A year ago rain was a rare sight in Manteca.
The city recorded 0.19 inches from two days of rain last December. Farmers were fretting about soil being too dry for almonds. Skiing in the Sierra was spotty to non-existent. Water managers were developing drought contingency plans.
What a difference a year makes. It has rained 12 days so far this December with more in the forecast for Saturday.
The weather station at Manteca City Hall recorded 0.01 inches on Thursday to bring the monthly total to 4.36 inches. That made the weather year total since Oct. 1 in Manteca 5.26 inches or about 140 percent of normal for this time of year.
And while the National Weather Service doesn’t see any additional days of rain as 2012 winds down, it expects to see the wet stuff return by Thursday just three days into the new year.
Snowpack water content in the Sierra is pegged at 156 percent of normal for this time of the year.
And while Maury Ross of the state Department of Water Resources views that as a positive sign, he cautions the rainy season is just at the one-third mark. The Sierra snowpack is monitored closely as it supplies more than a third of all water consumed in California.
New Melones Reservoir that plays a critical role in providing South County irrigation water and drinking water for the cities of Manteca, Lathrop and Tracy is filling up. The 2,424,000 acre foot capacity reservoir on the Stanislaus River was at 1,583,821 acre feet of storage on Thursday.