More rain in the central San Joaquin Valley and snow in the Sierra hit Wednesday, less than a day after the latest wave of storms to pound California gave the region a thorough soaking. The weather will return Thursday morning, but the area should dry out by Friday and into the weekend.
As of 1 p.m. Wednesday, Fresno had received 0.51 inches of rain over a 24-hour span. Merced recorded 0.45 inches; Madera, 0.41; and Visalia, 0.19.
The latest storm brings Fresno’s rain totals since Oct. 1 to 7.22 inches – nearly twice the 30-year average for this date (4.19 inches). The city had 2.66 inches in the first 10 days of January.
Yosemite Valley, which was closed to visitors and most employees over the weekend, reopened Tuesday morning with limited services. On Wednesday, the park opened all overnight lodging and restarted concessions and other food services.
The Highway 140 (El Portal Road) entrance to Yosemite reopened Wednesday morning. Hetch Hetchy Road also has opened to traffic.
In the Huron area, flooding closed Highway 269 from Palmer Avenue to 3 miles north of Huron. The highway will remain closed for several days, and a detour is available, Caltrans reports.
In addition, Dinkey Creek Road in the mountains of eastern Fresno County was closed to through traffic due to a washout, but reopened again late Wednesday, Fresno County road maintenance manager Randy Ishii said. Sugarloaf and Acorn roads, two private streets that were closed Tuesday night, will likely require several days of repairs before reopening, Ishii said.
Although sandbags are still available in many Valley locations, the Tranquillity, Area 2 Road Yard at Denver and Lincoln avenues in Fresno County is out of sand, and officials don’t expect there will be more coming, Ishii said.
And chain controls are in place on Highway 168 from Balsam Meadow Sno-Park to China Peak Mountain Resort, which reported it was opening some of its ski lifts Wednesday. The ski area was closed Tuesday because the area at the bottom of the runs was “covered in water” after receiving about 10 inches of rain, according to China Peak’s website.
Chain controls are also in place along Highway 180 from just east of the Highway 245 junction to Hume Lake Road and on Highway 41 from a half-mile south of Fish Camp to the Yosemite National Park boundary.
Cooler temperatures and more rain showers are in the forecast for Thursday.
In the Sierra, the snow level was at 8,000 feet Tuesday, with 4 feet of new snow possible by Wednesday. Come Thursday, the snow level will drop to 3,500 feet as a colder storm arrives.
Tuolumne Meadows in Yosemite measured 20 inches of new snow during a 24-hour period ending Wednesday morning.
Sequoia National Park recorded 3 inches of snow at Grant Grove and 5.5 inches in Lodgepole as of Wednesday morning.
Skies should start to clear Friday, and no rain or snow is forecast for the weekend.
Flooding that forced evacuations of some North Fork residents continued through Tuesday and into Wednesday. Residents of 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.
In Prather, a collapsed roof has forced closure of the post office at 29460 Auberry Road. Post office box customers can pick up their mail at the Auberry post office at 33012 Auberry Road. That office is open from 9 to 11:30 a.m. and noon to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.
In addition, retail services are available at Tollhouse post office, 28425 Gibbs Ranch Road, Tollhouse; Shaver Lake post office, 40677 Shaver Forest Road, Shaver Lake; and North Fork post office, 33173 Road 222, North Fork. Stamps can be purchased at the CVS at 29412 Auberry Road in Prather.
Back at Yosemite National Park, officials 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.
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 cfs, according to the U.S. Geological Survey, which measures the flow near the town of Friant.
The rash of winter storms has also increased the snowpack in the central Sierra Nevada from 12.1 inches last Friday to 20.5 inches on Wednesday. The latest total is 156 percent of the typical annual average for Jan. 11.
Storm totals, Saturday to Wednesday morning
Fresno: 2.32 inches
Source: National Weather Service