Modesto-area rain will slow, but drivers still should watch for large puddles. The forecast?

On the heels of the 2-plus inches of rain that kicked off February, Modesto-area residents can expect more through Thursday. Some could fall in thunderstorms, spiking the totals in places.

The National Weather Service forecasts 0.1 to 0.25 inches of rain Tuesday, followed by a 30% chance Wednesday and Thursday. Dry conditions are likely from Friday through Super Bowl Sunday.

The early February weather already has caused flooding on streets without adequate drainage. Thunderstorms can spike the totals in certain spots.

Stanislus OES issues advice

In a Monday morning Facebook post, the county Office of Emergency Services urged drivers to be careful.

“Flooding concerns remain for Stanislaus County and surrounding areas through Monday night as periods of moderate to heavy rainfall today will lead to minor roadway and urban flooding, and river rises,” the post said. “NEVER drive through flooded roadways!”

The county is not at risk of widespread damage, thanks to large reservoirs on the Tuolumne, Stanislaus and San Joaquin rivers. Residents nonetheless should not go near the downstream waterways, which have risen to maintain flood-control space in the reservoirs.

The Modesto Irrigation District has recorded above-average rain to date at its downtown offices. The total stood at 9.11 inches as of 2 p.m. Monday for the water year that began July 1. An average year brings 12.17 inches, mainly from November through March.

MID has reported 2.19 inches so far in February, already surpassing the entire month’s historical average of 2.01 inches.

Streets are left flooded in the Buttonwillow Lane area of north Modesto after a storm dumped 1.28 inches of rain on Modesto on Jan. 22, 2024, according to the Modesto Irrigation District.
Streets are left flooded in the Buttonwillow Lane area of north Modesto after a storm dumped 1.28 inches of rain on Modesto on Jan. 22, 2024, according to the Modesto Irrigation District.

Sierra snowpack matters more than rain

The Sierra Nevada snowpack provides most of the water for Central Valley cities and farms. It got off to a slow start, at 28% of average for early January, according to the California Department of Water Resources. The snow was up to 52% last week. An update from the latest storm was not available Monday.

The NWS said it could bring at least a foot of new snow to the mountains, peaking at 1.5 inches per hour Monday. It could fall as low as 4,500 to start out and move down to 3,500 feet. Lighter snow could follow Wednesday and Thursday.

The snow zone takes in large stretches of Highways 108 and 120 west of their winter closures. Drivers should have snow tires or chains, or postpone the trip.