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Rain in SCV’s forecast

Posted: March 16, 2012 10:08 p.m.
Updated: March 16, 2012 10:08 p.m.

The storm due to dump as much as an inch and a half of rain on the Santa Clarita Valley this weekend will be the first major storm of the winter — just days before spring begins, weather officials said Friday.

And while the rain will be welcome given the dry winter so far, it’s not likely to make up for the low rainfall the previous months, they said.

“We’ve had a paltry year in terms of rainfall,” with totals nearly 10 inches lower than normal, said David Sweet, meteorologist with the National Weather Service.

Even if the Santa Clarita Valley receives 1.5 inches in the current storm, the rain will do little to alleviate a very dry season, Sweet said.

Spring officially starts Tuesday.

Rainfall totals this year in the Newhall/Soledad area have accumulated only 4.37 inches, while the normal season’s total is 17.89 inches, Sweet said.

For another monitoring station in Bouquet Canyon, the total so far this year has only been 3.07 inches, while the normal amount for this time of year is 7.98 inches.

Although the season has been abnormally dry, water and fire officials aren’t concerned yet about a lack of rainfall.

Adequate rainfall “can be a double-edged sword” in terms of later fire danger, said Inspector Quvondo Johnson, public information officer for the Los Angeles County Fire Department.

While a large amount of rainfall soaks the ground, it also causes vegetation growth, Johnson said. A dry year means less water soaking the ground, but also less vegetation growth.

Vegetation dried by summer heat is the main fuel in Southern California wildfires.


“The only thing we do know in Southern California is that we have brush fires year-round,” Johnson said.

He urged residents to be vigilant in clearing their brush and keeping open flames away from vegetation.

Dan Masnada, general manager for the Castaic Lake Water Agency, said a continued dry year won’t pose problems in terms of water supplies.

“The imported water supply — what we have — is way in excess of what we need,” Masnada said.


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