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Light showers, little impact on drought
While almond blossoms are getting all the attention some of the area orchards offer patches of even more colorful nectarine blossoms, such as this one captured in the Kuil orchards off West Ripon Road just outside the city limits. - photo by ROSE ALBANO RISSO

New Melones Reservoir — the linchpin dam on the Stanislaus River — is dropping again on the eve of a four-day weather system that promises to usher in March with a whimper.

The water level has dropped 735 acre feet during the past two days to dip to 604,868 acre feet. Water levels at the reservoir with 2.4 million acre feet off capacity had gone up for 18 consecutive days after the last storm system passed through.

The National Weather Service calls for the chance of a few showers this afternoon. Saturday is expected to be mostly cloudy with occasional showers followed by Sunday with variable clouds and a shower. The system is expected to end on Monday with an afternoon shower or two on Monday.

The weak system will do little to ease the drought although hydrologists have said every drop is now becoming critical in terms of precipitation.

While the system is expected to drop little rain, water experts say that it will help delay the need to start watering landscaping and less stress on orchards and vines entering the blooming season ahead of the start of irrigation.

Models for March anticipate perhaps as many as four days of showers.

In short, rain and snow for March is on track for another subpar performance to further deepen California’s drought situation that is now in its fourth year.