'Rapid change' in weather means rain finally coming
Folks living in the northern Redding area could see snow.
The rest of the valley is simply going to get wet over the next few days, with a similar storm likely to track in next week as well, the National Weather Service reported.
"We have a very rapid change coming in our weather pattern," said Drew Peterson, a meterologist for the Weather Service in Sacramento.
Storm clouds started to gather over the valley Tuesday, with a forecast of a third- to a half-inch of rain falling daily today, Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
"So (the valley) could see as much as 2 inches of rain (this week)," Peterson said.
The more northern areas of the valley will likely see the most rain, Peterson said, but the pattern should be consistent throughout the region.
"This is a very wide-spread event, more typical of what we see in winter," Peterson said.
Still, the valley — most of which is about 25 percent of normal for rainfall — will need a series of these kinds of storms to catch up.
Peterson said that is exactly what happened last year.
"If you remember, last year, January was very dry and the end-of-year (rainfall) was 120 to 125 percent of normal," Peterson said.
Agriculture officials throughout the valley are not only not concerned with the coming storms, but are welcoming winter's first rainfall with open arms.
"We have been waiting and waitiing and waiting," Colusa County Agriculture Commissioner Joe Domiano said. "We are hoping it will be twice as bad as they say it will be."
Domiano said while the dry weather has allowed some farmers the chance to do some prep work in their fields, the rain is mor criticial.
Other farmers have planted cover crops they planned to disc into the soil come spring, but the lack of water has been a problem.
Winter wheat crops also stand thirsty, Domiano said.
Domiano said the prospect of a wet spring like last year, which pushed the rice season back and created some issues for growers, will be dealt with when it comes.
"The season will be skewed a little bit, but overall, (last) season turned out OK," Domiano said.
"We obviously need the rain and the snow for the water supply, We don't want to be dealing with a drought, but that is a long way off."
Department of Water Resources officials said because the winter has been do dry, the reservoirs will be able to take the storm without any concerns.
Shasta, for example, is at 67 percent of its capacity and about 400,000 acre fee lower than it was at the same time last year, the state agency reported. It is slighly higher than average years.
The Sacramento River flow at Colusa is about 4,900 cubic feet per second, but will increase with the storm.