By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
New Melones at 24% capacity as storms arrive

Manteca was still flirting with 100-degree temperatures five weeks ago.

By Thursday, the temperatures could drop overnight to 35 degrees — just three degrees above freezing.

And in between today and Wednesday upwards of 2 inches of rain could fall in Manteca, Lathrop, and Ripon according to the National Weather Service.

It is part of the what could end up being the first  significant series of storms to hit Northern California since December of last year.

For the valley that means:

*The heaviest rain in the valley is anticipated Sunday through Tuesday night.

*Slick roads, ponding of water on pavement, and difficult commute conditions.

*Minor nuisance flooding that can be reduced by making sure gutters and streets are clear of leaves.

*Wind gusts between 15 and 20 miles per hour.

For the Sierra that means:

*Up to four feet of snow near Sonora, Ebbetts, and Tioga passes.

*Snow showers Saturday above the 8,000 to 8,500 foot levels.

*Snow level down to 5,500 to 6,500 feet on Sunday, dropping to 2,500 to 3,500 feet by Monday morning.

 *Very difficult travel conditions with Lilley chain controls.

*Low visibility due to a combination of wind and heavy snow Sunday evening through Tuesday might.

The snow and rain comes as New Melones — the key reservoir that supplies urban water to Manteca and Lathrop — sits at 24 percent capacity.

Manteca city officials remind people not to do any outside watering until at last Friday.

After that, residents should refrain from watering if soil is moist and plants are doing well given colder temperatures reduce the need for water.

Also, plants, trees and grass are transforming into autumn/winter mode requiring sustainably less water.

And those with Bermuda grass should keep in mind when it starts yellowing this time of the year and in winter it is going into “hibernation” and not dying. That means watering it is not only superfluous but is it’s a waste of  valuable water.

National Weather Service forecasters, climatologists, and water managers from the local to the state and federal level are all emphasizing that while the storm will help, based on the  existing water storage deficit and drought conditions it will do little to change the current course of the drought.


Reservoir key to Manteca,

Lathrop water now at 24%

of storage capacity


California is now in its fourth consecutive year of drought due to some of the driest weather in the past 170 years in terms of lack of snow and rain.

All of the state is in some stage of drought as of Nov. 1, based in the United States Department of Agriculture Drought Monitor.

The entire San Joaquin Valley — with the exception of Stockton-Lodi — as well as the Southern Sierra that is critical to the Stanislaus, Tuolumne, and Merced river watersheds is in exceptional drought. That is the worst possible category of drought.

The Sacramento Valley as well as the Northern Sierra and Cascades Ranges are in extreme drought, a slightly less severe rating. Except for a portion of the state experiencing just moderate drought north of the border with Mexico, the rest of California is in severe drought.

All of the state’s major reservoirs are near historic lows for Nov. 4.

Shasta Dam — the largest in the federal Central Valley Project with a  capacity of 4,552,000 acre feet of water is at 31 percent of capacity that is 58 percent of average for Nov. 4.

Likewise, Oroville Dam — the largest in the State Water Project with a capacity of 3,537,000 acre feet of water is at 31 percent of capacity that is 60 percent of average for Nov. 4.

New Melones — the CVP reservoir on the Stanislaus River that figures heavily into water use in Manteca, Lathrop, Tracy, and now Mountain House on an emergency basis  as well as farms in the Ripon-Manteca-Escalon area — is in even worse shape.

New Melones with a storage capacity of 2,400,000 acre feet of water is now at 24 percent of capacity and 31 percent of average for Nov. 4.

To contact Dennis Wyatt, email