FRESNO COUNTY, Calif. (KSEE/KGPE) – Although Monday’s rain and mountain snow are not enough to end our severe drought, farmers are welcoming the precipitation on Central California’s parched ground and snow-bare mountains.

Fresno County Farm Bureau CEO Ryan Jacobsen says farmers are mostly welcoming the wet weather. “Rain this time of year is really no problem from an agricultural perspective. But the biggest risk we have is thunderstorms. Thunderstorms can bring that unwelcome hail. Hail can be extraordinarily damaging to those fields below it. And so that is a risk we have when you get those afternoon storms.”

Fresno is now some three inches behind its average rainfall this year… That’s a  huge deficit given our area averages just eleven inches of rain for the whole year.

Below-average mountain snowpack is also unsettling because snowmelt provides a major source of drinking water and farm water the rest of the year.  NRCS measurements show it close to half of average.

Jacobsen says, “There is absolutely no doubt we are still in year three of this drought. That’s not going away. This singular storm did not solve that. Essentially, what this does is it just helps to slightly help the overall situation, bring a little more precipitation to those agricultural and city districts that rely on the snowpack up in the Sierra there. But we are definitely in a major deficit at this point.”

In the third year of a now extreme drought, the rest of this year will likely bring hardship. And no reserves going into unknown years ahead.

“We had the 2012 to 2006 drought, but then we had one of the wettest years on record in 2017. So it’s just one of those things living in California. We live by this false narrative of average and there’s no such thing as average. We either have it or we don’t have it.”