More rain, snow headed to Valley; Badger Pass opens for skiing Saturday

The Fresno BeeFebruary 7, 2014 

Storm clouds blanket granite rock formations in Yosemite National Park on Friday. Rain showers may continue into Monday.

ANDY ALFARO — THE MODESTO BEE

The Badger Pass Ski Area in Yosemite National Park is set to open Saturday for the first time this winter thanks to this week's storms that brought badly needed precipitation to the Sierra and central San Joaquin Valley.

By Friday afternoon, rain had reached as far south as Visalia and Hanford. National Weather Service rain sensors in Fresno weren't working Friday, but the last readings recorded a season total of about 2.16 inches of rain -- much lower than the 6.3-inch average for this time of the rain season that begins annually on July 1.

Rain sensors in nearby Madera recorded about .09 inches as of Friday afternoon.

This weekend the Valley remains in the middle of two different weather situations: dry conditions in Southern California, and abundant rain in the north, said meteorologist David Spector with the National Weather Service office in Hanford.

The "rain/no rain" line will stay somewhere between Madera and Delano, Spector said.

Snow was falling in the Sierra at about 6,500 feet in elevation Friday afternoon. But by Saturday, the elevation for snow will rise to over 8,000 feet, he said.

Officials at Badger Pass announced Friday that their slopes will open for skiers and snowboarders -- but not snow tubers.

Operators at the already-open China Peak Mountain Resort in Lakeshore reported Friday that 6 inches of new snow fell on their slopes in the last 24 hours, and about 21/2 feet of snow had fallen over the past seven days.

Rain showers may continue into Monday in Fresno, but dry conditions are expected for the rest of next week, Spector said, with highs in the upper 60s and lows likely in the mid 40s.

The northern Bay Area could see as much as 9 inches of rain before the storm rolls out Monday morning, the weather service said.

Forecasters said measurable rain over the weekend likely would not fall farther south than San Luis Obispo and northern Santa Barbara counties as a ridge of high pressure pushes up from the south.

The reporter can be reached at (559) 441-6386, cgeorge@fresnobee.com or @CarmenGeorge on Twitter. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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