2017-02-17 / Front Page

‘Copious’ rain to drench region

Between 2 and 4 inches expected Friday and Saturday
By Hector Gonzalez

DRESS FOR THE WEATHER— Heavy rainfall is predicted in SoCal for this weekend. DRESS FOR THE WEATHER— Heavy rainfall is predicted in SoCal for this weekend. It’s been a busy winter at Mitch Hale’s Statewide Roofing Inc. in Thousand Oaks.

“Business is good,” owner Cody Hale said. “I’ve got two crews out helping customers get ready for the upcoming storm.”

Calls to the 30-year-old company from homeowners seeking appointments were coming in especially fast this week, Hale said, before the latest series of storms was set to unleash heavy rains across Ventura County through this weekend.

From late Thursday into early Saturday morning, “copious amounts of rain”—anywhere between 2 and 4 inches—will drench the region, the National Weather Service said. South-facing slopes from Santa Barbara to Los Angeles counties could see up to 8 inches.

“This should be a big rain producer for most of the area,” the Oxnard-based agency said Tuesday.

“An atmospheric river will be aimed at Santa Barbara, Ventura and Los Angeles counties.”

In Ventura County, officials from public works, fire and other departments will gather at the county’s emergency response center in Camarillo on Friday to monitor the storm and its local impacts, Fire Department spokesperson Heather Sumagaysay said.

Officials will be ready to dispatch emergency crews to wherever they might be needed in the county, she said.

Forecasters at the U.S. Climate Prediction Center in Maryland saw this one coming as early as last Wednesday.

Their eight-to-14-day forecast map posted on Feb. 8 showed the Pacific storm track that has dumped record rain and snow in Northern California this winter returning to the Golden State this week.

“It looks like you’re going to get wet,” Greg Carbin, chief of forecast operations at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, or NOAA, Center for Weather and Climate Prediction in Maryland, told the Acorn Feb. 9.

“The pattern this winter has been this atmospheric river that’s been hitting in Central and Northern California, but (climate forecasters) are calling for it to shift further south,” Carbin said.

According to the climate center, the chance of rain for Southern California will linger from Saturday all the way through Thurs., Feb. 23.

Ventura County has already received around 14.5 inches of rain, far more than the normal 8.4 inches for this time of year.

Camarillo received 5.25 inches in January alone, compared to 0.4 inch last January.

In January 2015, an “El Niño” year, 1.7 inches fell in Camarillo, while in January 2014 the city got zero inches of rain.

In the northern Sierra Nevada, a key source of the state’s water supply, the snowpack is at the record levels of 1982-83, said Jeanine Jones, assistant drought monitor at the state Department of Water Resources.

Reservoirs across the northern part of the state are recovering, officials said.

“We have been steadily refilling Diamond Valley Lake, Metropolitan’s main storage reservoir, and it is anticipated to reach capacity later this year,” Jeffrey Kightlinger, general manager of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, said in a statement Thursday.

Ventura County, however, remains in “extreme drought,” according to the U.S. Drought Monitor. As of Feb. 10, Lake Casitas was only at 37 percent capacity and Lake Piru was at just 12 percent capacity, according to NOAA’s California Nevada River Forecast Center.

“There are still lingering effects” from the drought, Jones said. “For instance, some of our groundwater basins will take years to recover.”

So much water was taken from the ground in the San Joaquin Valley during California’s six years of drought, Jones said, it will take decades of above-normal rainy winters for groundwater levels there to return to normal.

Despite all the rain this winter, state Water Resources Control Board members voted last week to keep in place water conservation regulations that were approved last May. The regulations require water suppliers to have enough water reserves for three dry years. If they don’t, they must institute conservation measures.

The regulations continue to prohibit wasteful practices such as watering lawns right after a rain. They will remain in place at least through May, when water board members are scheduled to vote again on whether to keep or dump the prohibitions.

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