March Miracle came month early

Farmers were beginning to talk “March Miracle” as January closed with several areas of the state recording the driest January on record.

It was shaping up as California’s version of a winter rain or snow. It was a familiar pattern that has been rectified in recent years by March Miracles when springtime Pacific storms filed reservoirs with water and mountains with snow for summer irrigation water.

This year’s March Miracle arrived in early February when a high pressure system sitting off California’s coast gave way to a series of Pacific storms that dumped two to three inches of rain in the valleys; five to eight inches in the foothills and up to three feet of snow above 6,000 feet.

Northern California had been dry for 33 consecutive days during the state’s winter rainy season. Sacramento recorded the driest January since records began in 1849, with only 0.07 inches of precipitation. The rest of California was under similar dry conditions.

On February 7 the dry spell ended. It rained through the weekend, however, the sun was shining for the opening of World Ag Expo in Tulare, Calif. Forecasters were not calling for rain during the show.

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