Aerial views of Sacramento area flooding

Bee photographer Randy Pench flew in a helicopter on Thursday, Jan. 12, 2017 to document the vast flooding that has occurred over the past week. The views are stunning.
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Bee photographer Randy Pench flew in a helicopter on Thursday, Jan. 12, 2017 to document the vast flooding that has occurred over the past week. The views are stunning.
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Water & Drought

Sacramento on pace for wettest year in a century

By Phillip Reese

preese@sacbee.com

February 17, 2017 04:00 AM

It hasn’t rained this much this fast in Sacramento during any year in more than a century, according to a Sacramento Bee review of the latest federal data.

About 23.5 inches of rain had fallen in Sacramento between Oct. 1 and Feb. 10, according to the National Climatic Data Center. That’s double the average for this point in the water year.

The water year in California runs from Oct. 1 through Sept. 30. The wettest year on record in Sacramento is 1982-1983, when it rained about 37 inches over the course of the water year. (About 20 inches of rain falls in a typical water year in Sacramento.)

At this point, Sacramento is well ahead of the pace from 1982-83.

This chart shows cumulative rainfall in 1982-83 and so far this water year. Days shown on the chart represent the number of days since Oct. 1.

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It has been just three years since Sacramento had its driest water year on record. By this point in 2013-14, only 4.4 inches of rain had fallen in Sacramento, about 80 percent lower than rainfall totals so far in 2016-17, federal data show.

The federal government has tracked daily rainfall in downtown Sacramento for more than 100 years. This chart shows rainfall totals from Oct. 1 through Feb. 10 of each water year since 1915-16.

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Data Tracker is a regular feature that breaks down the numbers behind today’s news. Explore more trends at sacbee.com/datatracker.

Phillip Reese: 916-321-1137, @PhillipHReese