Rainfall Below Average, Two Months Into Season

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With two months of the 2013-2014 water year in the books, rainfall is failing to keep up with historical averages.

That could mean bad news for Turlock Irrigation District growers, should the trend continue.

Thus far, 1.18 inches of precipitation have fallen in the TID watershed. That's 37.3 percent of normal for this date, below the 3.16 inches of rainfall expected at this time.

Making matters seem worse, no precipitation has fallen in the past two weeks.

Though rainfall is behind schedule, it's a bit early to worry. Traditionally, the district sees most precipitation fall between December and March – months that can average as much as 6.53 inches of rainfall, each.

But following back-to-back dry years, rainfall is more important this year than most. The district's Don Pedro Reservoir, which holds the vast majority of TID's irrigation water, is at its second lowest point since 1993. If no rain falls, growers could see irrigation water allotments lower than 24 inches.

And good news – in the form of clouds – is on the horizon. TID forecasts suggest that the watershed will receive two-to-eight inches of rain in the next two weeks.

“I think the good news is, it's starting to form up and we're going to have a relatively good rain storm,” said TID ‎Strategic Issues and Planning Department Manager Wes Monier.

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