Hector Amezcua / hamezcua@sacbee.com

Subramaniam Masanan and his wife, Prabavathy Palaniappan, of Tamil Nadu, India, walk with their daughter Mythili Subramaniam as they visit McLaughlin’s Daffodil Hill in Volcano in the hills of Amador County on Wednesday, a day before the first day of spring.

Storms coming to Sacramento area, but no ‘March miracle’ for drought

Published: Sunday, Mar. 23, 2014 - 11:13 pm
Last Modified: Thursday, May. 22, 2014 - 8:59 am

Rain and snow will return to Northern California this week, but there will be no drenching “March miracle” this year.

“It’s a fairly decent system trailing subtropical moisture, but it won’t end the drought,” said Chris Hintz, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Sacramento.

“Most of the rain will be on Tuesday and Wednesday, with higher amounts of rainfall and snow on Wednesday.”

But the start of the work week will be dry, with above normal temperatures expected for today. The forecast calls for a high near 78 degrees, but it is unlikely to break the record daytime temperature of 83 degrees set in 1997. The low of 51 is only slightly above the normal of 47 degrees for this time of year.

The front will move into the Sacramento area Tuesday afternoon, making for a wet evening commute, and intensify Wednesday with possible thunderstorms.

“It will be cold enough that the thunderstorms may have hail (on Wednesday),” said Hintz.

Snow will start falling in the Sierra on Tuesday afternoon, starting at 6,500 feet and above. By Wednesday morning, the white stuff will start dropping down to 4,500 feet along the Interstate 80 corridor.

The storm won’t bring that much moisture – Sacramento can expect to get up to three-quarters of an inch of precipitation by the time the system moves out of the area, and the mountains will likely get 1 to 2 feet above 6,000 feet elevation.

However, this system will bring cooler temperatures, with the high Tuesday in Sacramento of 67 degrees, just one degree shy of the normal 68 degrees for this month.

It will be even cooler on Wednesday, with the daytime temperature to only reach 65 degrees. Lows both nights will still be slightly warmer than normal – 52 degrees on Tuesday and 51 on Wednesday.

The front will move out of the Sacramento area on Thursday, with only a 20 percent chance of rain for the Valley. The daytime high will be around 68 degrees, with a low of 50 degrees.

“The best potential for showers to continue Thursday will be in the mountains and the Sierra foothills,” said Hintz. “Shasta County may have showers on Friday and Saturday, but down here (in Sacramento), we look dry.”

Friday will be partly sunny, with a high near 70 degrees, and the low hovering around 51 degrees.

So far this month, Sacramento has only received eight-tenths of an inch of precipitation, far below the normal 3.02 inches for March.

Since July 1, the start of the water year, the region has only received 7.24 inches of rain, 41 percent below the normal 17.36 inches the area should have posted by this time.

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

Read more articles by Tillie Fong

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