Rain, wind will return to Sacramento area Wednesday, Thursday, weather service says

After eight days of dry weather, Tuesday closed out the fourth wettest January on record. But don’t put away the umbrellas just yet.

Late Wednesday night into Thursday should see the return of conditions like those that helped alleviate the drought last month – and which during a storm on Jan. 18, knocked out power to around 160,000 utility customers in the Sacramento region.

An approaching low-pressure system will bring rain to Northern California, with most precipitation falling Thursday and Friday in Sacramento. Look for an inch or two of rain in the valley and a foot or two of snow in the Sierra Nevada above 6,000 feet, the National Weather Service said.

On Tuesday afternoon, the Weather Service issued a wind advisory for Thursday, from 4 a.m. to 10 p.m. The forecast calls for sustained winds of 25 mph and gusts up to 45 mph, with downed trees and power outages likely.

Except for the last eight days of January, the forecast is a return to the wet and windy conditions that predominated last month. In January, the rain came early and often, including days with readings of 1.10, 1.96 and 2.16 inches of precipitation in Sacramento.

What made the month one for the record books was that there were very few dry days between storms. A total of 9.85 inches fell in January. Normal for the month is 3.97 inches.

However, the rainy conditions did not last through the entire month. Starting Jan. 24, the clouds disappeared and the area enjoyed a drying out period, a time for creeks to recede and for flows to decrease on the American River through Nimbus Dam.

It also gave crews a chance to reinstall the gates on the Sacramento Weir, which helps prevent flooding in the city of Sacramento by diverting water into the huge floodplain of the Yolo Bypass. It was the first time in a decade that the gates had been opened.

Bill Lindelof: 916-321-1079, @Lindelofnews

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