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May 24, 2022

SBC hoping for rain

After enduring an exceptionally dry year, locals are hoping to
see a little more rain in the coming months.
After enduring an exceptionally dry year, locals are hoping to see a little more rain in the coming months.

Since the beginning of the “rain year” on July 1, Hollister has had 1.70 inches of rain, which is pretty close to normal, according to the National Weather Service. But 80 percent of the area’s rain usually falls between November and March, so the real test is still ahead.

“If it’s the same as last year – I don’t even want to talk about that,” said Greg Renz, owner of Agco Hay Co.

Renz said last winter’s drought left his fields parched and his cattle hungry. As a result, he had to reduce his herd by 30 percent to 40 percent, and he has to buy hay to feed the remaining cows. Things are still fairly dry, he said, especially in southern San Benito County.

“It’s not unusual not to have much rain at this point, but coming off an extremely dry year, we don’t have any reserves,” he said.

There was a total of 7.15 inches of rain between July 1, 2006 and June 30, 2007 – 53 percent of the average. Things were so dry that the National Drought Mitigation Center declared that San Benito County – along with much of California – was in its first drought in 15 years.

At the time, local leaders said Hollister’s water supply wasn’t in any immediate danger, but the combination of low rainfall and reduced pumping from the Sacramento Delta has resulted in limited imported water for local farmers.

Things are looking better this year, according to weather service data. As of Oct. 31, local rainfall was at 98 percent of the average. Cities throughout the Bay Area have received normal rainfall “give or take,” said Diana Henderson, a forecaster with the weather service’s office in Monterey.

Asked if the coming months will be as rainy as usual, she said: “I haven’t really heard one way or another. It’s still early.”

Painter Gayle Sleznick said the hills behind her San Juan Bautista home have already turned green, which is a good sign.

Locals love the golden hills that appear once the weather turns dry again, Sleznick said, and she appreciates all the seasons. But she has a favorite, too. “I’m thrilled when it turns lush green,” she said.

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