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207 dry days and counting

Sacramento's surprise sprinkles don't measure up

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Will the rain spigot ever turn back on for Sacramento? We can hope for "real" rain next week, but the dry days keep adding up in the meantime. (Photo: Kathy Morrison)

Sacramento got a little surprise Wednesday morning – a few drops of rain from a quickly passing storm system.

That unexpected splash of moisture sure looked like rain and felt like rain, but – alas – it still didn’t measure on the National Weather Service’s Downtown Sacramento monitoring equipment.

So, our epic dry spell continues.

“While the sprinkles this AM were certainly welcomed, Downtown Sac again missed out on measurable rain,” tweeted the NWS Sacramento office on Wednesday. “It's now been 207 days since Downtown Sac has observed ≥0.01" of rain – an all-time record.”

Downtown Sacramento’s last measurable rain – more than 0.01 inch – fell March 19. The current dry spell eclipsed a rainless record of 194 days set back in 1880.

This is at least the 10th time Downtown Sacramento has experienced a dry spell of more than 143 days, according to the weather service. Besides 1880 and 2021, other dry spells lasting more than four months occurred in 1903 (174 days), 2002 (169 days), 1960 (162 days), 1932 (155 days), 1926 (147 days), 1924 (145 days), 1999 (144 days) and 1996 (143 days).

Not all of Sacramento has been bone-dry during our current streak. Monitoring equipment at Executive Airport did pick up 0.05 inch from an overnight thunderstorm that passed through Sept. 9-10.

When will we see “real” measurable rain? We’re certainly overdue. Historically, October averages nearly an inch of precipitation.

“Some measurable rain may be in store late next week,” tweeted the NWS Sacramento office. “Stay tuned ...”


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Dig In: Garden checklist for week of Feb. 5

Make the most of sunny days and get winter tasks done:

* This is the last chance to spray fruit trees before they bloom. Treat peach and nectarine trees with copper-based fungicide. Spray apricot trees at bud swell to prevent brown rot. Apply horticultural oil to control scale, mites and aphids on fruit trees soon after a rain. But remember: Oils need at least 24 hours to dry to be effective. Don’t spray during foggy weather or when rain is forecast.

* Feed spring-blooming shrubs and fall-planted perennials with slow-release fertilizer. Feed mature trees and shrubs after spring growth starts.

* Finish pruning roses and deciduous trees.

* Remove aphids from blooming bulbs with a strong spray of water or insecticidal soap.

* Fertilize strawberries and asparagus.

* Transplant or direct-seed several flowers, including snapdragon, candytuft, lilies, astilbe, larkspur, Shasta and painted daisies, stocks, bleeding heart and coral bells.

* In the vegetable garden, plant Jerusalem artichoke tubers, and strawberry and rhubarb roots.

* Transplant cabbage and its close cousins – broccoli, kale and Brussels sprouts – as well as lettuce (both loose leaf and head).

* Plant artichokes, asparagus and horseradish from root divisions.

* Plant potatoes from tubers and onions from sets (small bulbs). The onions will sprout quickly and can be used as green onions in March.

* From seed, plant beets, chard, lettuce, mustard, peas, radishes and turnips.

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