Expect spring to get off to a soggy start, weather service says
Spring flowers, like these fragrant stock blooms, are ready to bright up landscapes, but the sun we've enjoyed the past few days will be crowded out by clouds soon.
So far, 2023 has definitely been wet – and our rainy days aren’t over. It looks like we’ll be starting spring with more showers.
“The latest 6-10 Day Precipitation Outlook is still leaning toward above-normal precipitation for NorCal next week,” tweeted the Sacramento office of the National Weather Service on Thursday. “A strong system will bring widespread precipitation early to mid next week, followed by unsettled weather towards the end of next week.”
Before this next round of rain arrives, the last Saturday of winter will feel very much like spring with highs close to 70 degrees. That warmth will prompt rapid growth and many more spring flowers. Any daffodils, tulips or other bulbs held back by chilly temperatures will soon be bursting into bloom.
Warmer temperatures also bring out mosquitoes. Make sure to dump rainwater out of any place it may have collected – flowerpots, old tires, kids’ toys, etc. Invasive mosquitoes can breed in a bottle cap with a tablespoon of water.
During this little gap in storms, it’s a good time to access our precipitation totals – and your own landscape’s ability to cope with all this moisture.
This winter, California has already experienced 11 “atmospheric rivers” – a weather term that’s become all too familiar.
Almost halfway through our “water year” that started Oct. 1, Sacramento has received 23.76 inches of rain; that’s 6 inches more than we average (17.6 inches) in a whole water year.
So far in March, Sacramento has recorded 2.98 inches – almost double the average for those 16 days. That made up for a slightly below-par February that totaled 2.56 inches.
Leave the sprinklers off for at least another week; your lawn and landscape won’t need it. According to the weather service, Sacramento can expect another 1 inch to 1-1/2 inches this week, with the first showers starting as soon as Sunday afternoon. Monday is the first day of spring.
For the latest forecast: https://www.weather.gov/sto/#.
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For week of Dec. 10:
Take advantage of these dry but crisp conditions. It’s time to get out the rake!
* Rake leaves away from storm drains and keep gutters clear.
* Fallen leaves can be used for mulch and compost. Chop up large leaves with a couple of passes with a lawn mower.
* Prune non-flowering trees and shrubs while they’re dormant. Without their foliage, trees are easier to prune.
* Rake and remove dead leaves and stems from dormant perennials.
* Make sure to take frost precautions with new transplants and sensitive plants. Mulch, water and cover tender plants in the late afternoon to retain warmth.
* Succulent plants are at particular risk if temperatures drop below freezing. Don’t water succulents before frost; cover instead. Use cloth sheets, not plastic. Make sure to remove coverings during the day.
* Clean and sharpen garden tools before storing for the winter.
* Brighten the holidays with winter bloomers such as poinsettias, amaryllis, calendulas, Iceland poppies, pansies and primroses.
* Keep poinsettias in a sunny, warm location. Water thoroughly. After the holidays, feed your plants monthly so they'll bloom again next December.
* Just because it rained doesn't mean every plant got watered. Give a drink to plants that the rain didn't reach, such as under eaves or under evergreen trees. Also, well-watered plants hold up better to frost than thirsty plants.
* Plant garlic (December's the last chance -- the ground is getting cold!) and onions for harvest in summer.
* Bare-root season begins. Plant bare-root berries, kiwifruit, grapes, artichokes, horseradish and rhubarb. Beware of soggy soil. It can rot bare-root plants.
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