Winter storm to hit Fresno; will bring rain, cold

A winter-like storm will close out a warm weekend, and Valley residents should expect rainfall and cooler temperatures Sunday night, the National Weather Service said.

Sunday will be mostly sunny with a high of 77 degrees. But clouds will build during the day and there is a 50 percent chance of rain Sunday night. That increases to 90 percent overnight into Monday as the storm system moves in.

Rainfall is expected in Fresno before 11 a.m. on Monday, and then showers and possibly a thunderstorm are expected that afternoon, said Jim Andersen, meteorologist with the National Weather Service office in Hanford.

Andersen said it’s hard to predict the amount of rain that will fall in Fresno, but the weather service expects one-tenth to a quarter-inch or more.

The storm also will bring cold air that will lower the week’s temperatures to slightly below average, Andersen said. The high for Monday is expected to be 64 degrees and the rest of the week will be “relatively chilly,” he said. After Monday, the high temperatures will slowly climb back toward 69 degrees by Friday.

Additionally, the storm initially will bring snow to the southern Sierra Nevada above 9,000 feet, and as the storm continues southward, snow is expected as low as 7,000 feet, Andersen said.

“The precipitation will turn showery and the snow level over the southern Sierra Nevada will lower to nearly 6,000 feet by the time most of the showers taper off Monday evening,” the National Weather Service said.

A winter storm watch has been issued for the Sierra from Yosemite to Kings Canyon national parks. It would affect drivers heading into the mountains, especially Sunday night into Monday. Motorists using Highways 168 and 180 above 5,000 feet are cautioned to be prepared for slick conditions.