Somewhere upstream it rained hard on clay ground early Thursday morning, rainfall amounts varied drastically. We received 0.44” at the house. Two miles downstream received only 0.22”. Rain and hail three miles upstream amounted to 1.2” in this latest storm event. When the photo was taken around noon yesterday, Dry Creek was flowing at 28 cfs, a far cry from 542 cfs on January 31, 2016. No rain in the forecast until the end of this month.
According to El Niño experts, all the elements for a wet spring are still in place despite our dry and warmer than average February. Parts of California have fallen behind average rainfall amounts as the state hasn’t quite shaken the pattern set by four years of drought. Most of the Sierra snow below 7,000 feet that came at the end of January is gone with temperatures ranging in the mid-to-upper 70s this month.
What March and April will bring is anyone’s guess, but the current trend is dry. For those of us in the business of harvesting grass with cattle, it’s not so much about how much it rains, but when—timing is everything. Any accumulation of snow for Valley agricultural surface water users diminishes as we go forward with little or no significant increase in groundwater recharge.
At this point in time, El Niño has kept us alive, but hasn’t erased the impacts of four years of drought.