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Monday's Drenching, Coming Storm Brighten Valley Water Outlook



Photo of a black umbrella in the rain
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Nearly an inch of rain fell Monday in Fresno and the Sierra received several feet of snow over two days, brightening the summer water outlook.
In addition, the National Weather Service forecast calls for up to a half-inch of Fresno rain over three days beginning Sunday.

Monday’s .97 of an inch brought Fresno’s March rain total to 1.17 inches and the season total to 4.71 inches. Despite the drenching, the season total trails the norm by about 4 inches.
Much of the San Joaquin Valley’s drinking and irrigation water is from the Sierra snowpack, and prospects are improving after a bone-dry February.
For example, Blue Canyon in northern California reported 41 inches of snow on the ground Sunday. And, a time-lapse camera estimated snowfall rates at 3 to 4 inches per hour Sunday night between Truckee and Lake Tahoe. In the central Sierra, snow fell at sites as low as 2,500 feet in elevation.
Snow depth comparison chart for Sierra Nevada, March 13, 2020 vs. March 16, 20206