The Sonora area could receive 2 to 3 more inches of rain between Tuesday and Thursday this week, as multiple storms are lined up to continue bringing the Mother Lode a wet start to winter.
A weak, warm system is expected Tuesday with high snow levels, followed by a wetter, colder system arriving Wednesday night, followed Thursday by heavy rains, mountain snow and lowering snow levels. A third system, probably cooler, is possible Saturday and Sunday, Eric Kurth, a National Weather Service meteorologist in Sacramento, said Monday.
“It looks like a pretty wet stretch,” Kurth said in a phone interview.
Ebbetts Pass on Highway 4, Sonora Pass on Highway 108, and Tioga Pass on Highway 120 remained closed as of Monday afternoon.
Rain totals for last week’s storms include 5.41 inches measured at Avery, 3.59 inches at Pinecrest, 4.71 inches at Gianelli east of Pinecrest at 8,400 feet elevation, 4.31 inches at Spring Gap Forebay between Pinecrest and Lyons Reservoir, 2.2 inches at Telegraph Hills east of Columbia and north of Sonora, 3.32 inches at New Melones Dam on the Stanislaus River, and 3.3 inches at Hetch Hetchy Reservoir on the Tuolumne River.
The current water year started with a storm in early October that brought .8 inches to the major watersheds of Calaveras and Tuolumne counties, followed by seven straight weeks with no rain until last week’s storms. Those storms dumped 3 to 5 inches of rain in the Stanislaus River and Tuolumne River watersheds between Wednesday and Saturday.
Between Wednesday and Saturday, a five-station index for the Highway 4, 108 and 120 corridors show a jump from 16 percent to 67 percent of average for the current water year that started Oct. 1. The water year total for places including Calaveras Big Trees and Hetch Hetchy jumped last week from .8 inch to 4.1 inches.
Major reservoirs in the Mother Lode are 90 percent full to less than half-full this week. Pardee and Camanche on the Mokelumne River were at 92 and 72 percent of capacity, respectively, as of Monday morning. Donnells and Beardsley on the Stanislaus River were 42 and 43 percent full.
Further downstream on the Stanislaus River, New Melones, the fourth-largest capacity reservoir in the Golden State, was 73 percent full.
Up in Yosemite National Park at O’Shaughnessy Dam on the Tuolumne River, Hetch Hetchy was about 73 percent full, and just outside the park Cherry was 80 percent full. Don Pedro, the sixth-largest reservoir in the state, was 69 percent full.
Contact Guy McCarthy at email@example.com or 588-4585. Follow him on Twitter at @GuyMcCarthy.