Two storms are heading to Humboldt County this week, and could bring around an inch of rain, according to the National Weather Service.
”The first system is coming in Wednesday morning and lasting through Thursday afternoon, with showers after that,” said meteorologist Michael Stroz. “The next system for this area is coming in Friday into Saturday, and after that there will be a threat of showers lasting Saturday into early next week.”
Coastal areas are forecast to see around an inch of rain in the next few days, according to Stroz, with the mountains getting around 2 inches near the higher ridges.
The storm systems appear to be a transition back into the normal wet weather pattern after an extensive dry period.
”So far this month, Eureka has gotten 5.29 inches of precipitation,” Stroz said. “For February, that's pretty close to the average precipitation rate of 5.63 inches.”
Humboldt Bay Municipal Water District Business Manager John Friedenbach said the agency anticipates reservoir levels at Ruth Lake will increase with the coming storms.
”In January, we were at 54 percent capacity of the Ruth Lake reservoir. And, with the couple series of storms we had -- as of Feb. 23 -- we are at 76 percent,” Friedenbach said.
Stroz said Eureka will likely end the month at or above normal.
”We'll most likely be above normal, but it won't be drastically above. We're looking at maybe a few tenths or an inch, but it's hard to tell right now,” he said.
Stroz said the amount of precipitation is calculated based on the water year -- which starts July 1 -- and the calendar year.
”The concern has been how much rain we haven't gotten,” he said. “For this time of year, the normal rainfall for Eureka is supposed to be 28.17 inches and we've gotten 11.76 inches so far -- which equates to 42 percent of what we normally get.”
Humboldt County Agriculture Commissioner Jeff Dolf said any rainfall will be beneficial at this point.
”The timing of this rainfall is what's especially important -- especially the late rain,” Dolf said.
Dolf said the rain in December was great, but the temperatures were not for ranchers looking to fatten their cattle.
”If we can get the rain, producers may hold off on selling their cattle. But, if there's no rain, producers would either have to buy feed or sell off the cattle at a less than ideal weight, leading to a loss in profit,” he said.
Friedenbach said the wet pattern typically lasts until April, and there is plenty of water to fill municipal needs in Humboldt County.
”We are optimistic at this point, however we are still asking people to voluntarily conserve,” Friedenbach said. “Depending on how the forecast pans out, if we get more rain and we're at 90 percent in a month or so, that might be a different story.”
That depends on how much rain actually materializes near Ruth Lake, Friedenbach said.
”In general, more rainfall is better than less but it's hard to predict where a cloud is going to burst and dump the rain it's carrying,” he said. “We're optimistic in this rainstorm and the next ones that might be coming in the next months.”