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Needed rain: Precipitation lower than average this water year

Rain drops gather Tuesday morning on blades of grass in downtown Grass Valley, where a quarter-inch of rain was recorded following a 24-hour period.
Photo: Elias Funez

Just over a quarter-inch of rain fell in Grass Valley Sunday and Monday, before a rainbow spanned from Nevada City to Colfax.

Meteorologist Scott Rowe said the National Weather Service’s station at the Nevada County Airport reported 0.32 inches of rain fell over the two days.

Sugarbowl and Kirkwood ski resorts, located west of the Sierra Crest, reported 4 to 9 inches of fresh snow fell before Tuesday morning, according to Reno-based meteorologist Shane Snyder.

Snyder said 0.1 to 0.4 inches of rain and snow fell lakeside in eastern Nevada County.

The new water year total — a measurement that begins Oct. 1 — after the two-day weather event is 37.51 inches in Grass Valley, Rowe reported.

“Normal value for this time of year is 44.56 inches,“ Rowe said, adding, ”that’s roughly 7 inches below where we should be for this time of the water year.“

Rowe said this week is expected to be dry and clear, with temperatures getting up to what they “should be” this time of year, or exceeding them.

A stunning rainbow was visible Monday evening from many parts of western Nevada County following a passing rain cell.
Photo: Elias Funez

“There’s no precip expected over the next seven days,” Rowe said, adding that there may be a storm system that clips northern California early next week, but “the models have not converged to a single outcome yet.”

Less than an inch of rain has fallen over the two different weather events since the Nevada Irrigation District collected data for its Water Supply Update on March 16.

The bulk of the storms that came within California’s boundaries “really focused on one part,” NID Operations Manager Chip Close said. Although Shasta County appeared to be the focal point of the state’s more casual storms, Close noted that Nevada County is in a far better position water-wise than the rest of the state.

Close said the special district’s reservoirs indicate that they are at 76% of their capacity overall, and 95% of capacity over an eight-year average.

“Snow at lower elevations is just beginning to turn,” Close said, “but this is earlier than normal.“

The district’s lower elevation reservoirs read full, or almost full, Close said, while Bowman Reservoir and Jackson Meadows in the Middle Yuba River Watershed do not.

NID’s treated water usage was high because February and March were dry, Close said, but the district is still on track to stay in Stage 1, which indicates a 10% supply shortage, of its drought response plan.

Nevada Irrigation District begins feeding its irrigation lines April 15.

Rebecca O’Neil is a staff writer with The Union. She can be reached at roneil@theunion.com

Five-day forecast — high/low

Grass Valley

Today: 60 / 41

Thursday: 66 / 43

Friday: 70 /46

Saturday: 71/46

Sunday: 65


Today: 53/26

Thursday: 54/27

Friday: 60/30

Saturday: 60/31

Sunday: 54

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