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  • Jason Halley / AP

    Water begins to collect in Lake Oroville at Lime Saddle Marina as rain returned to help with drought conditions Saturday, Feb. 8, 2014 in Paradise, Calif.

  • Jeff Chiu / AP

    A woman carries an umbrella as she crosses Market Street in San Francisco, Saturday, Feb. 8, 2014. Californians accustomed to complaining about the slightest change in the weather welcomed a robust weekend storm that soaked the northern half of the drought-stricken state Saturday even as rain and snow brought the threat of avalanches, flooding and rock slides.

Sacramento rainfall record for date set; Folsom Lake rises over 6 feet

Published: Monday, Feb. 10, 2014 - 12:00 am
Last Modified: Thursday, May. 22, 2014 - 8:59 am

Folsom Lake has risen 6 feet but state water officials say the storm hitting Northern California has done little to ease a severe drought.

“It has gone up a bit, but it’s certainly not anything to dance in the rain about,” said Doug Carlson, spokesman for the California Department of Water Resources. “We still have a long ways to go before we’re anywhere close to normal.”

As of one week ago Sunday, Folsom Lake had only 17 percent of its total capacity. The recent rains pushed it to just 19 percent of capacity – still barely one-third of what it should be for this time of year, Carlson said.

The same was true for Lake Oroville, which swelled by 4 feet but still lagged below historic levels. And the recent downpour has had minimal affect on Shasta Lake. “We would need many more storms like this weekend to even approach normal,” Carlson said. “The drought is that severe. We would hope that the public would not relax their conservation just because they were carrying umbrellas this weekend.”

The low reservoir levels stood in contrast to heavy precipitation, particularly in foothill areas, since the storm began Wednesday night. By Sunday afternoon, Grass Valley had reported 101/2 inches of total rain, Auburn Dam Ridge nearly 71/2 inches, Placerville nearly 7 inches. Downtown Sacramento received nearly 3 inches from the storm, with 1.29 inches on Saturday being a record for the date.

The National Weather Service reported flash flood warnings for areas near Foresthill that had been affected by last summer’s American fire.

The California Highway Patrol was busy Sunday responding to reports of roadway flooding in the Auburn and Placerville areas.

The Sierra received 10 inches to 13 inches of precipitation from this storm, with Boreal Mountain Resort reporting getting 57 inches of new snow. Sugar Bowl Resort received 50 inches of fresh powder since last Wednesday, with 27 inches falling Saturday night through Sunday morning. Another half-foot to a foot of new snow was expected overnight Sunday for areas above 7,000 feet.

The wet weather is due to a strong atmospheric river, with a lot of moisture from the subtropics being funneled into the area.

Sacramento area residents can expect a soggy commute early Monday with occasional showers. The system will leave the area by late morning, though there is a chance of new rain for Wednesday through Friday.

“We expect rain to be tapering off (Monday), although snow will linger in the mountains,” said Stefanie Henry, a National Weather Service forecaster in Sacramento.

Typically, from July 1 to Feb. 9, Sacramento should have received 12.48 inches of rain. So far, the city has received only 4.82 inches – or 38 percent of normal. So far this month, Sacramento has received 2.85 inches of rainfall.

Call The Bee’s Tillie Fong, (916) 321-1006.

Read more articles by Tillie Fong

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