Overdue storm could drop half an inch of rain in Sacramento

A warm storm is expected today to deliver the first rainfall in Sacramento since September.

The storm is expected to tap into subtropical moisture before it hits Northern California. The National Weather Service is expecting that most of the rain will fall today and Wednesday.

Before it is over, perhaps three-quarters of an inch will fall in the Valley. Due to the warm nature of the storm, more than an inch of rain is possible in the mountains with a few slushy inches of snow at the higher elevations, according to the NWS.

“For Sacramento, the ballpark estimate is for a quarter to a half-inch of rain,” said NWS forecaster Karl Swanberg.

The weather system consists of a west-to-east moisture plume heading toward California. The plume is splitting, with some of the moisture heading toward Southern California, though more will head north.

“The system will come through and there will be a series of waves with it,” said Swanberg. “We might get some some significant rain. We are overdue.”

Sacramento has not had rain for nearly two months. So far this rainfall year, Sacramento has received a scant .55 of an inch, with .13 falling Sept. 2 and .42 falling Sept. 21.

Sacramento’s rainfall total so far of .55 of an inch is less than 30 percent of normal for the season as of mid-November.

Sacramento city officials remind residents to keep green waste out of the gutter so that today’s rain can run unimpeded into storm drains.

“The Claw,” that motorized machine that now appears every fall to scoop up leafy color, already has completed one pass through the city this season, city officials said. That’s a good head start on autumn’s leaf drop before the first substantial rain.

City officials say that residents should first fill their green waste containers. Then, if a resident has more leaves, place the green waste in piles along the street but not in the gutter.

“To the degree that you can, keep the gutters clear,” said Erin Treadwell, spokeswoman for the city’s recycling and solid waste division. “Let the water flow.”

“The Claw” is coming by each home to pick up leaves about every 10 days, operating six days a week from bases in the southern and northern part of the city.

“The Claw” crews will be out in the rain scooping up the leaf piles and dumping them into back-loading trucks this week. The rain, which is expected to be heaviest today, will hasten leaf drop and the soggy green waste will weigh down trucks.

“We like to pick up dry leaves because they are lighter and we can pick up more in a truck,” said Treadwell. “However, they fly away and are harder to control. The rain makes them easier to contain but it also makes loads heavier. Because the leaf piles are heavier, our trucks need to unload more frequently because they can only carry a certain weight.”

The detailed forecast for the Sacramento region from the NWS:

Today: Rain likely. Highs around 59. Southeast winds around 10 mph.

Tonight: Rain likely. Lows around 49. Southeast winds around 10 mph.

Wednesday: Rain showers likely. Highs around 62. South winds around 10 mph.

Wednesday night: Mostly cloudy with a chance of rain showers. Lows 44 to 50.

Thursday: Mostly cloudy with a slight chance of rain showers. Highs around 65.

Thursday night: Through Saturday: Clear. Lows 38 to 48. Highs around 66.