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Rainy days ahead for Sacramento

Storms could produce one-two punch, up to 2.5 inches rain

downspout splash block with a little water
This downspout splash block got just a bit of water this morning but it's likely
to be flowing during the rainstorms starting Thursday. (Photo: Kathy Morrison)

Turn off the sprinklers! Our record dry spell is officially over – and the first big storm of our new water year is on its way.

Wednesday’s drizzly conditions are just a warm-up. According to the National Weather Service, Sacramento can expect a wet one-two punch, starting Thursday.

“Periods of heavy to moderate rain are possible late Thursday into Friday with our next storm system,” tweeted the NWS Sacramento office on Wednesday morning. “These (showers) could bring potential ash flows and debris flows to recent burn scars. They could also bring morning commute issues. The heaviest rain is expected north of I-80.”

Sacramento Valley is expected to get 0.5 to 1.5 inches in this first wave, says the weather service. Foothill areas could get 2 to 4 inches.

Expect “ponding of water on roadways and some minor flooding of poor drainage areas,” the weather service added.

Saturday may be showery, but mostly dry. Then comes another, colder storm on Sunday with rain expected through Tuesday. That storm is expected to drop at least an inch on Sacramento and snow in the mountain passes.

That adds up to 1.5 to 2.5 inches for Sacramento. If these storms deliver as expected, Sacramento’s October rain total will easily top its historical average of 0.95 inches.

These storms follow the longest rainless period in Downtown Sacramento history – 212 days. Before Sunday night’s light rainfall, the weather service’s Downtown Sacramento monitors had not recorded any measurable precipitation since March 19.



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Dig In: Garden checklist for week of Nov. 27

Before the rain comes later in the week, take advantage of sunny, calm days:

* This may be your last chance this season for the first application of copper fungicide spray to peach and nectarine trees. Leaf curl, which shows up in the spring, is caused by a fungus that winters as spores on the limbs and around the tree in fallen leaves. Sprays are most effective now, but they need a few days of dry weather after application to really “stick.” If you haven’t yet, spray now.

* Rake and compost leaves, but dispose of any diseased plant material. For example, if peach and nectarine trees showed signs of leaf curl this year, clean up under trees and dispose of those leaves instead of composting.

* Make sure storm drains are clear of any debris.

* Give your azaleas, gardenias and camellias a boost with chelated iron.

* Trim chrysanthemums to 6 to 8 inches above the ground after they’re done blooming. Keep potted mums in their containers until next spring. Then, they can be planted in the ground, if desired, or repotted.

* Prune non-flowering trees and shrubs while dormant.

* Plant bulbs for spring bloom. Don’t forget the tulips chilling in the refrigerator. Other suggestions: daffodils, crocuses, hyacinths, anemones and scillas.

* Seed wildflowers including California poppies.

* Also from seed, plant sweet pea, sweet alyssum, bachelor buttons and other spring flowers.

* Plant most trees and shrubs. This gives them plenty of time for root development before spring growth. They also benefit from winter rains.

* Set out cool-weather annuals such as pansies and snapdragons.

* Lettuce, cabbage, broccoli and cool-season greens can be planted now.

* Plant garlic and onions.

* If you decide to use a living Christmas tree this year, keep it outside in a sunny location until Christmas week. This reduces stress on the young tree.

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