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  • Randy Pench /

    Janeata Rubit of Sacramento wears a poncho - which blows in the wind - to shield herself from the rain as she walks past a mural near 8th and K streets on Wednesday, January 29, 2013 in Sacramento, Calif. Rain finally revealed itself to the region after record-setting dryness lasted for more than 50 days.

  • Hector Amezcua /

    A pedestrian walks near the underpass that connects Old Sacramento with Downtown Sacramento during the first day of rain in 52 days on Wednesday, Jan. 29, 2014 in Sacramento, Calif.

  • Randall Benton /

    Bon Smith of Land Park area tosses a ball from under an umbrella for his dog Jesse in William Land Park in Sacramento on Wednesday, January 29, 2014. After a long dry season, rain finally fell in Sacramento.

  • Randy Pench /

    A woman shields herself from the rain as she passes by a mural in the window of an office building on the K Street Mall on Wednesday, January 29, 2013 in Sacramento, Calif. Rain finally revealed itself to the region after record-setting dryness lasted for more than 50 days.

Long-awaited rain falls in Sacramento, ending 52-day dry streak

Published: Wednesday, Jan. 29, 2014 - 7:36 am
Last Modified: Tuesday, Jul. 1, 2014 - 1:04 pm

After 52 days without rain, the dry spell was broken Wednesday as a long-awaited winter storm moved southward through Northern California.

The National Weather Service reported that the rain arrived earlier than expected and could deliver a bit more precipitation than earlier predicted.

“Sacramento International Airport has received some rainfall and Marysville has gotten nearly a tenth of an inch,” said Stefanie Henry, meteorologist for the NWS in Sacramento, about 1 p.m. “We have gotten reports of a downpour in Oroville. The system is basically moving from the north to the south.”

As of 4 p.m., downtown Sacramento had received 0.04 inches, and Executive Airport 0.03 inches of rain. Forecasters now say perhaps 0.60 inches could be recorded in Sacramento before the storm is over early Friday. The wet weather system is widespread, covering a wide swath of the north state.

Higher rainfall totals were reported further east, with 0.12 inches recorded in Lincoln, 0.08 inches in Folsom and 0.93 in Blue Canyon in the Sierra, said Karl Swanberg, a forecaster with the National Weather Service.

As of Wednesday evening, snow levels were still above the 8,000-foot elevation, but they were expected to drop to around 5,500 feet by this morning. Snow accumulations of 1 to 2 feet were forecast for higher elevations, with perhaps 7 to 8 inches of slushy snow in the Blue Canyon area, Swanberg said. Fairly steady snowfall is expected to continue through today, giving way to snow showers tonight.

“We are not recommending driving unless people are OK with delays and chain controls,” Henry said.

In the Valley, slick roadways could present some driving challenges during this morning’s commute.

The rain is expected to taper off in the afternoon – “We may see a bit of sun,” Swanberg said, but the chance of rain will linger through Friday.

As the rain moves out, the Sacramento area could see some patchy dense fog.

“Then we’ll dry out as a high-pressure system begins to rebuild,” Swanberg said.

Daytime highs in the Sacramento area today and Friday are expected to be between 55 and 60 degrees, with overnight lows around 40 degrees.

As of Wednesday evening, downtown Sacramento had received 1.79 inches of rain for the season, about 16 percent of normal. The typical rainfall total for this time of year is 11.05 inches, Swanberg said.

“This was not a drought-breaker,” he said of the current storm. “But hopefully it begins to pave the way where we can get some more systems.”

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

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