California’s rainy season will trickle to a close this year, with one last spritz expected this week that forecasters said will do little to help the state’s struggling ski resorts or abysmal snowpack.
A weather system coming off the coast could dampen the Sacramento region with scattered showers into Monday evening, according to the National Weather Service. Thunderstorms may dump more rain in eastern areas of the valley, the weather service said, but there’s no telling how much water those hard-to-predict storms might contribute.
Rain dodged Sacramento as of 8 p.m. Sunday, but hit to the north and south. Red Bluff saw a half-inch of precipitation. Thunderstorms also hit Sonora and Calaveras County.
“It’s all around us, just not on us,” said meteorologist Johnnie Powell of the National Weather Service. “There are scattered showers throughout Northern California, mainly in the foothills. We have only a slight chance of a sprinkle in the next day or so.”
Rain in the valley means snow in the mountains. But, forecasters said, it won’t be enough to matter.
The same storm system was expected to dust the Sierra with snow above 6,000 feet elevation sometime after midnight Sunday. Experts said the Sierras could see snowfall last through Tuesday at higher elevations, but once the precipitation stops, warm weather and sunny skies will melt most of it away.
“The few inches they’re going to get won’t really help,” meteorologist Holly Osborne said. “As we warm up again midweek, it’s all going to be gone.”
That’s bad news for Lake Tahoe-area ski resorts struggling to stay open through their usual mid-April end of season.
Seven of those resorts have shut early this season due to lack of snow, the latest being Sugar Bowl Resort, which turned off its chairlifts Sunday.
Earlier this month, a survey by the Department of Water Resources found that in the mountains east of Sacramento, there was 0.9 inches of water content in the snow – about 5 percent of the historical average for that site. Readings in the northern Sierra indicate levels were about 16 percent of average, while the central and southern Sierras were at about 20 and 22 percent, respectively.
Since the state began keeping snowpack records, only in 1991 was the water content lower than it is now, a statement from the department said.
Though the incoming precipitation will do little to bring the state’s water stores back to normal, it will push temperatures down to where they should be this time of year – at least for a couple days.
Recent unseasonably high temperatures will drop into the mid- to upper 60s on Monday, which, Osborne said, is right where they should be.
But once the rain clears, the mercury will rise again.
The Sacramento area may be struck with highs around 80 by the end of the week.