The Mother Lode will see cooler temperatures and more rain next week, which could be the first signs of relief from this year’s fire season.
The National Weather Service predicts a 70 percent chance of rain in parts of Tuolumne and Calaveras counties next week, accompanied by highs in the upper 60s and lows in the 40s. Snow could fly at elevations above 5,000 feet.
National Weather Service meteorologist Johnnie Powell said storms should roll in Monday night and continue through Wednesday morning, with the majority of the rainfall occurring on Tuesday.
The Sonora area received about 0.15 inch of rain last week, but next week’s storm should bring a more significant amount of precipitation — possibly nearing one-half to one inch, Powell said.
The last time the area had rainfall close to that amount was on June 5, when a storm brought about 0.44 inches of rain. On April 25, the Mother Lode saw 0.68 inches of rain.
Powell said the storm is not expected to bring lightning to the Mother Lode, which is still at high-risk for fires.
Cal Fire Battalion Chief Barry Rudolph said fire season usually runs from mid-May to mid- to late-October, but has lasted as long as December some years.
While the fall season brings shorter nights and cooler weather, it also brings wind and little rain, according to Rudolph.
Rudolph said it is difficult to predict if next week’s rain could bring the fire season to a halt, but “every little bit helps.”
Rudolph said the majority of fires are human-caused and encourages people to be mindful of the dry conditions until fire season comes to a clear end.
“We’re looking forward to the rain,” he said. “It’s been a long dry spell.”