Rivers hold steady as moderate storm approaches Modesto area. How is April looking?

March will near its end with perhaps a half-inch of rain in Stanislaus County and yet more snow in its Sierra Nevada watershed.

The Tuolumne and San Joaquin rivers continued to run high but short of flood stage Monday. That should be the case at least until Thursday morning, the National Weather Service said.

It forecast a sunny Monday, with a high of 64 in Modesto. The storm is expected to bring 0.25 to 0.5 inches of rain to the city through Wednesday. Winds could be up to 22 mph, about half the speed of some recent systems.

The forecast shows 24 to 30 inches of snow in upper elevations of the central Sierra through Wednesday. Thursday and Friday look to be dry, followed by a chance of another storm Saturday, which is April 1.

The storm season is mainly from November through March, but rain and snow can happen in April and May. That’s how 1983 became the snowiest year on record in the central Sierra, at 230% of average. This year could approach it if the pattern repeats.

The Weather Service can do only rough forecasts a few weeks ahead, based on distant ocean temperatures and other variables. It sees an above-average chance for storms through April 9 and equal odds through April 21. The month as a whole could be below average.

The county has not had widespread flooding thanks to unused capacity in reservoirs upstream. The Tuolumne and San Joaquin are flowing high nonetheless, due to reservoir releases to prepare for the spring snowmelt.

As of 10 a.m. Monday, the Tuolumne was 0.7 feet short of flood stage at the Ninth Street Bridge, the NWS reported. It is expected to remain there into Thursday, and to be fairly high for several months.

The San Joaquin was 4 feet below flood stage near Newman as of Monday morning. It is expected to stay there into Thursday. The Catfish Camp trailer park along Crows Landing Road was evacuated as a precaution last week.

The Stanislaus River is not at risk of flooding because of the especially large capacity at New Melones Reservoir.