Drought-stricken inland California sees much-needed rainfall

Rains and much-needed thunderstorms are hitting central and northern parts of California, bringing relief to places that typically see little rainfall in September. A higher-level low-pressure system, a more likely occurrence in the winter, is shaking off the coast of Northern California. It follows unprecedented heat across much of California in early September, when a prolonged heat wave shattered thousands of records across the West.

The summer months are generally dry throughout California, and the first half of September was no different, with most of California, including the cities of Sacramento, seeing a maximum temperature of 116 degrees on September 6, and the nearby Davis, they went to dry and bake. The notable exception to the drought conditions was heavy tropical rain from the remnants of Hurricane Kay in the far southern parts of the state. In recent days, the unusual September rain has fallen from Santa Barbara to the California-Oregon border.

The driest, the wettest, the hottest: Sacramento’s worrying triplet of extremes

At Davis University Airport, 1.7 inches of rain has been recorded in the past 24 hours. While this type of rain may not be unusual in many places in the United States, it is highly out of the ordinary in the Davis area, which on average sees less than a tenth of an inch of rain in September.

“There have been some small floods, road floods and the like during the most intense thunderstorms, and there have been reports of ash and minor debris flows and burn scar areas,” Chris Hintz, National Weather Service meteorologist, told the Washington Post. of Sacramento.

On the University of California at Davis subreddit, students shared photos of the downpour and subsequent flood, with students swimming in a flooded underpass. The photos also showed small floods in the school’s student union building.

A photo shared by the city’s Twitter account showed slight flooding in a local subway, with the city asking drivers to take alternative routes in and out of the city.

In Sacramento, just over an inch of rain has fallen in the past three days, well above the September average of just 0.09 inches of rain. From June to September, the city averages just 0.36 inches of rain per year, meaning the city has seen nearly three times the annual summer rainfall in just three days.

The big rain winner was just north of Davis in Woodland, where 4.11 inches of rain has been measured in the past 48 hours, according to the National Weather Service. Significant rains have also fallen in central California. In San Luis Obispo, a daily record of 0.32 inches of rain was set on Sunday.

The Santa Barbara County Mountains have collected most of the rainfall in the greater Los Angeles area, with 4.07 inches of rainfall recorded in Rancho San Julian. The city of Santa Maria also broke its daily rainfall record on Monday, recording 1.77 inches in 24 hours. The previous record was only 0.16 inches, dating back to 1959.

The weather pattern that resulted in scattered showers and thunderstorms in the area is expected to last for another day or two, with the large, near-stationary low-pressure system off the coast expected to begin moving inland on Wednesday, Hintz said.

Flash flood clocks have been hoisted for the burn scar from the Mosquito Fire – the largest fire of the year in California – which as of Tuesday morning is only 39 percent contained, having burned 76,000 acres northeast of Sacramento .

Volcano-like plumes spread over the intense Northern California fire

When heavy rain falls on burn scars, it can sometimes trigger ash and debris flows, especially on steeper terrain, which can create dangerous fires. Rainy weather also brings some benefits to firefighters, with colder temperatures and high humidity, both of which are useful for fighting the fire.

“Firefighting has slowed down, but the firefighters have not,” the US Forest Service wrote in its Tuesday morning update. “As rain presents a different set of challenges to the fire suppression effort, teams continue to work, taking advantage of the pause in firefighting to protect the perimeter of the fire and increase containment before the return of hot, dry weather. “.

Unfortunately, rainfall in the region will not be enough to significantly dent the severe to extreme drought conditions that persist across the state.

“This small part won’t make much difference to the big drought picture, but the fact that we’re starting to see significant storms like this is favorable,” Hintz said.

After the low-pressure system sweeps through the region, medium to long-range forecasts for Northern California show a return to hot, dry conditions, with the latest US model (GFS) runs showing the potential for several days with highs in the 1990s, or even surpassing 100 degrees, in California’s Central Valley by the end of next week.

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