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Rainiest May ever? As Sacramento sets record, here’s what to expect this week

Kayaker takes to flooded streets after record rainfall in Stockton

Authorities reported flooding in parts of Sacramento and Stockton, California on May 19 after record rainfall. Some locals used kayaks and body boards to have some fun. The flooding forced the closure of some roads in Stockton, according to police.
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Authorities reported flooding in parts of Sacramento and Stockton, California on May 19 after record rainfall. Some locals used kayaks and body boards to have some fun. The flooding forced the closure of some roads in Stockton, according to police.

With 12 days left in the month and at least a little more rain in this week’s forecast, downtown Sacramento has already broken a 130-year-old record for May rainfall.

As of Sunday’s downpour, downtown has received 3.28 inches of rain this month, National Weather Service reports. The previous record of 3.25 inches was set in 1889.

Sunday also blew past daily rainfall records - totals of 0.84 inches downtown and 0.86 inches at Sacramento Executive Airport well surpassed totals of 0.46 and 0.54 inches, respectively, which had both been recorded in 1948.

Rain so far this month at Sacramento Executive Airport has totaled 3.08 inches, just 0.05 shy of a May record. The previous mark of 3.13 inches was also set in 1948.

The current month has already more than quadrupled the average total rainfall of 0.76 inches for downtown, according to NWS.

Dry Monday, wet Tuesday

Much of Northern California will see a break from the rain Monday, forecasts show.

Sacramento will be sunny with a high of 68, with showers possible just before midnight.

Farther north in the valley, NWS warns that afternoon thunderstorms are possible in parts of Shasta County, including Redding.

Showers will return Tuesday, with up to a quarter-inch of daytime rainfall in Sacramento’s forecast. There will also be a chance of afternoon thunderstorms, which could bring more rain as well as hail. Gusty winds could reach up to 21 mph, NWS says.

Sacramento is expected to warm up and dry off after Tuesday, with a high of 75 degrees currently in the forecasts for Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, and just a slight chance of afternoon showers possible Thursday.

Latest visible satellite loop for West Coast

What about the snow?

Yet another round of Sierra snow will return Tuesday, after snowstorms last week and over the weekend each dropped approximately 1 foot.

Accumulation of 4 to 8 more inches at the summit is expected Tuesday, with localized amounts up to a foot possible at higher peaks. Snow could fall as low as 5,000 feet, according to NWS forecasts.

NWS warns that reduced visibility and travel delays are likely, as well as chain controls on highways, as a winter weather advisory will be in place Tuesday through 8 p.m.

A forecast summary by the NWS Reno office says snow levels will return to between 7,000 to 8,000 feet later in the week, but advises that “wet and cool weather” will continue in the mountains through Memorial Day weekend.

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Michael McGough anchors The Sacramento Bee’s breaking news reporting team, covering public safety and other local stories. A Sacramento native and lifelong capital resident, he interned at The Bee while attending Sacramento State, where he earned a degree in journalism.

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