FRESNO, Calif. (KGPE/KSEE) – Rain headed towards the Central Valley late this week won’t be a drought buster, according to experts.

The rain is a welcomed sight to farmers and growers. They need the rain on their soil now more than ever.

“There’s always something getting harvested in the valley, in particular, citrus right now is going full steam,” said Ryan Jacobsen.

Jacobsen is with the Fresno Farm Bureau.

“The valley is really made or broken by three to seven storms. The one storm we had a few weeks ago was okay, but we need a couple of larger storms,” he said.

The rain expected Thursday is no drought-buster. Early November to Late January is the perfect time for it to rain, that way it won’t damage crops and wets the soil for planting next year.

“Right now, we just need anything to come in,” said Jacobsen.

This comes as a new report by U.C. Merced shows the drought in 2022 was not as bad as in previous years, but water is still scarce.

“The drought intensified and had some compounding effects,” said Dr. Josie Medellin-Azuara.
Dr. Medellin-Azuara is the lead author of the drought report.

While the rain is welcomed, it’s not making up for the groundwater being pulled out for ag and the water that is evaporating.

“The thing with groundwater is that it has been pumped unsustainably for decades and we need to fill that bucket of the overdraft that we’ve been having every year,” he said.

It’s forcing farmers to pick between crops and profit as the drought continues into 2023.

“Crops that have the lower value tend to be followed or idle in which years where water is tight,” he said.

Both Jacobsen and Medellin-Azuara say farmers will rely heavily on the snowpack. 

This storm could bring up to three feet of snow to the Sierra Nevada Mountains.