Napans have no doubt enjoyed the ample amounts of sunshine recently, but may not have realized the warm weather is a record-breaker — January was the driest on record. But local officials say Napa residents will still have plenty of water for the year.
Rainfall gauges at Napa State Hospital recorded a scant .34 inches of rain in January. Upvalley was not much wetter, either; gauges at Pacific Union College in Angwin recorded .64 inches of rain.
That broke the record, which was previously set in 1976, said Steve Anderson, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service.
By comparison, January 2012 had 4.89 inches of rain at Napa State Hospital, and 7.16 inches at Pacific Union College, according to the data.
Anderson attributed the persistently warm weather to a high-pressure system that’s lingered over the North Bay, diverting storms to Northern California and the Pacific Northwest.
“It’s not normal,” Anderson said. “It’s just been blocking all the storms from getting into our area. There have been storms. They just haven’t been getting down here.”
That’s expected to change next week, as rain is in the forecast for Napa County, Anderson said. The area could receive up to an inch of rainfall next Tuesday and Wednesday, he said.
“The trend will not continue,” Anderson said.
The warm weather has caused a below-average year for snow pack in the Sierra Nevada, the California Department of Water Resources (DWR) said in a news release.
In a snow survey done Jan. 29, the snowpack’s water content was a little more than half the average of DWR’s annual April 1 survey, which is the typical peak for snowpack, according to the news release.
That has led the agency to predict that the state will meet 40 percent of its water requests through the State Water Project. The final allocation in 2012 was 65 percent.
Still, that’s no cause for alarm for water customers in the city of Napa, said Pat Costello, a water resources analyst for the city’s water division.
Costello said Lake Hennessey, the city’s main reservoir, and Lake Milliken, its supplemental reservoir, filled up after major storms dumped rain as they blew through in November and December.
“That’s pretty much all we can ask for in a winter, is both of those filling up,” Costello said.
The city also has a carry-over allocation of state water from 2012, Costello said.
“It has been quite dry but you haven’t heard from us,” Costello said. “Our supplies for 2013 are good.”