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Rain on the way after another dry month

2022 could be driest year in Sacramento history

Here's a clogged drain and flooded gutter waiting to happen, with rain expected to begin in the early-morning hours Thursday.

Here's a clogged drain and flooded gutter waiting to happen, with rain expected to begin in the early-morning hours Thursday.

Kathy Morrison

Be prepared to get wet – and it’s about time. Sacramento is long overdue for a good, deep soaking.

According to the National Weather Service, Sacramento can expect 1.15 inches on Thursday, the first day of December. After a frosty Friday (with early-morning lows expected to hit 32 degrees), another inch of rain is predicted for this weekend.

That will get December’s rain totals off to a solid start. Historically, December in Sacramento averages 3.25 inches of precipitation.

But that average rainfall – if we do indeed see it – would almost match Sacramento’s total for all of 2022 so far. The first 11 months totaled only 3.60 inches of rain. That’s 25% of normal for that period.

October and November, the start of Sacramento’s rainy season and the new “water year,” historically average 2.62 inches. This season, Sacramento received no rain in October and 1.16 inches in November. Most of that moisture (0.81 inches) fell on Nov. 8, our last truly rainy day before this week’s storm system.

Our current water year total is 44% of normal; that’s better than 2022’s percentage so far but still a long way from average. If December doesn’t produce a deluge, 2022 looks like it will go down as the driest year in recorded Sacramento history.

So, yes, even with this week’s rain, we’re still in a drought. Sacramento averages 17.65 inches annually – 14 inches more than we’ve received so far this year – and it will take a very wet winter to make up for 2022’s moisture deficit.

In the meantime, prepare for Thursday's rain and Friday's frost. Make sure leaves are raked away from storm drains and gutters are clear. Then, keep the frost cloths handy for sensitive plants. 
One good thing about a storm before frost: Wet soil tends to keep plants warmer.


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Dig In: Garden Checklist

For week of Sept. 24:

This week our weather will be just right for fall gardening. What are you waiting for?

* Now is the time to plant for fall. The warm soil will get these veggies off to a fast start.

* Keep harvesting tomatoes, peppers, squash, melons and eggplant. Tomatoes may ripen faster off the vine and sitting on the kitchen counter.

* Compost annuals and vegetable crops that have finished producing.

* Cultivate and add compost to the soil to replenish its nutrients for fall and winter vegetables and flowers.

* Fertilize deciduous fruit trees.

* Plant onions, lettuce, peas, radishes, turnips, beets, carrots, bok choy, spinach and potatoes directly into the vegetable beds.

* Transplant cabbage, broccoli, kale, Brussels sprouts and cauliflower as well as lettuce seedlings.

* Sow seeds of California poppies, clarkia and African daisies.

* Transplant cool-weather annuals such as pansies, violas, fairy primroses, calendulas, stocks and snapdragons.

* Divide and replant bulbs, rhizomes and perennials. That includes bearded iris; if they haven’t bloomed in three years, it’s time to dig them up and divide their rhizomes.

* Dig up and divide daylilies as they complete their bloom cycle.

* Divide and transplant peonies that have become overcrowded. Replant with “eyes” about an inch below the soil surface.

* Late September is ideal for sowing a new lawn or re-seeding bare spots.

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