After a series of storms drenched the Mountain Area and Valley through much of last week, meteorologists expected a salvo of more systems from Wednesday potentially into Saturday.
“This next series won’t be as major a producer of precipitation,” said Kevin Durfee, with the National Weather Service in Hanford. “But we’ll see some snow in the Sierra mountains, about four to seven inches above 5,000 feet on Wednesday.”
By press time, Durfee said 0.35 inches of rain was expected during the first storm in Oakhurst, with similar numbers in surrounding areas.
On Thursday, chances for afternoon storms reached about 40%, with a short break before an 80% chance of rainfall Saturday.
Durfee said after five continuous years of dry weather, much of the Mountain Area and Valley are close or above seasonal averages.
For the Southern Sierra region, the latest survey by the state Department of Water Resources Monday showed the area at 94% of its normal level, or about 10 inches, for snow water equivalents.
“Remember, 94% is a far cry from this time last year,” Durfee said. “We only had about 35% of normal last year in what was the driest January on record. So it’s encouraging to see some good progress as these storms continue.”
During last week’s tempests, flooding and icy roadways caused hazards for drivers across the mountains, and as far south as Rocky Cut along Highway 41 north of Road 208.
Numerous locations in the Mountain Area either approached or exceeded three inches of rain in 48-hour periods, as clouds continued their downpour.
From 48 hours from the morning Jan. 5 to Jan. 7, the Bass Lake Marina received 3.48 inches of rain, North Fork saw 3.25 inches, Yosemite Lakes Park 2.84 inches, and the Oakhurst Sheriff Substation 2.33 inches. Storms of that size and intensity, not counting additional amounts both before and after that period, hadn’t been seen since 2010, meteorologists said.