Somewhat rare sight: snow hits westside coastal range from Monday night storm
Two major storms last week dumped snow and rain on the Valley and the foothills with yet another storming looming that could bring flooding to many parts of the region.
The San Joaquin Valley could see between a half of an inch to an inch and a half of rain on Wednesday, while the foothills and High Sierras are projected to receive another coat of snow, according to the National Weather Service.
“We have a lot of water already here and there is going to be more rainfall, which means there is a threat of flooding,” said Colin McKellar, meteorologist with the National Weather Service.
A flood watch has been issued for the Sierra Foothills below 5,000 feet and the entire San Joaquin Valley from late Tuesday night through Thursday.
This past weekend, Fresno saw a total of .73 inches of rainfall, said McKellar, putting Fresno .26 inches above the normal measurement for Feb. 11. Fresno’s weekend rainfall totals proved to be above average for the San Joaquin Valley, with most areas receiving between a third to a half an inch of rain.
A half an inch of rain fell over the weekend in Merced, causing Highway 59 in the vicinity of Mariposa Creek to close Sunday evening due to flooding. The Weather Service said the flooding should persist until Wednesday afternoon due to the incoming storm.
Snowfall was heavy near Yosemite National Park last weekend. Monday morning, Fish Camp and Yosemite Valley measured 14 inches and 24 inches of snowfall during the last 24 hours, respectively.
According to park officials, Highways 120 and 41 inside of Yosemite National Park remained closed as of Monday morning due to the heavy snow, while all roads inside Yosemite Valley require snow chains.
About 150 Yosemite concession workers were displaced after the recent snowstorms damaged employee housing, park officials reported on Friday.
Outside of the park, snow chains are required along Highway 41 from 2 miles north of Big Cedar Springs in Madera County through the Yosemite National Park entrance.
Snow levels reached as low as 1,900 feet, with a half an inch of snow dropping down in Coarsegold.
Chawanakee Unified School District and Yosemite Unified School District in eastern Madera County were forced to start school late due to the snowfall.
A Winter Storm Watch has been issued for the southern Sierra Nevada from Yosemite to Kings Canyon and the Tulare County Mountains.
More snow could hit the foothills as early as Tuesday night, forecasters said.
Oakhurst could receive between 1 to 3 inches Tuesday night and another 3 to 5 inches on Wednesday, and a similar forecast is in place for Yosemite Valley.
The High Sierras could see between 1 to 3 feet of snow at elevations above 7,000 feet and as much as 1 foot of snow at elevations between 5,000 and 7,000 feet.
“It’s a warmer system because it’s coming in from the South, so we could be seeing higher snow levels,” McKellar said.
McKellar said there was still the amount of snowfall this system would bring was still fluctuating and more accurate forecasts would be available Tuesday.
“We’re still looking at the evolution of the system,” he said.
The storm is part of the same system that will also be invading parts of Central and Northern California, including the northern and central portions of the Sierra Nevada.