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Storm sets rain records in Valley, drops snow on the Sierra

Taking coffee orders in the rain ... and loving it

A big storm is bringing rain to the Fresno area, which was just fine for a 'bro-ista' and security guard at the Dutch Bros. coffee kiosk at Bullard and West avenues on Monday, Nov. 2, 2015.
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A big storm is bringing rain to the Fresno area, which was just fine for a 'bro-ista' and security guard at the Dutch Bros. coffee kiosk at Bullard and West avenues on Monday, Nov. 2, 2015.

A storm that swept through the central San Joaquin Valley on Monday brought record rainfall for the date and snow to the Sierra, and more rain may hit the region Tuesday before skies clear.

Showers are expected to linger into Tuesday morning, with precipitation continuing in the southern Sierra Nevada through Wednesday. But the showers will be so spread out that “you’d have to be lucky enough to be under it in order to see it,” said Carlos Molina, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Hanford.

In Fresno, 0.6 of an inch of rain was recorded by 4 p.m. Monday, more than double the previous record for the date set in 1957. Elsewhere around the Valley, the story was much the same: Records were set in Madera (0.81 of an inch), Merced (0.97 of an inch) and Hanford (0.35 of an inch).

Dramatically cooler weather also is expected. The thermometer in Fresno reached only 64 degrees during the day Monday, and high temperatures were expected to remain in the low 60s Tuesday and Wednesday.

Snow levels were expected to dip from 9,000 to as low as 5,000 feet overnight, according to the National Weather Service in Hanford. China Peak Mountain Resort above Shaver Lake got a dusting, as did the slopes above Yosemite Valley. Tioga Road was closed in Yosemite National Park due to snow.

Other mountain passes also were closed due to snow: Highway 108 over Sonora Pass, and Highway 89 over Monitor Pass.

There will be isolated fog in the Lemoore and Hanford areas Tuesday morning, but Fresno isn’t likely to see fog until at least Tuesday night into Wednesday morning, Molina said. “It’s still too cloudy for fog tomorrow,” he said Monday night.

Valley rain totals as of 4 p.m. 1.54 inches: Oakhurst Sheriff Station and Shaver Lake 1.20 inches: Prather 0.7 inches: North Clovis 0.6 inches: Fresno 0.38 inches: Visalia

Forecasters said the storm could dump up to 8 inches of snow at about 7,000 feet in the Sierra Nevada, and possibly up to 12 inches of snow along the highest mountain peaks.

There were numerous vehicle crashes and collisions Monday morning caused by drivers unaccustomed to driving on rain-dampened streets, police said.

One crash near Ashlan and Weber avenues in central Fresno stopped Union Pacific trains in their tracks after a driver lost control and flipped a car onto the rails. The condition of the driver was not immediately known.

South of Bakersfield, a 20-car pile-up on southbound Highway 99 north of Road 223 about noon shut down two of three lanes of traffic, the California Highway Patrol said. Five people were taken to hospitals with minor injuries. The crash was blamed on blowing dust ahead of the storm.

Workers from Pacific Gas & Electric Co. also were out in force. A pole fire about 9:30 a.m. on the 1100 block of West Pontiac Avenue in Fresno cut power to about 180 customers.

The storm also brought risk of trouble to areas hit hard by wildfires earlier this year. Flash-flood warnings were posted in Yolo, Lake and Colusa counties, where heavy rain had the potential to unleash debris flows from burn areas, the weather service said.

“There was a concern for some kind of a mudslide from the Rough fire,” Molina said. But since the storm produced light rain for a long period of time instead of heavy rain for a short period of time, it’s more something to pay attention to rather than worry about, he said.

Some cities in the Bay Area saw nearly an inch of rain. Power outages and traffic accidents were widespread across the region.

In Southern California, forecasters warned of rough seas and gusty winds due to the cold, unstable air.

Staff writers Jim Guy and Troy Pope and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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