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Sonoma, Napa counties set six-week dry weather record

Published: Monday, February 11, 2013 at 9:13 a.m.
Last Modified: Monday, February 11, 2013 at 1:28 p.m.

The first six weeks of 2013 have been the driest on record for Sonoma County and neighboring Napa County, based on measurements at their respective airports, the National Weather Service reports.

Just 1.02 inches of rainfall were recorded at the Charles M. Schulz-Sonoma County Airport from Jan. 1 to 4 p.m Sunday, besting the same time period in 2011 for a new record, meteorologists said.

In 2011, 1.85 inches of rain were measured at the airport, the National Weather Service said.

Total rainfall of 9.13 inches is considered normal.

But rainfall varies at different locations around the county.

Data from the downtown Santa Rosa gauge would have put 2013 in second place in a dry weather contest, by fractions of an inch, meteorologist Steve Anderson said.

Downtown measurements show .57 inches of rain for the 41-day-period, compared to an even more paltry .41 inches in 1976, meteorologist Steve Anderson said.

At the Napa County airport, there has been .37 of an inch of rain so far this year, compared to normal of 5.62 inches for the time period, the weather service said.

Thanks to abundant December rainfall, Sonoma County's seasonal rainfall totals are very close to normal, however, with 23.43 inches from July 1, 2012 through Sunday.

Normal is 23.32 inches, so “we are exactly normal on the season,” Anderson said.

The water supply at lakes Sonoma and Mendocino is at 100 percent of capacity, as well, with plenty of room still available for flood water, if needed, Sonoma County Water Agency spokesman Brad Sherwood said.

“We rely heavily on mid- to late spring rains to 'top off' the reservoirs for the summer,” Sherwood said in an email.

There is no rain ahead in the immediate forecast, however.

The outlook calls for warming temperature and continuing sunshine for at least seven days, Anderson said.

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