Precipitation season is much below normal
Winter snow and rain across Mariposa County adds up to less than 70 percent of normal, local records show. January and February were among the driest of the two months on record.
Despite more than a foot of snow in the high country last week, the snowpack is poor as spring is set to arrive on March 20. An extended precipitation outlook released by the National Weather Service on Feb. 21 shows Central California the center of a low-precipitation zone for the next three months (see image).
The March 1 Yosemite National Park snow survey found snow water content in the Merced River drainage at just 68 percent of normal.
At the Park’s south entrance, the season total was just 47 percent of normal, according to the National Weather Service.
For local ranchers, the picture is mixed. The hills were green at Mariposa County Agricultural Commissioner Cathi Boze’s Cathey’s Valley home this week.
But filaree, a main plant consumed by cattle and other grazers, was "heading out" this week, she said. That's the first step on the way to going to seed. Such plants won't grow much more--no matter how much it rains.
Follow the MARIPOSA GAZETTE for more on seasonal precipitation totals and the outlook for spring runoff.