Tracy dodged the heaviest of this week’s assault of frigid, gusty rains up and down the state, and next week’s weather should be milder.
Late Sunday into Tuesday should bring another 1 to 2 inches of rain to low-lying urban areas, said Brian Tentinger, meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Monterey.
It won’t be as cold or as windy as this week, he said.
Almost 2 inches fell in Tracy since Jan. 16, based on the Tracy Press rain gauge downtown. So far this season, it’s rained about 6 inches, about an inch more than the seasonal average to date. The yearly average is about 11 inches of rain by the end of June.
El Niño is a warm pressure system in the Pacific Ocean that makes for a wet California.
One El Niño storm after another sent in the rain and will keep sending it.
“The thing that’s rare is that there were three systems one after the other lined up,” Tentinger said. “Each of them had a good amount of rain and strong winds. It’s a unique setup.”
Just as the storm did little damage to Tracy, it was too minimal to do much good for the state’s three-year drought, Lynnette Wirth, deputy public affairs officer for the Bureau of Reclamation’s Central Valley Project, said.
But she said she’s thankful for anything the valley can get.
“Any amount of precipitation we get is going to improve our water storage, so we’re looking at every drop,” she said.
The city buys about 62 percent of its water each year from the South San Joaquin Irrigation District. That 10,000 acre-feet of water is about enough for 20,000 families in one year.
The district gets its water from the bureau’s New Melones Dam and Reservoir on the Stanislaus River, in the Sierra Nevada mountains.
After this month’s rain and snow storms so far, that reservoir is at 72 percent of its average capacity — up 1 percent from before the storm.
Jeff Shields, the water district’s general manager, said the rain and snow are a blessing for summer.
More rains could mean more water in the region’s reservoirs come summer, when snowmelt will be the only water feeding into the supply.
“The system could still take one heck of a lot of water and we’d have no flood threat,” he said. “It’s just a good thing, because it should make this summer a lot easier for the valley and for the Delta.”
Last week’s rain didn’t shut down any commuter highways to and from Tracy, but nearly 2,000 homes lost power Wednesday. By Thursday, only two houses were still dark, a spokesperson for Pacific Gas and Electric Co. said. More than a million customers across the state lost service during the week’s storm.
Contact Tracy Press reporter Cassie Tomlin at 830-4225 or firstname.lastname@example.org.