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A crazy water year ended Saturday. So did we set any records for rain and snow?

The San Joaquin River floods near the Fisherman’s Bend River Campground along River Road northeast of Newman on Feb. 15.
The San Joaquin River floods near the Fisherman’s Bend River Campground along River Road northeast of Newman on Feb. 15. jfarrow@modbee.com

The water year that ended Saturday was the wettest on record for the watersheds feeding the Tuolumne and Stanislaus rivers. The Merced River fell just short.

The Tuolumne had about 4.86 million acre-feet of runoff from rain and snowmelt from last October through September, the Turlock Irrigation District reported. That beat the previous high of 4.64 million in 1983 and was 255 percent of the historical average, spokesman Brandon McMillan said.

The Tuolumne supplies TID, the Modesto Irrigation District and part of the San Francisco Bay Area.

The Stanislaus ended up at about 3.07 million acre-feet, topping the previous best of 2.95 million in 1983. The average is about 1.12 million acre-feet.

The Stanislaus is tapped by the Oakdale and South San Joaquin irrigation districts and the federal Central Valley Project.

The Merced watershed got about 2.48 million acre-feet over the water year, said spokesman Mike Jensen at the Merced Irrigation District. The record is about 2.83 million in 1983. The average is about 977,000.

Many water managers measure from October to the next September because it roughly matches the storm season, followed by irrigation season. Others do it from July to June.

Whatever the method, it was an epic year. It began with abundant fall storms and continued with even greater deluges in winter. The region had flooding in places, but not a massive emergency like the spillway trouble at Oroville Dam on the Feather River.

High inflow forced the opening of the spillway at Don Pedro Reservoir on the Tuolumne in February. That has happened only twice since it was completed in 1971.

It was a record year also on the northern Sierra watersheds feeding the Sacramento River.

The storms just about ended a drought that started in 2012 and affected parts of California to varying degrees. The emergency remains for scattered areas with inadequate groundwater.

John Holland: 209-578-2385

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