Liz Kellar

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December 28, 2010
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Record rain? Hardly

Don't break out the ark just yet.

It might seem like it's been raining more than normal - but western Nevada County is seeing much less than record rainfall this month.

According to the Western Regional Climate Center, 14.84 inches of rain were recorded through Sunday at the Grass Valley wastewater treatment plant. That's a far cry from the monthly total of 27.81 inches recorded in December 1996.

The records for Grass Valley date from 1966 to 2010.

"Is it a record? Not yet, but there's still more to come," said service climatologist Michelle Breckner.

Breckner noted the center's Grass Valley data shows 8.58 inches of rain in October - and that is a record for that station. The next highest total for October was 7.87 inches in 1975.

The records for Nevada City go back much farther, to 1893. According to the data compiled by the climate center, the rainiest month on record there was January 1911, at 35.98 inches.

The rainiest year on record for both Grass Valley and Nevada City? It was 1983 for Grass Valley, with nearly 95 inches. But Nevada City recorded a whopping 101.97 inches, in 1996. (The center measures rainfall totals by calendar year.)

In contrast, the average annual rainfall for both towns is about 54 inches for Nevada City and more than 53 inches for Grass Valley.

Despite the rushing waters seen a week ago, river levels now are near normal for this time of year, with the South Yuba River running at 1,154 cubic feet per second Monday afternoon. That's a marked contrast from Dec. 19, when the river was running at 6,750 cubic feet per second.

But another storm is taking aim at Northern California, warned the National Weather Service in Sacramento.

A cold front will sweep through the region tonight, bringing gusty winds and periods of moderate to heavy rain.

The rain will turn to showers Wednesday, as much colder air spills into the region. Snow levels are expected to drop to 2,500 feet.

Rainfall totals from this newest storm are expected to range from a half-inch to an inch in the valleys, with 1 to 2 inches possible in the eastern foothills.

To contact Staff Writer Liz Kellar, e-mail or call (530) 477-4229.

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The Union Updated Dec 28, 2010 12:39AM Published Dec 28, 2010 12:38AM Copyright 2010 The Union. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.