Austen Thibault, The Union Democrat

The 2013-14 weather year ended Monday and, as expected, the figures show it was a dry one.

Sonora's rainfall total for the weather year, which runs from July 1 to June 30, was the fourth lowest since daily weather records started being kept in 1906.

This year, Sonora got 16.99 inches. The average is 32.01 inches, according to Union Democrat records.

It is the lowest the annual rainfall has been since 1977, when 15.73 inches of precipitation fell. That was following a year that was even a half-inch lower than that.

That means this year's rainfall in Sonora was lower than every year of California's 1987-1992 drought. Rainfall only dipped as low as 18 inches at that time in Sonora.

The current drought is also not a single-year event. Last year's precipitation total was around 21 inches, and the year before hit 20 inches.

The state's snowpack was also about 18 percent of the average at the last survey in April, with the Central Sierra snowpack a little better at around 24 percent of average, according to the state Department of Water Resources.

At Calaveras Big Trees and Groveland, rainfall totals are about 43 percent of normal, according to the National Weather Service.

The low precipitation has prompted water restrictions and an early and severe fire season.

For the full story, see the July 1, 2014, edition of The Union Democrat.

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