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Stories from the valley

Promising Signs for a Rainy March

Contributed by Jim Morris

From a rain and snow perspective, this fall and winter have been helpful, although not up to the headline-grabbing predictions of a ‘Godzilla El Niño.’ February was drier than anyone had hoped, but there’s still time for finishing winter on a wetter note.

So what will March hold? That’s the question on many minds in the face of this severe drought.

Image courtesy of NOAA
Image courtesy of NOAA

Tom Cushman of Western Weather Group, a weather forecasting & instrumentation company based in Chico, is one of those with more of an optimistic view of the coming weeks.

“The shorter term models that go out about 10 days are both increasing the frequency of storm systems coming our way,” he said. “It appears that high pressure is finally beginning to weaken along the West Coast.”

Looking more long term, Cushman said he’s “cautiously optimistic that we are going to transition to wetter weather” for March.

Cushman has been a weather forecaster since the late 1970s.

March is an important month for precipitation, accounting for about 15 percent of average annual precipitation according to the State Department of Water Resources.  We have had excellent rainfall in the month of March in the past, including in 1991, 1995, 2011 and 2012 which were at least double normal levels.