Three feet of snow is expected to fall on Yosemite National Park this week as two storm systems move east from the Pacific.
Rain and heavy winds are in the forecast for much of the central San Joaquin Valley floor.
National Weather Service Hanford meteorologist Carlos Molina said that as much as 18 inches of snow is forecast at the height of each passing storm this week. The first storm is expected by midweek and the other on Friday, Molina said.
Yosemite has struggled with open visits from tourists as the federal government remains in a partial shutdown and has led to furloughs for park staff as well as an increased number of unsupervised activities.
The lapse in adequate staffing and “urgent needs” at the most highly-visited national parks like Yosemite prompted the federal government and the park service to tap into visitor fees to fund cleanup and staffing efforts. Visitors to Yosemite are not paying visit fees as long as the shutdown continues.
The weather in lower elevations like Oakhurst will be mostly rain for the coming week. Warm temperatures will keep snow from forming at those elevations. Molina said Oakhurst can expect rain until about sunset Monda. A short break will arrive on Tuesday, then rain returns later in the week.
In the Valley, the Fresno and Merced areas will see mostly dry weather Monday and Tuesday. Fog will cover the Fresno area early morning until about noon Monday. Molina said the Valley should prepare for more showers on Wednesday around sunrise time. Light rain will cover much of the Valley into the afternoon, he said.
Molina said Friday’s storm will be similar to Wednesday’s, with winds of about 20 to 30 mph arriving before the rain.
The Fresno area is predicted to get one third of an inch of rain with both storms this week, while the Merced area is forecast to get half an inch during both storms, according to Molina.