A new storm system is moving into the central San Joaquin Valley and the Sierra Nevada today and will stick around until Saturday, the National Weather Service in Hanford said.
Dangerous storm conditions forced the China Peak ski resort to close Wednesday. China Peak, at 7,000 feet near Huntington Lake, got 11 inches of snow as of 7:30 p.m., according to its website. Even with a new storm on the way, the resort is expected to reopen today.
A low-pressure system from the eastern part of the Pacific will bring more rain and snow this week, meteorologist Michael Bingham said.
"It's going to be a typical February system with a lot of mountain snow and Valley rain," he said.
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Rain is expected to fall in the Valley starting Thursday afternoon through Friday, with showers continuing to Saturday afternoon. There is a chance of thunderstorms Saturday afternoon across the Valley.
The weather service issued a winter storm watch for tonight through Saturday afternoon, with heavy snow and strong winds forecast for the southern Sierra Nevada.
Wind speeds could average 25 to 35 miles per hour, with gusts up to 60 mph in the upper ridges.
The snow level will drop to 4,000 feet, Bingham said. Expected snowfall from the storm is 2 to 3 feet above 7,000 feet, 1 to 2 feet above 5,000 feet and 6 inches to 1 foot above 4,000 feet.
Wednesday's storm dropped 0.21 of an inch of rain in Fresno as of 7:30 p.m., bringing the season total to 9.97 inches -- 3.28 inches above normal, Bingham said. Clovis received 0.46 of an inch of rain, and 0.28 of an inch fell in Madera and Hanford.
The storm caused a power outage in Hume Lake that affected nearly 300 customers starting at 3:19 p.m., Pacific Gas & Electric Co. officials said. Power was not expected to be restored until today, because snowy conditions kept crews from reaching the area, spokeswoman Jana Morris said.
About 4 inches of snow had fallen in Hume Lake as of 7:30 p.m., Bingham said.
Snowfall in Yosemite National Park closed Hetch Hetchy and Badger Pass roads Wednesday. Chains are required on all vehicles except 4-wheel-drive vehicles with snow tires on Highway 41 from about eight miles north of Oakhurst to Yosemite National Park, on Highway 168 from about 10 miles east of Prather to Huntington Lake, and on Highway 180 from Highway 245 to Hume Lake Road in Hume. Highway 180 is closed from Hume Lake Road to Kings Canyon National Park for the winter.
Highs for the weekend will be in the low 50s and lows will be in the upper 30s to low 40s.