A New Year’s Eve storm dropped 5 inches of snow on the mountains near the Interstate 5 Grapevine and brought less than an inch of rain to Fresno, the National Weather Service said.
The snow on the Grapevine caused the California Highway Patrol to briefly close the route between Southern California and the San Joaquin Valley. At 11:30 p.m., the CHP was pacing southbound traffic beginning at Laval Road and northbound traffic at Lake Hughes Road. The CHP was also pacing eastbound traffic on Highway 58 (the route from the Valley to Las Vegas) at Highway 233.
Grapevine gets 5 inches of snow
About 5 inches of snow was recorded at the Grapevine during Saturday’s storm.
Brian Ochs, a meteorologist in the National Weather Service Hanford office, said about an inch of slush was reported on Interstate 5 over the Grapevine. Snow in Kern County came down to areas of around 2,500 feet, Ochs said. He said Kern County took the brunt of the storm.
Fresno records .09 inches of rain
Fresno received .09 inches of rain by 4 p.m. The Sierras were expected to get up to 4 inches of snow, with snow levels dropping as low as 5,000 feet, but by Saturday afternoon the mountains had received little to no snow, the weather service said.
Meteorologists said they expected 1 to 3 inches of snow along I-5 in the Grapevine’s higher elevations between 4 p.m. and 10 p.m., possibly leading to freeway closures.
Crash on I-5
Fog may have played a role in multiple-vehicle crashes Saturday on I-5 near the Highway 99 split south of Bakersfield that killed two Manteca residents.
The California Highway Patrol website reported that the sound of multiple crashes could be heard Saturday morning as vehicles drove south into the foggy crash area. Traffic was diverted over to Highway 99 as I-5 remained closed for many hours.
Meteorologist Kevin Durfree said a hard freeze is forecast for the Valley on Wednesday and Thursday, but a warmer system is expected to move in by the end of the week.
The rainy weather combined with cold temperatures is expected to produce heavy fog Sunday night from the Fresno area southward, with visibility as low as a quarter mile, Ochs said.
Ochs said the coming week looks busy for the San Joaquin Valley. Starting Monday evening, a 20 percent chance of rain is predicted. That grows on Tuesday night into Wednesday, when a 60 percent chance of rain is expected. When the bulk of rainfall comes Wednesday, about a quarter of an inch to half an inch is expected for the Fresno area.
“We’re looking at a pretty active pattern for the coming week,” Ochs said.
Another system will creep up Thursday. A 30 percent chance of rain is expected for Friday. The Valley can expect a 70 percent chance of rain for next weekend.