Current drought conditions contributing to historically dry year

Turlock Journal

The local region’s current water year is shaping up to be one of the driest on record according to Turlock Irrigation District, with below-average rainfall amplifying California’s existing state of drought.

Data provided by TID Hydrologist Olivia Cramer during Tuesday’s Board of Directors meeting showed that from September 2020 through Jan. 10, 2021, the Tuolumne River Watershed has so far received 5.55 inches of precipitation. Compared to TID’s historical average of 19.02 inches for those same dates, the recent 2020-2021 rainfall numbers account for just 37.9% of normal.

According to Cramer, weather forecasts for the next 16 days are bleak and represent less precipitation than predicted by even the driest scenarios. The rivershed could see as little as a quarter of an inch or less than one-tenth of an inch of rain in the next two weeks based on the forecast.

“Even in our dry scenario, we are expecting at least two more inches from now until the end of January, but based on the 16-day forecast we’re looking at conditions that are even drier than our normally-used dry scenarios,” Cramer said.

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