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  • Randall Benton / RBenton@sacbee.com

    US Fish and Wildlife Service Hydrologist Craig Anderson, left, and California Department of Fish and Wildlife Scientific Aid Shawn Cox wade across the water with test equipment on the American River near River Bend Park in Rancho Cordova on Friday, January 17, 2014. Dams upstream keep gravel from naturally washing downstream, so - as part of a large project - 6,000 tons of gravel were added to the river bed to provide a better habitat for spawning chinook salmon. Recently, low water levels have left some of the salmon nesting areas (called redds) have been left high and dry. Today, biologists surveyed the American River to try to learn how many salmon eggs have been killed by low water levels. They sampled salmon redds (nests) for water quality, and the permeability of the river bed.

  • Randall Benton / Sacramento Bee

    A pair of fishermen stand near the shallow water of the American River below Watt Avenue on Saturday, Jan. 11, 2014. Dry conditions have dropped river flows to low levels not seen in many years.

Sacramento continues warm, dry march toward new weather records

Published: Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2014 - 1:21 pm
Last Modified: Thursday, May. 22, 2014 - 8:59 am

More weather records are in jeopardy today in downtown Sacramento as a stubborn high-pressure system brings more mild, dry weather.

This week, each new day without rain pushes this winter season higher in the record books. After today, downtown Sacramento will have recorded 45 consecutive days without measurable rainfall, ranking as the second-longest stretch in history, beating the previous record set in 1976.

Wednesday will tie the all-time record of 46 days, set in 1884, according to the National Weather Service.

If Thursday ends without rainfall – and there is none in the forecast – this winter will record the longest dry stretch in downtown Sacramento’s weather history, which dates back to the 1870s.

Jim Mathews, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Sacramento, acknowledged there has been confusion about this record for a winter dry trend.

At first, the weather service indicated the record would be broken today. Then it looked more closely at the weather history data and found two prior winter periods in which a “trace” was recorded. As a result, these two periods – 1884 and 1929 – had been excluded form this particular record.

But a trace, Mathews explained, is not considered “measurable” rainfall. So in reality these two periods must be added to the list of prior record winter dry spells. Adding them means downtown Sacramento has to notch two more dry days before it can break the record. This makes Thursday the crucial day.

If Thursday ends without measurable precipitation, Mathews said, this will become the longest continuous winter period in downtown Sacramento without rain.

“Sorry for the confusion, but with 150-some-odd years of weather records, it’s hard to keep it all straight,” Mathews said. “We were even confused for a while.”

A heat record also could fall today. The high temperature for today is expected to reach 70 degrees, according to the National Weather Service. If so, that would tie the record for the date, set on Jan. 21, 1976.

The detailed, 7-day forecast for the NWS for the Sacramento region:

Today: Patchy frost before 10am. Otherwise, mostly sunny, with a high near 70. Calm wind becoming north northwest around 6 mph in the afternoon.

Tonight: Mostly clear, with a low around 37. Light north northwest wind.

Wednesday: Sunny, with a high near 70. Calm wind becoming north northwest around 6 mph in the afternoon.

Wednesday night: Patchy frost after 4am. Otherwise, mostly clear, with a low around 37. Light and variable wind becoming east around 5 mph in the evening.

Thursday: Patchy frost before 10am. Otherwise, sunny, with a high near 68. East wind around 5 mph becoming north northwest in the morning.

Thursday night: Mostly clear, with a low around 39.

Friday: Sunny, with a high near 68.

Friday night: Mostly clear, with a low around 38.

Saturday: Sunny, with a high near 68.

Saturday night: Mostly clear, with a low around 37.

Sunday: Sunny, with a high near 68.

Sunday night: Clear, with a low around 37.

Monday: Sunny, with a high near 67.

Click here for the interactive five-day weather forecast.


Call The Bee’s Bill Lindelof, (916) 321-1079.



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