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Officials urge caution as Bass Lake approaches spill levels. Mudslide fears shutter other roads

Nestled in the pine trees, Bass Lake is a favorite spot for boating fishing, camping or just taking a walk along the shore.
Nestled in the pine trees, Bass Lake is a favorite spot for boating fishing, camping or just taking a walk along the shore. ARCHIVE

PG&E warned Bass Lake could reach spillage levels on Wednesday or Thursday due to the storm in the southern Sierra Nevada foothills.

According to PG&E, Bass Lake sits at 3,364 feet of elevation and its spill gates are located at 3,366 feet.

“It’s not unusual for PG&E’s reservoirs to spill during the wettest parts of normal winters, because they tend to have less storage and are located at much higher elevations than state and federal multi-year water storage reservoirs like Millerton Lake and Pine Flat,” utility spokesman Denny Boyles said in a news release.

The Yosemite Gateway Partners also announced the storm led Caltrans to preemptively close a stretch of Highway 140 that sits near the Ferguson Fire burn scar beginning at 3 p.m. Wednesday.

The now-closed 17-mile stretch of the highway from Bear Creek near Midpines to Foresta Road in El Portal – approximately 4 miles west of the Yosemite National Park entrance – runs a risk of mudslides and falling debris.

The foothill communities of Madera, Mariposa and Fresno counties remain under a flash flood watch through Thursday morning and the areas were expected to see between 2 to 4 inches of rainfall on Wednesday and Thursday, with as much as 6 inches expected in some isolated areas, according to the National Weather Service.

A winter storm warning is in place through Thursday night for the Sierra Nevada from Yosemite to Kings Canyon and Tulare County Mountains above 5,000 feet.

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