing since, unless you count the ice that your defroster has melted on your windshield on some of these January mornings.

The snowpack in the central Sierra Nevada stood at 100 percent of average for the date Monday and 98 percent Tuesday, the California Department of Water Resources reported.

The snow, which was well above average most of the winter, is the primary water source for farms and cities in the Northern San Joaquin Valley.

The main part of the storm season is from December through March, so there's still time for the rain and snow numbers to build back up.

They will start slowly. The National Weather Serv-ice forecast a dry Thursday, followed by a slight chance of precipitation Friday and into the weekend.

The overnight lows will move out of the freezing range and into the 40s the next few days.

The near-average storm season that has developed differs markedly from the past two. The 2010-11 version was one of the wettest on record, while last year was far below average at this point and then recovered somewhat.

Water storage is looking fairly good. Don Pedro Reservoir on the Tuolumne River was at 99 percent of average for the date Monday, according to the state agency. New Melones Reservoir on the Stanislaus River was at 118 percent.

For the complete forecast, go to www.modbee.com/weather.

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