Little rain: This year has 3rd-lowest amount of rain recorded since 1967 |

Little rain: This year has 3rd-lowest amount of rain recorded since 1967

A California newt, or orange bellied newt, walks between puddles of water along Kennebec Creek in the South Yuba River State Park near Edwards Crossing on Wednesday. The perennial stream is currently flowing with spring runoff, but below average rainfall this year may cut the newt’s time short in this creek and other areas.
Photo: Elias Funez

Grass Valley has recorded 24.34 inches of rain during the current water year — about 20 inches under the average, according to the National Weather Service.

The water year begins Oct. 1.

According to National Weather Service meteorologist Hannah Chandler-Cooley, the area’s typical rainfall from Oct. 1 through April 7, based on a 30-year average, is 45.89 inches.

“This is definitely pretty low for up to this date,” she said of the rainfall.

Chandler-Cooley added that, since 1967, this is the third-lowest amount of rainfall recorded by the Grass Valley station for an Oct. 1 to April 7 range.

“Historically, we do still get some rain through May, so we’re not saying that rain is done for the year,” said Chandler-Cooley, adding that the upcoming week, however, is expected to remain dry.

The Kennebec Creek flows through the South Yuba River State Park near the South Yuba Trail.
Photo: Elias Funez

According to the National Weather Service, sunny days and clear or mostly clear nights are forecast for Grass Valley through Wednesday. Throughout the week, expected highs are between 65 and 73, and lows between 39 and 47.

According to Cal Fire public information officer Mary Eldridge, while the potential for rain still remains for at least another month, “now is the time for residents to do their defensible space work.”

Defensible space is a buffer — created by removing dead plants, grass, and weeds — which should surround a home in order to help prevent fire from reaching it, according to Cal Fire’s “Ready, Set, Go!” program.

California newts gather in the pools of Kennebec Creek in the South Yuba River State Park. The Sierra Nevada is at 40 to 60% of average rainfall for this time of year.
Photo: Elias Funez

“That’s about people getting ready, getting set, and then going, in the case of an evacuation in a fire,” said Eldridge of the program.

“Right now, we’re in that ‘ready’ section,” she said. “And, to get ready, part of that is the defensible space around your home, and then hardening your home — which means doing things so that you can reduce the threat of embers catching your home on fire.”

Victoria Penate is a staff writer for The Union. She can be reached at


Cal Fire’s “Ready, Set, Go!” program:


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