Saturday’s sunny skies provided only a brief respite between the storms pummeling the Valley and Sierra, with more rain due to hit the Fresno area Sunday night and continue into Monday.
On Saturday, the National Weather Service in Hanford issued a winter weather advisory starting Sunday evening, with the potential for snow-covered roads and rock and mudslides in the Sierra. The warning was expected to last until Monday evening.
Friday’s storm produced heavy torrents and flooding in some areas, including north Fresno and Clovis and the foothills. Brief spotty storms pounded the Valley floor and produced 1-inch-sized hail at times as they moved east into Clovis, said Carlos Molina, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Hanford.
At Herndon Avenue and Highway 99, eight-tenths of an inch of rain fell Friday afternoon in just a half-hour at one point, according to the National Weather Service. That became a problem for Fresno’s storm drain system, which is designed to handle only as much as a half-inch per hour.
In the Mariposa County mountains, about 2.5 inches of rain fell by the time the storms ended Friday night, triggering mudslides in some areas; Molina said that was about four to five times the seasonal average for that area. The Fresno area totaled about a half- to three-quarters of an inch of rain Friday.
Molina said the spotty storms are quite normal for this time of the year, and winter storms like it can be expected until April. “What was different this time was that another (storm) formed right behind it,” he said.
Three storm systems dropped rain in the Mariposa area. Only two storms passed through north Fresno on Friday, Molina said. The storms started early because of a cold front, and as one storm ended, another with low and dark clouds already had formed as it continued moving east.
For Sunday, rain will return mostly for the mountain areas, bringing 1 to 1.5 inches of rain there. The mountain storm is expected to produce about 12 to 18 inches of snow, with isolated areas receiving 20 inches of snow above 6,000 feet.
The same system could also dampen the Valley floor with about one-tenth to one-third of an inch of rain.
The rest of the week is expected to be dry until about Friday, when more rain will arrive.
Fog late in the night and early in the morning is expected when it is not raining, Molina said.
He cautioned drivers who go out into the low-visibility conditions to slow down. Dense fog had reduced visibility Tuesday before at least 50 vehicles crashed on Highway 198 in Hanford.