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New Storm: Up to 2 Inches of Valley Rain, 100 Inches of Sierra Snow



Up to 2 inches of Valley rain and 100 inches of Sierra snow is expected this week. (AP File/Mammoth Mountain Ski Area/Christian Pondella)
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California is poised for a merry snowy rainy Christmas week, say National Weather Service offices throughout the state.

Rain is expected in Fresno on Tuesday night and could bring up to 2 inches through Sunday, according to the NWS Hanford forecast.

Check Conditions Ahead of Mountain Travel

In addition, a Winter Storm Watch for the Sierra will be posted early Wednesday morning and continue until late Sunday afternoon.

“Mountain travel will likely be significantly impacted,” the NWS said.

Mountain travelers should carry chains and check the Caltrans travel information webpage for weather, road conditions, and potential road closures.

Heavy Snow at Higher Elevations

The successive waves of precipitation are expected to coat the Southern Sierra with 1 to 5 feet of snow.

However, there could be more than 8 feet of snow at the higher elevations of the Northern Sierra. NWS Sacramento says that Donner Pass, for example, could receive 80 to 100 inches of snow Tuesday through Saturday.

NWS Los Angeles attributes the storm to an atmospheric river over the Pacific Oceans developing as moisture streams from an area east of Hawaii.

The storm hit the Pacific Northwest over the weekend, dropping rain and snow. Portland recorded its first measurable snowfall of the season with 0.2 of an inch on Sunday morning.

Fresno Forecast

NWS Hanford says there is a 30% chance of rain Tuesday, followed by 70% Wednesday and 90% Thursday. As much as 1 inch could fall Wednesday and into Thursday morning. Another .75 of an inch is expected Thursday afternoon and into Friday morning.

There is a 60% chance of rain on Christmas Day with a high temperature of 51. Southeast winds are expected at 10 mph and could gust to 15 mph.

You can check the latest snowpack totals at this link.

Water levels for major California reservoirs are at this link.

(Associated Press contributed to this article.)

Bill McEwen is news director and columnist for GV Wire. He joined GV Wire in August 2017 after 37 years at The Fresno Bee. With The Bee, he served as Opinion Editor, City Hall reporter, Metro columnist, sports columnist and sports editor through the years. His work has been frequently honored by the California Newspapers Publishers Association, including authoring first-place editorials in 2015 and 2016. Bill and his wife, Karen, are proud parents of two adult sons, and they have two grandsons. You can contact Bill at 559-492-4031 or at Send an Email

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