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Rain breaks another Sacramento dry spell

So far, 2022 among driest years in city's history

The downspouts and street gutters are full of rainwater  -- at least today. Take this opportunity to note how the landscape is handling real rain.

The downspouts and street gutters are full of rainwater -- at least today. Take this opportunity to note how the landscape is handling real rain. Kathy Morrison

November started with something Sacramento has seen little of this year: Rain!

Tuesday morning, the National Weather Service upped its original storm prediction from 0.1 inch to 0.25-0.5 inch – enough to turn off irrigation for at least a few days.

Rain is normal in November, the second month of our annual water year and the start of our usual rain season. November rain totals typically average just over 2 inches in Sacramento.

But there’s been nothing typical about our weather lately. 2022 most likely will go down as one of our driest years on record.

How dry has 2022 been? October had no measurable precipitation in Sacramento. We were also rainless in August and received barely a trace (0.01 inch or less) in February, May and July.

The first 10 months of 2022 have totaled 2.45 inches – almost 10 inches below normal for that period.

For more Sacramento area weather information and forecast:

To reach our annual average of 17.65 inches by Dec. 31, Sacramento will need 12.2 inches in two months. November and December are two of our rainiest months, averaging 5.32 inches for that 61-day period. But even double that amount will leave us far short of “normal.”

All that dry weather may have changed your landscape’s ability to cope with real rain. With so little deep-soaking moisture this year, soil may have become rock hard. (I know that’s true for sections of our lawn.) Watch out for runoff during heavy cloudbursts.

During this storm, note how your landscape is handling the water. Is it pooling or running off? Can it soak in? Make note of problem areas. (The solution may be more mulch or compost.)

Remember to irrigate plants that rainwater may have missed, particularly under large trees or eaves.

Most likely, the winds that accompanied this rain knocked down a lot of leaves. (November also marks the start of Sacramento’s leaf season.) Remember to rake leaves away from gutters and storm drains, too.

After so much drought, we’ll take any rain we can get. This storm may not produce a huge total, but it’s a start.


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For week of Feb. 18:

It's wet to start the week. When you do get outside, between or after storms, concentrate on damage control:

* Keep storm drains and gutters clear of debris.

* Clean up tree debris knocked down by wind and rain.

* Where did the water flow in your garden? Make notes where revisions are necessary.

* Are any trees leaning? See disturbances in the ground or lawn around their base? Time to call an arborist before the tree topples.

* Dump excess water out of pots.

* Indoors, start peppers, tomatoes and eggplant from seed.

* Lettuce and other greens also can be started indoors from seed.

* Got bare-root plants? Put their roots in a bucket of water until outdoor soil dries out. Or pot them up in 1- or 5-gallon containers. In April, transplant the plant, rootball and all, into the garden.

* Browse garden websites and catalogs. It’s not too late to order for spring and summer.

* Show your indoor plants some love. Dust leaves and mist to refresh.

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