Valley can expect more rain

Cold conditions and wet weather are expected to linger in the central San Joaquin Valley today after a cold storm moved in Thursday, dropping rain and hail, the National Weather Service in Hanford said.

"Don't put your sweater away yet," meteorologist Gary Sanger said. "We're looking at another round of showers and afternoon thunderstorms."

The storm Thursday dropped 0.24 of an inch of rain in Fresno as of 7 p.m., bringing the season total to 15.18 inches, which is 5.03 inches above the season-to-date normal of 10.15 inches.

Pea-sized hail fell in Fresno and near Hanford and Fowler, and thunderstorms were reported throughout the Valley, Sanger said.

Snow fell as low as 2,000 feet in the Sierra Nevada.

The Kings River in Tulare County was closed Thursday to boaters, swimmers and other recreational users because of high flows, authorities said. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is releasing water from Pine Flat Dam to make room for storm runoff and snowmelt, said county parks manager Neil Pilegard. Water releases are anticipated to reach 5,600 cubic feet per second -- about 11,000 acre-feet per day. The river is expected to remain closed for several more days, Pilegard said.

The snow level is expected to be between 2,500 feet and 3,000 feet, Sanger said. The Sierra could get 2 to 4 inches of snow at 7,000 feet and 1 to 2 inches at 4,000 feet.

Up to an inch of snow could coat the Grapevine today, so traffic may be delayed, Sanger said. Highway 168 remains closed below the four-lane because of road repairs.

Only a few hundredths of an inch of rain are expected today in Fresno, but areas could receive as much as a tenth of an inch, Sanger said. More isolated thunderstorms are expected across the region today. Sunny weather is expected to return next week.

"By Monday night, we are looking at clear skies and sunny days," Sanger said.

Today's high is expected to be in the mid-50s. Cooler-than-normal highs will be in the low to mid-60s for the weekend and beginning of next week. The normal high for this time of year is 72.

"Temperatures won't get back to normal in Fresno until Thursday," Sanger said.

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