National Weather Service predicts light rain, thunder and lightning

02/26/2014 10:15 PM

02/26/2014 10:36 PM

Merced is set to be moistened by a series of rainstorms in the next couple of days, which at times will be accompanied by thunder and lightning.

Jim Bagnall, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Hanford, said about a third of an inch of rain is expected by this morning in the Merced area.

By early Friday morning, a second storm is expected. The weather service is forecasting that the Merced area will get half an inch to three quarters of an inch of rain when that system rolls through the region, Bagnall said.

The brunt of the storm is to come Friday morning and afternoon, tapering off into the evening. There are lingering chances for a bit of rain in Merced on Saturday morning, with light hit-or-miss showers expected throughout the day.

Merced could receive about an inch of rain from this series of storms, Bagnall said. Since Jan. 1, Merced has received 0.94 inches of rain and 1.95 inches since July. Normal rainfall since January is 4.69 inches, weather records show.

“By Sunday we’re done with the rain,” Bagnall said. “This will be welcome rainfall for most people.”

There is a possibility of another storm for the Merced area by Wednesday, but much of the rainfall might pass to the north. Bagnall predicted a 20 to 30 percent chance of precipitation for the middle of next week.

The storm that passed through Merced during the day Wednesday only left a trace of rain, as measured at the Merced municipal airport. But gusty winds hit the region and more of the same is expected today.

Merced’s storms are originating in the Pacific and are not particularly cold, Bagnall said.

Forecasters have said the ridge of high pressure over California that was causing the unusually dry conditions is gone, paving the way for more storm systems to move through and bring more precipitation to the drought-stricken state.

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