Meteorologists with the National Weather Service said storms over the Mountain Area Thursday were just the beginning, as a series of tempests will continually hover through the area into next week.
Bill Peterson, with the NWS office in Hanford, said Thursday’s storm would clear up around noon, and drop about a quarter inch of rain in Oakhurst.
He said Friday is when the more powerful deluge would begin, with up to 2 inches of rain expected in the Mountain Area forecast starting around 7 a.m.
A flash flood watch was issued from Yosemite to Kern County below 7,000 feet elevation during those Friday storms, Peterson said. A flood warning also remains in place along the San Joaquin River, he said, due to excessive releases from Friant Dam out of Millerton Lake.
A Winter Storm Warning was also issued from 7 a.m. Friday to 4 p.m. Saturday from Yosemite to Kern County, Peterson said, as somewhere between 10 to 20 inches of snow was expected to accumulate above 7,000 feet, alongside heavy gusts of wind up to 45 mph.
After that storm clears out Saturday, Peterson said there would be a short break in the rain before another storm would arrive late Sunday, followed by a second tempest on Monday.
“I would call this a very active weather pattern,” Peterson said. “For the last several years, we’ve had a below average amount of precipitation, and now we’re having an above average year, finally.”
The latest storms follow a short break after a week defined by floods, where the Fresno River sent yurts into a bridge and flooded an apartment complex in Oakhurst, and forced evacuations in North Fork.
From Feb. 6-10, the Bass Lake Ranger District in North Fork reported it received 7.5 inches of rain, bringing the season total (from July 1 - June 30) to 41.33 inches. The average annual rainfall in Eastern Madera County, through records kept since 1903, is 32 inches. More than three inches of rain fell on Tuesday, Feb. 7, when the brunt of the flooding took place.