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Fresno Poised for a Drenching, Carry Chains in Mountains



Expect up to an inch of rain in Fresno and as much as a foot of new snow in the Sierra from this storm. (Mammoth Mountain Ski Area/Peter Morning via AP)
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After being stuck on dry except for light rains last week, Fresno’s spring weather heads to the wet zone Thursday.

The NWS advises mountain travelers to expect snow-covered roads, plan on delays, and carry chains.

Up to one inch of rain could fall in Fresno and other Valley locations north of Kern County, the National Weather Service office in Hanford said Wednesday.

And, Kern County communities could see as much as a half-inch of rain.

Winter Storm Watch Begins Thursday Morning

The precipitation is expected to start Thursday morning around Yosemite National Park and move south. The snow elevation will range from 5,000 to 6,500 feet.

There will be Winter Storm Watch above 5,000 feet in the Sierra from 5 a.m. Thursday to 11 a.m. Friday. The predicted snow accumulations are 6 inches to 12 inches, with up to 2 feet in isolated locations.

The NWS advises mountain travelers to expect snow-covered roads, plan on delays, and carry chains.

North of Kern County, the NWS forecast says there is the possibility of afternoon thunderstorms delivering “brief heavy rain, small hail, and gusty erratic winds up to 40 mph.”

Heavier Rain, Snow in Northern California

In northern California, the forecast called for widespread rain, heavy mountain snow, and wind gusts to begin Wednesday.

“This system continues to look like a very good late-season precipitation event for the region,” the NWS office in Sacramento said.

April Storms Are a Drop in the Drought

Even though last week’s storm dumped up to 3 feet of snow in the Sierra, it wasn’t nearly enough to dent the California drought, water experts said.

But it did inspire cheers from ski resort operators at Lake Tahoe and Mammoth Open. In fact, Mammoth says it will remain open for skiing and snowboarding to Memorial Day.

Closer to home, China Peak has shuttered skiing and snowboarding for the season.

(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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