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Valley gets one more shot of rain before skies clear

After receiving a good soaking, the central San Joaquin Valley got a chance to dry out briefly Sunday before the next storm rolled in.

The Valley can expect one more day of rain before the latest storm moves out of the region, providing a few days of dry weather before the next set of storms arrives later this week.

Elsewhere in California, heavy rain led to evacuations and rescues in some low-lying areas, and thousands of people remained without power Sunday after powerful winds toppled trees and power lines.

In the Valley, though, there were no evacuations needed, said Jose Quintana, a dispatch officer with the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

Jim Dudley, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Hanford, said the weekend’s first two storms, which moved out Sunday morning, were fueled by a fairly warm air mass that allowed them to dump rain, with snow in the higher elevations.

“Lots of moisture, but not very cold,” Dudley said.

Fresno received a total of 1.19 inches of rain since Friday, with most of it falling with the latest storm, Dudley said. The South Valley got less rain with the two storms as Visalia received only 0.62 and Hanford got 0.55 inches.

The story was different in the foothills as Oakhurst got 3.12 inches, North Fork 3.76, and Bass Lake 4.40 inches of rain since Friday.

In Southern California, firefighters rescued four people stranded along the Los Angeles River in the Encino area.

Brian Humphrey of the Los Angeles Fire Department said firefighters were dispatched Sunday after receiving a report of a group of people and a large dog being stranded in the Los Angeles River, City News Service reported.

Three other people were able to free themselves, fire officials said.

Crews were clearing a homeless encampment in the area, they said, adding that no injuries were reported.

In Santa Cruz County, people living along Soquel Creek and the Upper San Lorenzo River were evacuated Saturday night because of rising water.

In the Sierra, the Sugar Bowl ski resort near Donner Summit reported 7 inches of new snow at the summit overnight and slopes full of people Saturday.

“When it snows, people are anxious to get up here and get to those fresh tracks,” said Lloyd Garden, Sugar Bowl’s marketing coordinator. “Die-hards love to ski when it’s snowing. It’s very peaceful, it’s quiet and the turns are fresh and great.”

Northeast of Fresno, the China Peak Mountain Resort reported 1 to 2 feet of snow by 8 a.m. Sunday. CEO Tim Cohee said the weather resulted in a slower weekend for the resort, with 1,000 visitors compared to 3,000 usually expected at this time.

Cohee expects attendance to climb in the following days, and for the weather to keep the slopes open for another month and a half. “At this point, we’re going to be open until April 24,” he said.

Along the coast at the Monterey Bay Aquarium, a wild sea otter sought shelter from stormy seas in the aquarium’s Great Tide Pool so she could give birth, and she had her pup in full view of a crowd of visitors and staffers.

“There it is!” someone shouted and a round of applause followed as the single pup came into the world on a large outcropping of rock amid a smattering of rain.

Dudley said the next storm will be colder than the previous storms, but won’t pack the same moisture punch. Fresno is expected to receive 0.42 inches of rain with the next storm through Monday, while Visalia could only expect 0.31 inches.

Snow levels in the central Sierra Nevada were expected to start around 5,000 feet Sunday night and drop to about 3,500 feet by noon Monday. Shaver Lake can expect 0.95 inches of rain and snow by the time the storm exits.

Staff writer Razi Syed contributed to this report. Paul Schlesinger: 559-441-6659, @PaulSch_Photog

Valley rain totals

(As of 4:24 p.m. Sunday)

Storm

Since Oct. 1

Yearly average

Fresno

1.19

11.14

11.5

Hanford

0.54

6.02

10.1

Madera

1.08

9.33

12.02

Source: National Weather Service

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