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February 5, 2014

A couple of rainstorms predicted for Merced

There are two rainstorms predicted in the seven-day forecast.

Grab the galoshes. Merced is about to see a wet week, according to forecasts.

Two storms are making their way to Merced, and will cover the area with spotty showers almost daily through the weekend, said meteorologist Jim Andersen of the National Weather Service in Hanford.

Andersen said there was a slim chance of rainfall in the early morning today, but the chance for precipitation jumps to 90 percent during the day. Andersen said Friday will likely be dry.

The chance for rain during the second storm system will reach 60 percent Saturday and drop to 40 percent Sunday. “There is a very high chance there are a few lingering showers behind the system,” Andersen said, referring to Monday.

Each of the two storms could bring 0.1 to 0.25 inches of rain, Andersen said. Above 5,000 feet, 4 to 7 inches of snow are expected, he said.

The National Weather Service issued a winter weather advisory, Andersen said, because there will be snow in the mountains, which leads to slick roads.

The rainfall total in Merced to date is 1.34 inches for the season. Normal for this time of year would be 6.7 inches of rain.

The week is expected to have highs in the high 50s and lows in the high 30s. “It’s cooler than it’s been, but it’s normal for this time of year,” said Gary Sanger, another meteorologist.

Temperatures will rise Sunday, with a high around 60 and a low near 50.

California’s officially been in a drought for more than two weeks, but has endured three dry years. Meteorologists have said it will take many storms to make a dent in the water deficit.

While many statewide are concerned about the lack of water, farmers are perhaps some of the most visible sufferers.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture on Tuesday offered new aid to California farmers.

Underscoring how California’s water crisis has reached a political boil, top federal and state officials jointly announced the relatively modest new package of aid that features $20 million for agricultural water conservation efforts. The Forest Service will announce additional aid for California today.

Accompanied by Karen Ross, secretary of the California Department of Food and Agriculture, and Rep. Jim Costa, D-Fresno, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the funding for which California farmers can apply. Grants will be provided for projects that could include improving irrigation efficiency, planting cover crops and protecting grazing lands, among other efforts.

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