Most Viewed Stories
Rain continues 'drought disaster' averted
This week's rains will save local farmers from a "drought disaster," a water official said.
Storms dropped 11⁄2 inches of rain on Yuba-Sutter in the last two days, according to the National Weather Service in Sacramento.
"That's a real welcome sign," said Curt Aikens, general manager of the Yuba County Water Agency. "It makes a difference between a drought disaster and a manageable situation."
This winter has been drier than usual. About 8 inches of rain dropped over the last six months, about half of normal.
This week's storms are good, said Kulwant Johl, a peach and prune farmer with orchards along Highway 70 north of Marysville. But, he said, it's not a game changer.
"It's a drop in the bucket," said Johl, who sits on the Yuba-Sutter Farm Bureau's board of directors. "You still need more."
Even with this week's wet weather, this winter's rainfall is about 46 percent of normal. October and November came in below average, while the following month, which saw .14-inch of rain on one day, was the second driest December in history.
"This has been a real mild winter," said Al Sawyer, Sutter County's assistant public works director.
But if this week's storms are adding a drop in a bucket, it's a bucket that ran over from last year's record rain and snow. Reservoirs in Oroville, Bullards Bar and Shasta are all hovering at 70 percent of their capacity.
"Farmers in this area should be OK," Johl said. "I don't think we will have a water problem in this area because we had lots of rain last year."
Johl's orchards and the rest of Yuba-Sutter will continue to get showered this week and next, said Stefanie Henry, meteorologist with the weather service.
Henry said she expects storms to drop up to a full inch of rain today. Another storm will follow up with another one-half to 1-inch on Friday.
"We're getting another burst of rain," Henry said. "We won't get much of a break for the next several days."
Ongoing storms could fell tree limbs and cause flooding, Sawyer said, something his crews haven't seen this week. However, the dry ground, which has soaked up the rain that's fallen so far, is getting saturated and loosening up.
"That's when you may have some trees blow down," Sawyer said.