A high wind watch is in effect Thursday night to Friday evening in the Mountain Area, with National Weather Service meteorologists predicting winds nearing the strength of a Category 1 hurricane.
Scott Rowe, with the NWS office in Hanford, said in Yosemite National Park, Fish Camp, and possibly areas as low in elevation as Bass Lake, residents could see consistent north to northeast winds starting at 40 mph, and gusts as strong as 70 mph.
“We are expecting strong crosswinds on highways, especially for areas located down in canyons,” said Rowe, adding a Category 1 hurricane starts at wind speeds of 74 mph. “With the number of dead trees in California’s forests, there’s potential for numerous trees to fall on structures as well as roadways.”
The wind watch stretches from Yosemite National Park to the Fresno and Tulare county line, Rowe said.
He said the public should remain cautious and alert, whether out in their car or resting at home, with the strongest gusts expected around sunrise Friday.
“If you live in an area near dead trees, be mindful that they could be blowing over,” Rowe said. “We don’t know how strong the winds have to be to blow over some dead trees. We’re kind of in unknown territory there, but everyone should stay aware it could happen.”
Also, beginning Friday night into Saturday morning, a freeze watch was issued for the Valley, Rowe said, in areas like Fresno, Merced, and Hanford.
Though the Mountain Area has already seen freezing temperatures this year, Rowe offered tips on dealing with the cold weather.
“The best thing to say, for folks who may not have experienced a frost yet, is to bring sensitive plants indoors or cover them with blankets,” Rowe said. “Also, pets who may be sensitive to cold weather should either be brought indoors or given a warm place outside.”
In Oakhurst, temperatures were expected to reach into the low 30s Thursday and Friday, with even lower temperatures at higher elevations such as Bass Lake and Fish Camp.
Rowe said freeze watches aren’t issued for the Mountain Area, as temperatures often drop below 32 degrees.
For the latest Mountain Area forecasts, click here.