The central San Joaquin Valley braced for another winter storm expected to bring up to two inches of rain Monday, and the wet pattern will continue into the week.
Valley residents got a reprieve Sunday morning and afternoon while the Saturday storm – predicted to be the worst in five years – lingered in Northern California. However, rain and wind from a new system were expected to move into the Valley Sunday evening and into Monday.
Crews throughout the region were dealing Sunday with damage caused by Saturday’s rainfall. The entrance to Sequoia National Park was cleared and reopened, but officials were planning to close it again Sunday night in anticipation of the next storm.
Just outside the Sequoia National Park entrance, trees and rocks blocked lanes at North Fork Drive just north of Highway 198 Sunday afternoon, said the California Highway Patrol. A loader was needed to remove the debris, which completely covered the road, said CHP.
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On the westside, a rock slide on Highway 198 and Parkfield Grade about 10 miles southwest of Coalinga caused “basketball-sized boulders” to slide into the road Sunday morning, according to the CHP. The road was clear by afternoon.
On the eastern side of Highway 198, the Generals Highway in Sequoia was reopened just after 11 a.m., but the highway remained closed at the crossing into Kings Canyon National Park. Crews were working to remove trees and mud from the road due to rock slides, the park said. Visitors were unable to access the giant sequoias, Potwisha Campground, Giant Forest Museum or Lodgepole areas. Anyone with reservations to Wuksachi Lodge was asked to call in advance.
Brandy Bradford, an employee at Reimers Candy & Gifts in Three Rivers, said there hadn’t been much rain at her shop, but the adjacent Kaweah River was running quickly. Saturday was a busy day, as travelers moved in and out of the park, but Sunday was slow for business.
Just after midnight Sunday a mudslide caused road blockage on Highway 168 near Indian Camp Road, Caltrans said.
In Madera County, the sheriff’s department closed Road 620 at the Carter Creek crossing after the creek overflowed and washed out the roadway Sunday morning.
Between Saturday and Sunday afternoon, Three Rivers received 0.90 inches of rain, while Oakhurst had 5.93 inches, the National Weather Service office in Hanford reported. Fresno Yosemite International Airport had 0.57 inches. Wishon Dam had 4.25 inches, Dinkey Creek by Shaver Lake had 4 inches, and Clovis had just over a half an inch. Madera registered just over a quarter of an inch.
A flood watch is in effect for the San Joaquin Valley through 4 p.m. Monday. The east side of the Valley could get up to two more inches of rain, but the west side and south end will only top out at 0.75 inches, said the weather service.
A flash-flood watch remained in place for the Sierra and foothills.
A wind advisory was in effect for the west side of the Valley, including Avenal and Coalinga, until 10 p.m. Sunday. Wind speeds were to reach 25 mph with 40 mph gusts. The advisory also covered the Grapevine where Interstate 5 crosses it. There, gusts up to 55 mph were expected.
The weather service said rain would be heavy at times throughout the evening in Fresno, and by Monday morning, isolated showers will move into areas of the Valley. It predicted about three-quarters of an inch of rain by Monday morning.
Foothill areas will see another one to four inches of rain, said the NWS.
The snow level will drop in the Sierra Monday from 10,000 feet to 6,000.
Rain is forecast in the Valley through Thursday before giving way to mostly cloudy skies on Friday for Fresno. Highs will remain in the 50s to low 60s; lows will be in the 40s.
The weekend will feature a return of dense fog, said the weather service.
No significant power outages have been reported due to the weather, according to PG&E.
To report a road issue:
Fresno (city): 559-621-2489
Fresno County: 559-488-3111
Madera (city): 559-675-4200
Madera County: 559-675-7811
Tulare County: 559-624-7000
Kings County: 911
Merced County: 209-385-7601
Kern County: 800-427-7623