Modesto can expect a rainy Christmas and more snow in the watershed


Sunshine could briefly return to the Modesto area on Christmas Eve, making it easier to get around before the holidays.

The national weather service expected the rain to stop around 10 a.m. on Friday, with the area “gradually becoming sunny” in the afternoon.

Rain will return on Saturday, with up to a half inch in the Modesto area. Sunday appeared to be partly cloudy before the showers returned around 5 p.m.

Winds could blow at 20 to 25 miles per hour in the northern San Joaquin Valley and the foothills of the Sierra Nevada. Gusts of up to 60 mph are possible above.

The weather service forecasts 1 to 2 inches of rain in Modesto between Christmas Eve and December 30. Sonora might get 3 to 4 inches.

These storms will add even more snow to the Sierra White Christmas. Up to 60 inches could fall on the closed top of Route 108 in Tuolumne County.

The weather service forecasts a risk of showers in Modesto from Monday to Thursday, December 30. Temperatures will drop Tuesday and Wednesday, possibly bringing snow to the foothills.

The snowpack in the central Sierra was 123% of the average for the date of Friday, the California Department of Water Resources reported. It was 102% Thursday and 91% the day before.

Friday’s snow reading was 38% of the historical average for the storm season, which is measured through April 1. The state still needs a lot of snow to recover from the last two years of drought.

Friday’s rain totaled 0.14 inches by 10 a.m. at the Modesto Irrigation District downtown office. The season total stands at 7.34 inches. An average full year is 12.14 inches.

John Holland covers news about agriculture, transportation and general assignments. He has worked for The Modesto Bee since 2000 and previously worked for newspapers in Sonora and Visalia. He was born and raised in San Francisco and graduated in journalism from UC Berkeley.

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