Rain boosts season total above 5 inches

January 21, 2010 

The series of storms drenching the Central Valley this week have brought seasonal rainfall totals in Los Baños to just more than 5 inches. The water year runs from July 1 through June 30.

Measurements taken at the Central California Irrigation District's rainfall station in the city through Wednesday show 1.52 inches of rain has fallen here since last Saturday.

The National Weather Service office in Hanford is predeicting a 50 percent chance of showers today with mostly sunny skies Saturday and in the daytime on Sunday. Another spate of rain is forecast for Sunday night through Tuesday.

Los Baños had received 3.33 inches of rain from July 1, 2009 through December 31. Much of last year's precipitation, 1.23 inches, fell during a storm on Oct. 12-14.

Seasonal rainfall average locally is about 7 inches.

Los Baños Public Works Director Mark Fachin said activity has been minimal for his department this week. He said there were three trees that toppled over, two in city streets and one on the Rail Trail. He said there has been no excessive flooding in the city.

"It's been quieter than we thought," Fachin said.

Merced County Agricultural Commissioner David Robinson said he hadn't heard of many almond trees going down.

"When winds get up to 30 to 40 miles per hour, you're going to lose a few trees," he said. "The good news is that they are dormant; they don't have a huge load of leaves and nuts."

Dormant trees can stand a higher wind speed, he said. "The ground has been pretty dry, so it's pretty stable, but if it gets more wet, it can pull up root systems."

On Wednesday wind speeds reached 60 mph at the Merced Municipal Airport, according to meteorologist Brian Ochs, and the National Weather Service issued an urban and small stream flood warning for Merced County.

The increased rainfall, however, is a blessing for area farmers, Robinson said.

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