Monday, July 28, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Solano finally gets its winter rain

1 skating rain cloud 1

Omar Waiz, 15, skates amidst storm clouds at the Allan Witt Skate Park in Fairfield, Friday. Rain brought another day of precipitation to Solano County. By mid-morning Friday Fairfield received more than 10.70 inches of rain for the month of February, more than twice the average. (Aaron Rosenblatt/Daily Republic)

By
From page A1 | March 01, 2014 |

FAIRFIELD — Finally, Solano County has green hills, seasonal wetlands filled with water and creeks running.

“We’re in what I call for the first time this season a typical winter weather pattern,” said Mike Pechner, owner of Golden West Meteorology, on Friday.

What a difference a month makes.

Solano County at the end of January had brown hills with barely any green growth. The ground was dry and dusty. Pechner at his Cordelia Villages home had recorded only 1.71 inches of rain for the rain season that began July 1, 2013, and ends June 30.

Even coming near to Fairfield’s season rainfall average of about 20 inches seemed out of the question. Rather, the area looked about to dry up and blow away amid the driest rain season since records began being kept in about 1850.

Then came February.

The latest round of storms by midmorning Friday brought Pechner’s total for the month to about 10 inches. That compares to the average of about 4 inches.

Pechner said showers should end Saturday, with a dry Sunday and sunny Monday. More rain could come Wednesday.

“It’s not significant, but it will keep the ball rolling,” Pechner said.

Computer models show yet more rain could come around March 10 and again around March 15. That would mean rain coming at regular intervals, Pechner said.

The latest bout of rainfall starting Wednesday brought 2.38 inches to the Solano Irrigation District rain gauge in Suisun Valley by midday Friday. It brought 2.05 inches to local resident Fred Barnes’ rain gauge in the Paradise Valley section of Fairfield.

Rain caused some road flooding Friday morning. The California Highway Patrol reported flooding at eastbound Highway 12 and Walters Road. Solano County reported flooding at Vanden Road between Leisure Town Road and Newcastle Drive.

Local reservoirs are still below their spill levels. Lake Curry reservoir in Napa County is created by a dam on Suisun Creek. The Solano County Water Agency reported the lake water surface elevation at 371 feet on Friday, compared to a maximum level of 377 feet.

Some of the worst floods in the Suisun Valley and Fairfield areas come when Lake Curry is unable to hold more water, rain is falling hard and high tides are keeping the creek from draining into Suisun Marsh. But that hasn’t happened during this still relatively dry rain year, even with the latest storms.

“There’s been standing water, but for the most part we’re doing OK,” Pechner said.

Lake Berryessa reservoir provides much of the water to Solano County cities and farms. The reservoir Friday morning had a water level elevation of about 414 feet, with a level of 440 feet needed for the lake to reach capacity and spill into its Glory Hole.

Local water officials said before the February rains hit that Solano County has enough water for the rest of the year, despite the three-year drought. But they have urged water conservation in case the drought continues.

For one rainy February, at least, the drought seemed to dry up.

Reach Barry Eberling at 427-6929 or beberling@dailyrepublic.net. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/beberlingdr.

Barry Eberling

Barry Eberling

Barry Eberling has been a reporter with the Daily Republic since 1987. He covers Solano County government, transportation, growth and the environment. He received his bachelors of art degree from the University of California, Santa Barbara and his masters degree in journalism from the University of California, Berkeley.
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