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No significant rain in sight for Sonoma County (w/video)

  • A pedestrian makes his way across the Santa Rosa Junior College campus in the light rain that peppered the region on Wednesday, Jan. 29, 2014. (CHRISTOPHER CHUNG/ PD)

Every day that Santa Rosa gets less than two-tenths of an inch of rain, the city falls deeper into the drought.

Wednesday's brief shower amounted to just 0.01 inches, the first precipitation since 0.08 inches came down Jan. 11, the only other wet day in a month that typically sees nearly 6 inches of precipitation.

Spotty rain with up to 0.04 inches was expected Thursday night in Santa Rosa, with no more precipitation until about Feb. 8, said Frank Strait, an Accuweather meteorologist. Long-range forecasts indicate a sub-par rainy season through April.

“We have a lot of ground to catch up on,” said Brad Sherwood, spokesman for the Sonoma County Water Agency.

The city needs about 13 inches of rain to match 1977, the second year of one of the worst droughts in California history, he said.

Santa Rosa gets an average of 0.19 inches of rain a day in January and 0.21 inches a day in February, the third and second wettest months of the year, respectively.

December, the wettest month, totalled just 0.41 inches last year.

Virtually all of the state is in similar jeopardy, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor's report Thursday, showing that 98.6 percent of the state has an extreme to exceptional drought.

Extreme drought covers the San Francisco Bay area and extends along the coast from Humboldt County to Orange County.

For the first time in at least 14 years, the Drought Monitor map puts part of California in the exceptional drought category, a condition currently found in only four other parts of the continental United States.

A roughly 220-mile stretch of the San Joaquin Valley from Monterey to Bakersfield, covering nearly 9 percent of the state, is exceptionally dry, the map says.

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