The winter storm that started Friday got stronger as it barreled south through the state, National Weather Service meteorologist James Andersen said.
The storm dropped 0.39 inches of rain at Fresno Yosemite International Airport. In Tulare and Kings counties, rainfall totals topped half an inch. And Bakersfield broke a rainfall record set in 1942 of 0.76 inches.
In the central Sierra, the snowline was about 4,000 feet. The weather service reported 8 inches of snow had fallen in Bass Lake. In Yosemite Valley, 14 inches of snow were recorded.
The weather service didn’t have a report for Shaver Lake, but the visitor’s bureau estimated 6 to 8 inches – and more coming down as of 2 p.m. Saturday. At midday, families relishing a white Christmas around the lake were out under a mix of patchy clouds and clear blue skies.
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Farther south, the Grapevine route on Interstate 5 shut down for a few hours Saturday morning because of snow before reopening just after 8:30 a.m. Wind gusts to 45 mph were reported and more snow was expected at higher elevations in the region. The Grapevine got about 2 inches of snow Friday night into Saturday morning.
The California Highway Patrol reminded that anyone traveling to the mountains should carry chains.
The year has proven to be wetter than normal, according to Anderson.
Since January, Fresno has received 13.56 inches of rain. That’s more than 2 inches better than the historic yearly average for the past 30 years.
Flooding in Fresno
Fresno Fire Department spokesman Hector Vasquez said several areas in the city experienced flooding, and the Fire Department also responded to vehicle accidents likely caused by the storm Friday, including a car that hit a pole.
A storm drain that wasn’t working properly was blamed for flooding two central Fresno homes. Vasquez said firefighters responded to the homes on Marks Avenue just north of Ashlan Avenue around 8 p.m. Friday. At least two families were evacuated.
In all, six people were being assisted by the Red Cross, Vasquez said. The city’s flood control units worked with the Fire Department for about three hours to clean up the flooding.
Rain in Oakhurst
The South Gate Brewing Co. in Oakhurst saw good business despite the rain there. About 0.80 inches of rain were recorded in Oakhurst, the weather service reported.
“We actually had a very busy night,” said South Gate Brewing general manager Andrew Platfoot.
Platfoot reported mostly sunny skies in Oakhurst on Saturday and said the rain stopped falling around 1 a.m.
The central San Joaquin Valley saw sunny and clear skies Saturday, but clouds that started to move in were expected to bring a small chance of scattered showers. Andersen of the weather service office in Hanford said it wouldn’t be anything significant.
Anderson said, while the storm system impacted traffic and travel, it helped the southern regions still battling drought: “It’s good that we’re getting this precipitation.”
Looking ahead to next week, Andersen said the moisture brought by the storm will mean fog in the Valley starting sometime Monday and probably lingering during early mornings and nights through Friday.
Wet in L.A.
Rain from the storm made December the wettest month in downtown Los Angeles in six years.
The weather service said 1 1/2 inches of rain hit downtown Los Angeles, lifting this month’s total rainfall above 4 inches. That’s nearly twice the normal rainfall in December and marks the wettest month since December 2010, when more than 10 inches of rain fell.
The eastern San Gabriel Mountains got up to 16 inches of snow.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Valley rain totals
From the Friday storm
Fresno 0.39 inches
Madera 0.40 inches
Hanford 0.52 inches
Porterville 0.67 inches
Sierra snow totals
Bass Lake 8 inches
Tuolumne Meadows 16 inches
Yosemite Valley 14 inches
Hetch Hetchy 10 inches