After the recent heavy rains and showers, much of the central San Joaquin Valley and foothill areas will see about five days without rain, with new concerns focused on water releases from overfilled dams.
A flood warning went out Saturday morning for areas along the San Joaquin River, where the National Weather Service office in Hanford said water released from Friant Dam could cause flooding downriver.
It was unclear when water would be released from Friant Dam, but the weather service reported that Friant Dam had increased the water release for Saturday morning to between 7,000 and 8,000 cubic feet per second.
A little north, flood warnings also were in effect for the communities of Le Grand and Planada because of water that is rising on Mariposa Creek and Owens Creek.
The warning was reported by the Army Corps of Engineers just before 4 a.m. Saturday.
The weather service said Mariposa Dam and Owens Dam were overflowing and lower communities were in danger of being flooded. The flood warning there was expected to last until 6:15 p.m. Saturday, if not extended.
Hanford meteorologist William Peterson said areas along the San Joaquin River, which runs along the northern edge of Fresno, are on flood watch “until further notice.” Water could rise throughout the weekend because of the release from the dam.
The weather service said neighborhoods and golf courses along the banks of the river could see minor flooding by Monday.
Peterson said Fresno received about 0.17 inches of rain in 24 hours ending at 2 p.m. Saturday. Friant Dam received 0.24 inches, and higher elevation areas like Dinkey Creek got more than an inch of rain.
Tuolomne Meadows in Yosemite National Park got about 12 inches of new snow. Grant Grove in Kings Canyon National Park received 30 new inches of snow, Peterson said. He added that elevations above 8,000 feet got snow while lower elevations stayed wet with rain.
Recent storms in Fresno have raised the total rainfall accumulation to 11.11 inches since the start of the rain season Oct. 1, nearly 5 inches above the seasonal average of 6.39 inches. Peterson said that is about 176 percent above average.
The next five days will be mostly cloudy with slight drizzles but no significant rain, Peterson said. The next big storm system is not expected until Thursday.
Peterson said the wet weather is definitely putting a dent on the drought conditions in the Valley. Even so, he said, there is “still a lot of catching up to do.”