Unusual warm temperatures in February means record-setting dryness for the Valley

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- With California rain totals falling short, February 2020 is now in the books for record-setting dryness.

The unseasonably warm temperatures throughout the month prompted early blossoms bringing picturesque views found throughout the Valley.

Experts say overnight lows Sunday and Monday aren't likely to damage the blossoms as long as temperatures stay above freezing.

"It's just a very short-term dip which is not uncommon for this time of year, so hopefully we don't see any impacts," says Ryan Jacobsen, CEO of Fresno County Farm Bureau.

The start of March brought a weak storm system packing snow for the mountains, but a "miracle March" doesn't appear to be on the horizon.

"It's a month from today, April 1, which is really the bellwether of how the season is going to go," Jacobsen said. "The next two weeks don't look too good."

Jacobsen says every storm makes a difference.

"Kings River here locally were somewhere between 45-50 percent of the average of where we should be, so that's very minimal," Jacobsen said.

Some farmers are already irrigating.

"This year it's been so dry, a lot of farmers have had to turn on their pumps simply to get some moisture in the ground because it's dried out so significantly," Jacobsen said.

Last week, the Fresno Irrigation District announced they would delay water deliveries to their ag customers, storing the supply in local reservoirs until they decide to release it.

Jacobsen says because last year was so wet, they still have some carry over water to meet the needs of the valley growers, but they're hoping additional storms will bring more rainfall to the region.

"You take things like last year when we had one of the wettest Mays on record," Jacobsen said. "While that culturally speaking is not the best for Valley ag right now, any kind of precipitation is welcome."
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