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The Rains and Vacaville

John Rico

They tell the humorous story about the weathermen moving away from Sacramento, because: “The weather did not agree with them.”

This may be more fact than fiction, and if you watch the weather predictions closely you will find that the weatherman is not always right, but all in all, he does a pretty good job.

Past figures are the best reference sources, and these too at times are deceiving. Vacaville has always been known as an area where rainfall is plentiful, and we need only go to records kept by the U. S. Weather Bureau to substantiate this statement.

It is interesting to go back into Vacaville’s history and find figures compiled on our rainfall and climate nearly 100 years ago.  Back around 1888, a thorough study was made of rainfall in various parts of California, and out of 20 tests made, from San Diego to Colusa, and into the Sierra Nevadas, only one town, Auburn, had heavier annual rainfall than did Vacaville. Auburn in that year registered 32.40 inches, and Vacaville had 30.32.

Many Vacaville old-timers, who have given local rainfall some study, are agreed that the location of the rain gauge at Vacaville can make the annual total vary several inches. Just where the gauge was in 1888 is not known. For more than 30 years, the gauge was at the C. J. Uhl ranch. just a short distance north of Albertson’s food market, and in recent years it has been moved to Fire Station No. 2 on the old Cooper School grounds about two miles east of Vacaville. This change of station has made a difference of from 3 to 5 inches in the rainfall total as regis¬tered in former years because at the present location the precipitation N not quite as heavy as it was at the Uhl ranch.

Ranchers in the Pleasants Valley section, northwest of Vacaville, register several more inches of rain annually than does Station 2 because of the nearby mountains which have a tendency to release the storm clouds as they travel along.

It cannot be said reliably that Vacaville has always been blessed with an abundance of rainfall. The average rainfall has been calculated at around the 25 inch mark. This is -not to say we get 25 inches of rain in Vacaville every season, but it means that we have had some years Where it was much higher than 25, and years when it was much lower.

We can point to the season of 1889-90 when the total went over 50 inches, and this figure has never been equaled. Then we can point to the season of 1938-39 when only 10 inches fell, and here again this figure has never been equaled, at least not since 1880.

In speaking of Vacaville’s climate, the late Dr. J. Warren Stitt, who practiced medicine here for many years, was quite emphatic about the healthy climate of Vacaville. He made the public statement that people lived longer in Vacaville, and pointed to figures which showed the annual death rate in California was 18 to every 1000 residents, while in Vacaville it was down to seven and three-fifths deaths to every 1000 residents.

He said diseases which were common in other parts of America seemed to be uncommon in Vacaville. During his many years of practice in the community, he said he only had three cases of pneumonia, two of diphtheria, no rheumatism, no consumption except imported cases, and none of the most frequent children’s diseases.

Back in Dr. Stitt’s day, (over 80 years ago), Vacaville’s mean winter temperature was 52 degrees and the mean summer temperature was 70, with an annual rainfall of 31 inches.

But as the years rolled on, later figures showed that the summers got a bit hotter, and the winters a bit colder, while the total rainfall declined to the 25 inch mark.

Interesting too was Dr. Stitt’s revelation that in the Vacaville area “were many springs of mineral water in which exist all those medicinal qualities so highly beneficial to certain classes of diseases.