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Buckets of Rain in Store for Fresno Until Mid-January



Fresno could get as much as 3 inches of rain tonight through Sunday, New Year's Day, according to the NWS. (Shutterstock)
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Coming days and weeks could deliver huge amounts of precipitation to the Central Valley and Sierra, according to forecast models.

The Global Forecast System anticipates a blanket of participation over the next seven days for California. And, the Valley floor, foothills, and Southern Sierra are expected to get the biggest drenching.

In fact, NOAA’s Quantitative Precipitation Forecast indicates that the Central Valley’s river basins could receive 15 to 20 inches over the next week. QPF represents the amount of liquid measured when the precipitation melts.

(NOOA/Weather Prediction Center)

Winter Storm Warning Through Sunday Morning

In anticipation of what’s ahead, the NWS in Hanford upgraded its Winter Storm Watch to a warning that will be in effect until 4 a.m. Sunday.

“Heavy snow is forecasted for the mountains and higher elevations and travel will be difficult to near impossible,” the Hanford office said in a tweet posted at noon on Thursday.

More Heavy Rain in Fresno

The NWS predicts 2 to 3 inches of rain powered by an atmospheric river for Fresno from 10 p.m. Thursday through 10 a.m. New Year’s Day. The forecast also calls for 1 to 2 inches of snow at Shaver Lake and 4 to 8 inches at Sequoia National Park locations.

“The heaviest snow will occur in the Sierra above 8,000 feet where three to four feet will fall in most locations,” the NWS said in its Thursday afternoon forecast discussion.

Meanwhile, The Weather Channel’s extended forecast calls for the possibility of rain daily through Jan. 12.

Forecast models indicate that next Wednesday and Thursday could see an inch or more of rain each day.

Updated Rainfall Total

Fresno has received 4.66 inches of rain since Oct. 1, which is 151 of “normal” for the date.

Last year, through Dec. 29, the city had received 5.21 inches. Unfortunately for the Valley economy, which is highly dependent on water, January through March was nearly bone dry as California’s drought continued for a third straight year.

Fresno’s record for rain in December, 6.73 inches, occurred in 1955. The city’s record for rain in a calendar year came in 1983 with 21.83 inches.

As water vapor lifts over mountains, it cools and condenses, falling as rain or snow. (GV Wire Illustration/David Rodriguez)

Road Into Yosemite Reopens

Yosemite National Park officials said Wednesday that El Portal Road into Yosemite Valley is open again.

Anyone traveling to the park should call (209) 372-0200 for road information ahead of time.

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