Weather

Sacramento expected to break streak of virtually rainless Januaries

A pedestrian crosses the street on Dec. 21, 2015, in Auburn.
A pedestrian crosses the street on Dec. 21, 2015, in Auburn. pkitagaki@sacbee.com

The New Year’s weekend across the Sacramento region may end with a sprinkling of showers in the Valley and a dusting of snow in the mountains Sunday evening.

Forecasters expect the heaviest rain to hit Monday and into Tuesday, dumping about half an inch. Given the dry conditions here over the last two new years, any amount is welcome, said Johnnie Powell, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service Office in Sacramento.

“Anything is better than the last two Januaries,” he said.

It rained for a total of one hour – only 0.01 inches – during the entire month last January. In that period the prior year, it rained just 0.2 inches, with showers over the last three days. In 2013, there was slightly more than 1 inch of rain.

January has traditionally been the wettest month of the year with a 30-year average just shy of 4 inches. But the area has not seen an above-average January since 2009, Powell said. That helps explain the state’s multiyear drought.

The winter so far has been another dry one, at least in Sacramento. The city has received just 53 percent of its average rainfall for this time of year, according to Department of Water Resources data. However, the Sierra snowfall has been more encouraging: 105 percent of average so far.

Experts say California is likely to get a very wet winter, courtesy of El Niño, although it’s unclear if the snowfall will be heavy enough to break the drought. The snowpack can account for 30 percent of California’s water supply in a normal year.

The following is a quick snapshot of the days ahead:

Sunday: Mostly cloudy, with a high near 56. Calm wind becoming north northwest around 5 mph.

Sunday night: A 30 percent chance of showers. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 40. North northwest wind 5 to 9 mph. New precipitation amounts of less than a tenth of an inch possible.

Monday: A 50 percent chance of showers. Cloudy, with a high near 55. North wind 6 to 10 mph becoming southeast in the morning. New precipitation amounts between a tenth and quarter of an inch possible.

Monday night: Showers, mainly after 10 p.m. Low around 46. South southeast wind around 16 mph, with gusts as high as 24 mph. Chance of precipitation is 80 percent.

Tuesday: Showers. High near 55. Chance of precipitation is 90 percent.

Tuesday night: A 50 percent chance of rain. Cloudy, with a low around 43.

Wednesday: Rain likely. Cloudy, with a high near 54.

Wednesday night: Rain likely. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 42.

Thursday: Showers likely. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 53.

Thursday night: A chance of showers. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 41.

Friday: A chance of showers. Partly sunny, with a high near 55.

Friday night: A slight chance of rain. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 41.

Saturday: A slight chance of rain. Partly sunny, with a high near 54.

Christopher Cadelago: 916-326-5538, @ccadelago. Bee staff writer Tony Bizjak contributed to this report.

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