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Next week may signal whether or not rain is in the San Joaquin Valley’s future

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Posted: Saturday, January 4, 2014 12:00 am

For farmers needing rain, for ski resorts desperate for snow and for lake levels so low that ruins not seen in more than a century have been uncovered, next week could mean feast or famine.

This recent string of sunny skies and warm winter weather throughout the San Joaquin Valley is the result of a high ridge of atmospheric pressure pushing storms north of California, according to meteorologist Eric Lester of AccuWeather.com, a private weather forecasting service.

But by next week, it might weaken, allowing a small storm to reach the Valley by Tuesday. If the high-pressure system weakens, more storms could potentially pass through the area in the coming weeks, Lester said.

But if the storm isn’t able to break down the system, then we could see warm temperatures and sunny skies — with no chance of rain — for at least a couple more weeks.

“The result of precipitation will not be a big event,” Lester said. “But it could lead to whether or not you stay dry or get a couple more patterns of rain.”

A storm next week would bring lower temperatures and, at best, a quarter inch of rain to Lodi.

It would also bring a light amount of much needed snow to Dodge Ridge ski resort in Tuolumne County, which has yet to open.

“We haven’t quite got the snow we need to open for the season,” said Jeff Hauff, marketing director for Dodge Ridge. “It’s taking its time ... but we don’t need a great deal more snow.”

Despite the dry winter, snowmaking machines have allowed most ski resorts in California to remain open. But Dodge Ridge, which doesn’t make its own snow, is at the mercy of Mother Nature.

Hauff said roughly once every 20 years Dodge Ridge doesn’t have enough snow to open before New Year’s Day. This, though, is the second time in three years the resort hasn’t opened by Jan. 1.

While a storm next week might not bring enough snow to open, the resort is eager to see a change in the weather.

“We’re seeing some change in patterns next week,” Hauff said. “Any activity weather-wise is welcome.”

As for Lodi, and the rest of the San Joaquin Valley, clear skies and temperatures in the low to mid-60s should linger through the weekend.

Contact reporter Kristopher Anderson at krisa@lodinews.com.

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