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Redwood City’s rainfall has already surpassed previous years’ totals

With more storms on the way, meteorologists are hopeful for an improvement to drought conditions
A resident walks through Friendly Acres during a break in the winter storms

As the winter storm season rages on, Redwood City has received record levels of rainfall, making meteorologists cautiously optimistic.

As of 9 a.m. Monday morning, the city has already received 16.9 inches of rain for the current water year, which started on Oct. 1, according to meteorologist Brayden Murdock of the National Weather Service. This year’s rainfall has far surpassed the total recorded for the previous three years: 16.1 inches in 2021-22, 6.3 inches in 2020-21 and 9.5 inches in 2019-20.

“These numbers are looking fairly good so far,” Murdock said. “This is a step forward after several steps back. The last few years have been dry, region-wide, and even though we’re seeing much more rain at this point in the water year than the last few years, we have quite the deficit to make up.”

He added that meteorologists are “excited to see how this turns out, as long as it’s not as intense as the New Year’s Eve system.”

State water officials at the California Department of Water Resources (DWR) have also said they are cautiously optimistic that this could replenish some of the state's heavily depleted water reservoirs; but after four years of drought, heavy rains of this frequency and magnitude are pose a threat to property, natural resources and human life.

On the one hand, extreme rain is boosting California's snowpack. On Tuesday, DWR's snow survey team determined that parts of the Sierra Nevada have snow depths 177% of average for this time of year. But the same storms are bringing flooding to other parts of the state, said Karla Nemeth, director of DWR.

Drought Manager of DWR Jeanine Jones said that the state needs above-average precipitation throughout the rest of its wet season in order to reach 100% of average runoff.

"We are overcoming a deficit in soil moisture," Jones said. "We lose runoff until things get very wet, and we start getting good inflows into reservoirs and groundwater basins. But we do have deficit conditions in these basins from our prior dry years."

Several more storms are on the horizon, though none are expected to hit the Peninsula as hard as in the previous week. More showers are predicted over the next few days, though meteorologists anticipate these storms will focus on the North Bay regions.

As for Redwood City: “We’re not looking at any huge atmospheric rivers in the forecast just yet,” Murdock said.

The majority of the region’s rainfall hits during the winter season, which lasts through February, though precipitation can continue into early spring. 

As historic storms bear down on the Bay Area, cities across the Midpeninsula are declaring states of emergency, including Redwood City, which will ask the city council to ratify its proclamation at Monday’s meeting, according to City Manager Melissa Stevenson Diaz.

Bay City News contributed to this report.


Leah Worthington

About the Author: Leah Worthington

Leah, a Menlo Park native, joined the Redwood City Pulse in 2021. She covers everything from education and climate to housing and city government. Previously she worked as the online editor for California magazine in Berkeley and co-hosts a podcast.
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