Hopes that March storms would boost the season’s rainfall to at least 50 percent of normal appeared unlikely to be fulfilled.
As of early Monday evening, the last storm of the month had delivered only 0.16 inches of rain to downtown Sacramento, bringing the total for the season to 8.36 inches, 46 percent of the average 18.02 inches, said Johnnie Powell, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service.
Although March may have seemed wet, the rainfall total for the month was 1.92 inches, only about two-thirds of the average 3.02 inches, Powell noted.
The prospects for early April showers “are not very impressive,” he said, noting that little precipitation is forecast for the next 10 days.
Showers are expected to continue through Tuesday, but no more than 0.2 inches of rain is likely to fall in the Sacramento area.
“That’s our best shot to hit a home run, our last chance to hit it over the fence,” Powell said. “After that, it’s pretty weak swings.”
The rain is expected to taper off Wednesday. Although a weak system may bring a slight chance of showers Thursday and Friday, Powell said a ridge is expected to block further storms.
A high of 59 degrees is forecast for Tuesday. As the rain moves out, temperatures will begin to climb. Highs around 63 degrees are forecast for Wednesday and 67 on Thursday.
By Saturday, Powell said, the Sacramento area will see highs around 75 degrees, and around 80 degrees Sunday.
“It looks like ridge city until April 10,” he said.
The good news this evening was low snow in the Sierra. The snow level was around 2,500 feet and it was snowing heavily on the crest of the Sierra, around Blue Canyon.
“We’re getting snow, which is most important of all,” Powell said, in terms of water supplies.
A winter storm warning is in effect until 11 a.m. Tuesday for the Sierra, including Blue Canyon and Donner, Echo and Carson passes. Motorists are warned that heavy snow could make travel difficult.
Three to 7 inches of snow was expected to fall overnight in the Blue Canyon area, and 1 to 3 inches of new snow is anticipated Tuesday.
An 80 percent chance of snow is forecast for the Truckee area Tuesday, and a slight chance of snow through Friday. Forecasts indicated new snow accumulations of 3 to 5 inches were possible overnight, while snow showers Tuesday are expected to result in new accumulation of less than half an inch.
Call The Bee’s Cathy Locke, (916) 321-5287.