A wave of cold, wet weather will hit the central San Joaquin Valley just in time for New Year’s Day, and the storms could impede holiday travelers heading to Southern California.
Meteorologist Kevin Durfee with the National Weather Service in Hanford said several storm systems will move into the Valley over the next week, bringing rain, snow and subfreezing temperatures.
The first storm has already hit the South Valley. As of 4 p.m., 0.53 inches of rain had fallen in Porterville. Visalia and Hanford each registered 0.01 inches. The rain is not expected to reach Fresno, and this storm will move east and out of California by Saturday. A winter weather advisory is in place.
But a colder storm should hit Fresno and the surrounding areas by New Year’s Eve. This polar system could bring snow onto the Grapevine on Interstate 5 connecting the Valley with Southern California, which Durfee said will likely lead to closures – especially between 6 p.m. and midnight. Evening snow could also hit the foothill communities, with snow levels as low as 2,000 feet.
Durfee said a still colder system will hit the Valley on Monday and into Tuesday, bringing “the coldest weather of the season” with it. How cold? The forecast calls for overnight lows in the low 20s, and high temperatures likely won’t climb above 40. A hard freeze should hit the Valley on Wednesday and Thursday.