Light showers, overcast skies bring a little relief to Merced County

Merced residents saw a break from sunny skies and triple-digit temperatures the past two days, but according to weather officials, the hot weather will soon return.

Sunday and Monday’s overcast skies and light showers were brought on by a subtropical low pressure center coming from the Baja coast, said Jeff Barlow, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Hanford.

According to Barlow, it is not uncommon to see some showers in the middle of summer. “We hadn’t seen it in a long time, but it does happen,” he said. “Usually around this time we see some monsoonal moisture.” This monsoonal moisture was also responsible for the thunderstorms in the Sierra mountains and foothills in mid-July.

However, the light showers were only a trace, and not enough to be measured, Barlow explained.

As of Sunday, the observed rainfall for this year in Merced was 3.96 inches. The average for this time of year is about 8.69 inches. With a shortfall of 4.73 inches, this year is turning out to be one of the driest in the county’s recorded history. The county typically gets about 12.5 inches of rain annually.

Barlow explained that almost all counties in the Central Valley saw some light rain this weekend. “They were widespread sprinkles,” Barlow said. “Almost everyone in the Valley traced out yesterday.”

The last time Merced got a trace of rain was July 20, according to National Weather Service records.

Temperatures also cooled down Sunday, bringing some relief to residents, who were exposed to 100-plus degree temperatures most of last week. Sunday’s high was logged at 93 degrees and Monday’s at 89.

But the break is over, and while cloudy skies are expected to stick around for at least another day, temperatures will start hiking up once again. Today’s high is anticipated to reach 89 with winds traveling up to 20 mph. Wednesday will climb to 91 and Thursday to 96.

Temperatures are expected to stay in the high 90s throughout the weekend.