The Valley’s weather will make a 180-degree turn for Mother’s Day weekend — from a storm system that brought rain, hail and snow to Valley and Sierra to plenty of sun and cranked-up heat.
The mercury in Fresno and the Valley will touch well into the 80s, with Fresno’s high Sunday forecast at 86 degrees, said Carlos Molina, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Hanford. Saturday’s high is expected to reach 80 degrees; weekend lows are projected in the low 50s.
The latest system, which came in late Wednesday from the Northwest, brought about a tenth of an inch of rain to most of Fresno, Kings and Tulare counties. Several areas reported hail, lighting and strong winds as well, Molina said.
Merced and Madera counties tallied about 0.25 of an inch of rain. Some higher elevations in Yosemite received up to a foot of snow.
The Valley has received 6.12 inches since Oct. 1, but that’s still about half the seasonal average for this time of year of 10.82 inches.
The Valley will continue to get hotter and drier as June approaches, with most of the daytime highs staying in the 80s throughout the coming week. But a small window remains for more thunderstorms, which are relatively common in May, Molina said.
Another storm system is projected to hit the Valley by next Friday, Molina said, adding this one is “showing a very similar pattern to the storm that just occurred.” However, Molina cautioned that most of that system, as of now, is more likely to hit farther north, like Sacramento and the Bay Area.
“We’re hoping the one on Friday continues in this direction,” he said.
Elsewhere in California, the hit-and-miss system meant a May snow day shuttered schools in the Rim of the World district atop the San Bernardino Mountains east of Los Angeles.
Several inches fell in tiny Lee Vining, a town with about 200 people at 6,700 feet just east of Yosemite National Park.
“It’s more than we got all winter!” said Leslie Rangel, who works at Nicely’s restaurant. The snow was heavy and wet, but it was not likely to stick around long because temperatures were rising fast, she said.
In the San Bernardino range, preschool teacher Karen Day said the weather turned windy and cold overnight in Running Springs, and the community woke up to 3 inches of snow – enough for children to build a snowman.
More than a foot of snow fell in some areas south of U.S. 50, according to the National Weather Service office in Sacramento.
That’s the general area where Gov. Jerry Brown stood April 1 in dry brown grass at what would normally be a snowpack depth-measuring site and ordered mandatory water restrictions because of the yearslong drought.
While this week’s dousing will not ease the state’s worsening water shortage, it did extend the ski season at one Eastern Sierra resort.
After getting a foot of new snow by Friday morning, Mammoth Mountain canceled plans to wrap up the season with final runs Sunday afternoon. The resort said the season will continue for a week and maybe longer.