SACRAMENTO — August cooled off a bit in California’s Central Valley, but temperatures here are expected to remain higher than normal through September and into the early fall, according to federal forecasters.
Growers last month got a bit of a relief after a scorching July that sped up harvests of most summer crops while causing range and non-irrigated pasture land to deteriorate. Fresno endured 10 straight days of triple-digit highs through Aug. 22 but posted an average high of 98.3 degrees for the month, the National Weather Service reported.
However, afternoon temperatures in many areas are expected to spike back into the 100s this weekend and remain in the 90s throughout the month, predicts AccuWeather.
A band of clouds brought some Labor Day showers to the foothills northeast of Sacramento, but no appreciable widespread rain appears on the horizon. The first possible shot of rain in the northern Sacramento Valley is anticipated around Sept. 30, according to AccuWeather’s long-range forecast.
“Typically the rainy season here begins probably in November,” said George Cline, a National Weather Service forecaster in Sacramento.
The federal Climate Prediction Center envisions an equal chance of above- or below-normal rainfall for California over the next three months.
Low pressure has lingered offshore from the Pacific Northwest, but it has been pulling drier air into Northern California, the weather service explained. Showers and thunderstorms caused by moisture over the Sierra Nevada mountain range were expected to be pushed into the Great Basin by November, according to the NWS.
The continuing warm weather comes after persistent spring and summer heat encouraged almonds to develop early, providing one of the earliest wine grape harvests in memory and causing cotton and rice to develop well ahead of normal.
Crops continue to develop at an accelerated pace. According to the National Agricultural Statistics Service office here:
• Rice continued to head out last week and was nearly complete, while cotton bolls have started to open and conditions have been 80 percent good to excellent.
• The harvest of some summer fruits, including clingstone peaches and plums grown for prunes, was nearing an end while the picking of other fruit continues. The valencia orange harvest remains active.
• Walnut and pistachio growers have begun preparing for harvest by irrigating, mowing and cleaning orchards. Pistachios were sprayed for navel orangeworm.
Here are the average high temperatures in August and their comparisons to last year for selected California cities, according to the National Weather Service:
Redding: August 2013, 95.2 degrees; August 2012, 99.9 degrees
Sacramento: 2013, 90.5 degrees; 2012, 93.5 degrees
Stockton: 2013, 91.1 degrees; 2012, 95.2 degrees
Modesto: 2013, 92.6 degrees; 2012, 95.9 degrees
Salinas: 2013, 73 degrees; 2012, 71.6 degrees
Fresno: 2013, 98.3 degrees; 2012, 102.2 degrees