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Storms to bring more rain
Much welcomed precipitation still falls short of yearly average
Downed tree
Rain and wind contributed to this older ash tree to fall on Ninth Street south of Magnolia at approximately 12:16 p.m. on Wednesday. A limb crunched the back of the silver VW parked in front of the house. - photo by Contributed by Don Cool

Whether expressed by jumping in puddles or dancing in the rain, Ceres has welcomed some much needed precipitation last week and is looking this week and weekend for more.

Winds and rain helped create havoc on Ninth Street south of Magnolia where an older tree fell into the road, damaging two vehicles during the lunch hour on Wednesday, Dec. 3.

According to Turlock Irrigation District, the accumulated precipitation in the Tuolumne River Watershed from Sept. 1 to Dec. 4 was currently at 5.94 inches, which is 78 percent of the average amount of precipitation expected for that time frame.

Although this amount of rain is an increase from last year's precipitation, TID utility analyst Jason Carkeet reports that the region is going to need a lot more rain to alleviate the state's seemingly unending drought. More rain is expected to come today with a major storm. A persistent flow of storms is expected to continue into the weekend. AccuWeather Global Weather Center reports a long train of storms that may potentially being six to 12 inches of rain to the region in the middle of the month.

According to Carkeet, what TID considers an "average" year does not depend on the amount of precipitation the city receives, rather the deciding factor lies in the amount of accumulated runoff, or precipitation that is either not evaporated or absorbed into the ground.

"What we consider an average year, we put in terms of runoff," reported Carkeet. "The average rainfall we get in the watershed is about 36 inches precipitation, which would give us 1,955,000 acre-feet of runoff from the entire Tuolumne river basin."

Although the region would need 36 inches of rain to get the average amount of runoff, Carkeet revealed that this is not the case following a dry year such as the one the city has been experiencing.

"After a dry year, you're going to need more," said Carkeet. "Following a dry year, some of the water that would otherwise result in immediate runoff goes to recharging the ground and hydrating vegetation."

To achieve the average year's amount of runoff of 1,955,000 acre-feet, the region would need to experience anywhere between 35 to 40 inches of precipitation, which is nearly equivalent to the average amount of rainfall experienced in the watershed throughout the year.

"In order to get the same 1,955,000 acre-feet, we need a whole other year's amount of precipitation, in addition to what we already have to get the average amount of runoff," reported Carkeet.