The flooding that forced evacuations of some North Fork residents continued Tuesday as the central San Joaquin Valley braced for the next storm in what is becoming a deluge of weather.
Residents of the Bass Lake Mobile Home Park and on parts of Church Street had to evacuate Monday when an overflowing Willow Creek sent water around their homes.
One bit of good news Tuesday was shared by the Park Service: It reopened Generals Highway in Sequoia National Park.
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▪ The storms have greatly increased the flow in the San Joaquin River.
▪ China Peak ski area was closed Tuesday because the area at the bottom of the runs was soaked in water.
Mud and rock slides, as well as fallen trees, had forced the closure of Generals Highway several times since the weekend. Those problems were cleared up so motorists could again gain access to the big trees, Potwisha Campground, Giant Forest Museum, the General Sherman Tree and the Lodgepole area.
To do any such sightseeing, motorists must have tire chains or cables and be prepared to put them on when ordered by park rangers. Snow will be falling at higher elevations over the next few days, the Park Service said.
People entering Sequoia National Park cannot drive Generals Highway to Kings Canyon National Park. The roadway between the parks is shut down in the normal winter closure.
Yosemite National Park said the El Portal Road (Highway 140) into Yosemite was opened to controlled traffic Tuesday, but would close again for the night at 6 p.m. based on weather and rockfall concerns.
Yosemite Valley, which was closed to visitors and most employees over the weekend, reopened Tuesday morning with limited services. Overnight accommodations and services are expected to be fully operational Wednesday.
Park Service officials, meanwhile, said they continue to assess flood impacts and needed repairs from the weekend's storm. The Merced River, swollen with high-elevation runoff, crested at 12.7 feet early Monday, flooding meadows, roadways and some visitor facilities, including parts of Housekeeping Camp and Half Dome (formerly Curry) Village.
One destination remained closed, however.
China Peak ski area was closed Tuesday because the area at the bottom of the runs is “still covered in water” after receiving about 10 inches of rain, according to an update on China Peak’s website.
The ski area near Huntington Lake expects to receive heavy snowfall in the next 24-36 hours. “No filter here ... roads will not be great getting up here, it is a good choice to stay home today,” the website read.
The recent storms have greatly increased the flow in the San Joaquin River.
On Jan. 3, the river was flowing at about 200 cubic feet per second. On Tuesday morning, the river was flowing at 6,380 cubic feet per second, according to the U.S. Geological Survey, which measures the flow near the town of Friant.
Gray skies and dry conditions gave way Tuesday afternoon to the next storm to hit the waterlogged Valley. From Tuesday evening to Wednesday morning, nearly an inch or more of rain was forecast to fall on the Valley’s east side. Winds were expected to gust to 40 mph in Fresno, Kings and Tulare counties.
In the Sierra, the snow level was at 8,000 feet, with four feet of new snow possible by Wednesday. Come Thursday, the snow level will drop to 3,500 feet as a colder storm arrives. It will not have the moisture content of previous storms.
Skies should start to clear Friday, and no rain or snow is forecast for the coming weekend.
Rain totals, Saturday through Tuesday:
Source: National Weather Service