Cleanup after heavy flooding stalls cars at Fresno intersection
Rain pummeled the central San Joaquin Valley on Thursday, causing flooding around Fresno and creating dangerous driving conditions throughout the evening.
And the heavy showers were expected to continue through Friday morning before a break from the wet weather by the afternoon, according to the National Weather Service in Hanford.
But don't expect it to stay dry too long.
Because more rain remains in the forecast for Saturday afternoon, according to the weather service.
Thursday's wet conditions, meanwhile, filled social media feeds with weather postings.
Streets were flooded, cars stalled, and trucks created waves. Someone even took video of a dedicated delivery guy appearing unfazed by the weather and still delivering pizza.
Keep in mind that Thursday's series of storms generated about 2 to 3 total inches of rain in the Fresno area, said meteorologist Dan Harty.
And that much rain meant the possibility of trees or power poles falling, added Harty. He had warned Thursday that as the storms began to decrease in intensity, the wet, slick roads and ponding along county roads could cause harm to drivers.
The best advice Harty had for drivers: “Turn around, don’t drown."
That advice was likely too late for drivers in northeast and northwest Fresno on Thursday, who became an easy target for flooding. Fresno police said several floods clogged city streets and stalled vehicles. The California Highway Patrol reported floods in places like Friant Road, the Fig Garden area, Perrin Avenue and as far as Auberry Road in the foothills.
Several police reports indicated Fresno drivers were being helped out of their vehicles with tow trucks coming to help. Though some reports listed roadways as “completely flooded,” no serious injuries were reported by police.
Rain also hindered travel at Yosemite National Park. A rockfall along Highway 140 closed the road at Parkline and the junction of El Portal Road and Big Oak Flat Road, according to a news release. The park service reported rocks, dirt and debris covering the road.
Highway 140, about one-quarter mile east of the park's boundary, was going to be closed overnight, the news release stated. There was no estimate about when it would be opened.
Elsewhere in higher elevations, Harty said large amounts of rainfall are expected to continue as a storm northeast of Fresno travels toward Auberry. Harty said the foothills have gotten about 3 to 6 inches of rain with the latest storms.
Areas around Mariposa were being monitored as heavy rain continued to fall along the burn scars from the Detwiler Fire. The Red Cross said it has opened an evacuation center for anyone who needed to evacuate their home at Mariposa Elementary School, at 5044 Jones Street.
The Valley got about an inch to an inch and a half on Thursday. Northeast Fresno and Clovis were expected to see rain until about midnight. By Friday morning, the storm system will begin to wind down, Harty said. That storm produced frequent lightning in areas east of Clovis.
And gusty winds were also carried into the area but were not expected to pose a danger, Harty said. Damaged power equipment in Easton caused Pacific Gas and Electric crews to go out and try to restore power for about 160 customers, according to the company’s incident page.
The strongest storm activity Thursday remained northeast of Fresno, Harty said, but Tulare County and Kern County also experienced some showers. A report of a funnel cloud spotted north of Visalia did not worry Harty. He said it did not touch the ground.