Clovis News

Waves of Valley storms expected to grow colder

4:46 p.m.: Traffic lights on Herndon Avenue at Palm, Fruit and West avenues are working again after an outage in the area knocked them out.

Power was restored in the area about 3:20 p.m, said Jeff Smith, Pacific Gas & Electric Co. spokesman.

4:08 p.m.: One flight was canceled because of the power outage earlier this afternoon at the Fresno Yosemite International airport, spokeswoman Vikkie Calderon said.

3:49 p.m.: Power has been restored at Fresno Yosemite International Airport.

2:20 p.m.: A weather-related power outage this afternoon has affected operations at Fresno Yosemite International Airport.

The outage, which happened about 1:30 p.m., is affecting 15,719 customers in the area bounded by Dakota, Chestnut, Sunnyside and Olive avenues, said Jeff Smith, Pacific Gas & Electric Co. spokesman.

A backup power system at the airport is allowing flights to take off and land for passengers already past the security checkpoint, said airport spokesman Vikkie Calderon said. But the outage has shut down the security checkpoint, which could affect subsequent flights this afternoon, she said.

12:30 p.m.: Traffic signals are out on Herndon Avenue at Palm, Fruit and West avenue, Fresno city officials said. Major backups and delays can be expected.

City officials noted that non-operational traffic signals must be treated as all-way stop signs.

Noon: About 3,300 Pacific Gas & Electric Co. customers are without power in Fresno because of recent storms, a spokesman said today.

The largest outage is between Barstow and Nees avenues and Brawley and Blackstone avenues. The spokesman said the company is working to restore power.

Meanwhile, the National Weather Service in Hanford has issued a flood warning throughout the central San Joaquin Valley, especially for areas with poor drainage. The warning is in effect until 5:30 p.m.

11:15 p.m. Monday: Travelers planning to head out of the Valley this week are advised to leave sooner rather than later -- and make sure to pack snow chains.

The National Weather Service in Hanford predicts that this week's series of storms will get colder, dropping snowfall levels to about 4,000 feet, which could close Interstate 5 through the Grapevine and Highway 58 through Tehachapi by Friday.

Though snow is not expected over the Grapevine until late this week, "that can quickly change," said Scott Jobinger, a California Highway Patrol officer.

Monday's tumultuous storm produced a rare tornado warning for Fresno and Clovis, with high winds that brought down trees and power lines and created headaches for motorists attempting to navigate stormwater-filled roadways.

Today's weather pattern should be similar to Monday's, said Cindy Bean, a weather service meteorologist. The third of six storms is expected to hit the Valley today, bringing heavy rain at times.

"The bulk of the system will come in the afternoon," Bean said.

Motorists should check on road conditions before leaving on a trip, Jobinger said.

And when roads are wet or snow-covered, slow down -- even if that means driving under the posted speed limit, he said.

"The speed limits are set for ideal conditions," Jobinger said.

Conditions were not ideal for travel Monday, which caused many vehicles to spin out of control, he said.

Twenty-six traffic accidents, most of them fender-benders, were reported to the CHP between noon and 4 p.m. Monday in Fresno, Madera, Kings and Tulare counties.

An accident closed northbound Highway 99 at Highway 145 in Madera and backed up traffic for about two hours Monday afternoon.

A two-vehicle accident Monday night on southbound Highway 41 between Ashlan and Shaw avenues temporarily closed the Shaw onramp to southbound 41. Traffic was slowed for several miles for about an hour.

Monday's storm also caused nearly 100 power outages in the central San Joaquin Valley, which at one point left 10,000 PG&E customers without power in Fresno and Tulare counties and in Kings Canyon National Park.

"We definitely believe them to be weather-related," said Brandi Ehlers, a spokeswoman for Pacific Gas & Electric Co.

Power was restored to most customers by 10 p.m. Monday. The remaining 1,429 customers should have their power restored today, said PG&E spokesman J.D. Guidi.

Many areas in the Valley had wind gusts between 40 and 50 mph. Kettleman City was hit by one 60 mph gust, Bean said.

The Fresno Fire Department said five power lines were down Monday afternoon near California and Marks avenues in southwest Fresno.

And in northwest Fresno, a 100-foot oak tree blew into a home on the 5300 block of North Vagedes Avenue about 4 p.m., Fresno Fire Chief Tony Escobedo said.

The tree punched through the home's roof, taking down the fence and some power lines. Power was down in a one-block radius for about six hours.

The occupants of the home spent the night in an RV parked in their driveway, Escobedo said.

In Alpaugh, the roof of a 76-year-old woman's mobile home near Avenue 62 and Road 34 was partially ripped off by 60 mph winds about 1 p.m., authorities said.

The Tulare County Fire Department put tarps over the hole in the roof to protect the home from rain, Division Chief Joe Garcia said.

Just down the road, winds uprooted a tree, causing it to fall into power lines and cut power to the mobile home and surrounding area, Garcia said.

High winds also knocked down power lines across the roadway at Highway 43 near Road 64 about 2 p.m. Monday, causing the road to be closed for 1 1/2 hours.

Traffic was diverted through Alpaugh until Southern California Edison repaired the damage to the power lines, Garcia said.

Sunday's and Monday's storms brought 0.84 of an inch of rain to Fresno and about an inch to both Hanford and Merced through 11 p.m. Monday, Bean said.

The season rainfall total for Fresno is now 4.95 inches, slightly above the normal-to-date total of 4.56 inches, she said.

The storms will continue through Friday, she said.

"We may get a bit of a break next weekend," Bean said, though a chance of rain in the Valley is forecast for Saturday and Sunday.

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