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Will Fresno Usher in the New Year With Sunny Skies?



Heavy traffic at the base of a snowy Santiam Pass near Salem, Oregon, on Sunday, Dec. 26, 2021. (AP File)
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While  Northern California and Nevada deal with record-breaking snow, a break in the rain is approaching for Fresno and other Valley cities.

Fresno had received nearly a quarter-inch of rain on Wednesday through 9 a.m., bringing December’s total to 3.65 inches and the seasonal total to 5.22 inches.

The seasonal accumulation is nearly half of what Fresno receives in a so-called “normal” year.

According to the National Weather Service in Hanford, snow in the mountains and rain in the lower elevations will end by Thursday morning.

The NWS forecast calls for a dry and sunny New Year’s weekend with lows slightly above freezing.

But another weathermaker is expected to hit Northern California on Monday and move into the Valley on Tuesday.

Another Huge Day of Snow at Donner Pass

The UC Berkeley Central Sierra Snow Lab says another 8 inches of snow fell at its site near Donner Pass. The new snow added to the record-breaking total for December at the location.

“We are now at 258% of our avg snowpack through this date and we have received 70% of our avg annual snowfall.” the lab tweeted.

But Andrew Schwartz, the lead scientist and station manager of the snow laboratory, told CNN that California still needs more precipitation to offset the effects of the drought.

“While this event has been amazing so far, we are really concerned about the upcoming months not having as many storms,” Schwartz said. “If we don’t get another inch, we’re still below what we would expect for the entire winter, which means that we can contribute to the drought rather than resolving it.”

Emergency Declaration in Nevada

On Wednesday morning, the Associated Press reported that Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak plans to declare a state of emergency due to snow and storm conditions affecting travel in the Lake Tahoe area.

“This will help prevent motorists from becoming stranded overnight on the roadways, potentially running out of gas in subfreezing temperatures without access to emergency services,” a statement from Sisolak’s office said.

In Northern California, part of the main highway from San Francisco to Reno remained closed Tuesday for a third straight day. Snow-choked Interstate 80 shut down Sunday from the Nevada state line to Placer County, although Caltrans said that U.S. 50 reopened late Monday for vehicles with chains or four-wheel drive.

Meanwhile, across western Washington and Oregon, emergency spaces for people were opened as forecasters said the extreme cold from an arctic blast that blew in Sunday could last until the weekend.

To check travel conditions in California, use this link.

Snowpack, Reservoir Reports

You can check the latest California snow water equivalent levels at this link.

Water levels for major California reservoirs are at this link.

Bicycle in Snow (AP)

Apollo Leonard hefts his bike through deep snow after stopping while out for a winter ride, Tuesday, Dec. 28, 2021, in Bellingham, Washington. Snow, ice, and unseasonable cold in the Pacific Northwest and the Sierra Nevada are continuing to disrupt traffic, cause closures, and force people to find refuge in emergency warming shelters. (AP /Elaine Thompson)

(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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