Northern California - March 31, 2014
This report covers conditions and observations made between Monday, March 17 and Sunday, March 30, 2014. The next report is scheduled for Monday, April 28, 2014. However, in the event of any significant occurrences prior to that date, this site will be updated as soon as possible.
Our photos for the northern region report include a shot of an aerial fungicide application in the Orland area of Glenn County, followed by the developing nuts of the Nonpareil in the Durham area of Butte County and the Winters varieties in the Williams area of Colusa County.
Generally clear skies and above normal temperatures graced the Sacramento Valley during the first week of the period before conditions turned quite a bit more surly with the arrival of a series of potent storms during the last full week of the month. Daily maximum temperatures rose gradually from the mid and upper 60’s recorded at the start of the period, reaching their highest levels in the upper 70’s to lower 80’s by Monday, the 24th. Readings then turned significantly cooler, dropping into the upper 50’s to mid 60’s with the arrival of the first storm of the period. Morning minimum temperatures were widely reported between the mid 40’s and lower 50’s, with lowest readings occasionally dipping into the upper 30’s on the coldest mornings early in the period.
Total rainfall for the period, which began falling on Tuesday, the 25th and continued daily until the end of the period ranged from 0.5 inch to just under 1.5 inch. However, additional amounts were also reported from the thunder storms that roamed through the region.
The instability that accompanied the storms also created some violent conditions. Tornado warnings were posted in several areas on multiple days with funnel clouds touching the ground in both the northern and southern areas of the region. Heavy rain and hail was also reported. However, observers reported that the region’s orchards escaped relatively unscathed and no significant damage has been reported.
Observers are reporting that the above normal daytime temperatures and mild overnight lows have pushed the nuts of all varieties aggressively through their jackets and promoted a rapid increase in nut size. Nuts of all varieties are now in the latter stages of the natural differentiation process wherein those the trees are unable to carry to harvest are sequestered from the flow of nutrients and are cast to the ground. Nuts will continue to be shed over the coming weeks.
Growers welcomed the recent rains, hoping to replace an irrigation or two should enough rain fall and to gain additional runoff from any snow that falls in the Sierra Nevada watershed. This is in spite of the need to protect their orchards from the potential increase in fungal infections resulting from the wetter conditions. As may be seen in the photo accompanying this report, growers have had to call in aircraft to provide ample protection in orchards that they are unable to cover in a timely manner with ground bound equipment. Prior to the arrival of the rain, growers could be found in the orchards mowing vegetation, fertilizing and irrigating their orchards as needed. Those who have planted new orchards could also be found completing installation of the irrigation systems as well as putting the finishing touches on the orchard floors.
In spite of the supposed benefit of the region’s geographic location, growers in the Sacramento Valley are also concerned about the availability of water for the 2014 growing season. Growers drawing their water from the federal Central Valley Project have been told that they will receive no water this year, forcing them to scramble to secure water from other sources where possible. As the period ended, word that water may be available from other water districts in the region has provided a degree of hope that some growers may be able to supplement supplies from their private wells. However, it remains to be seen how much may be available and at what cost.
Current weather at the National Weather Service
Photos: Dennis Meinberg and Ryan Christy, 3/31/14
Click an image to enlarge it