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Batten Down the Hatches. Another Big Storm Takes Aim at the Valley.



Sandbags line a garage door in northeast Fresno. (GV Wire/Nancy Price)
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Whether it’s called an atmospheric river or a bomb cyclone, the impact of Wednesday’s overnight storm in the Valley will be the same — lots of rain, possibly as much as 2 inches, accompanied by huge wind gusts.

If you’re looking out the window now at sunshine, be advised that it’s only the calm before the storm.

And if you need to put sandbags in front of a garage door or weigh down a roof-covering tarp, now is the time to do it, National Weather Service meteorologist Bill South told GV Wire on Wednesday morning.

“Any type of protective action should be rushed to completion by the end of the day, for sure, because the more hazardous conditions are coming tonight,” he said.

Overnight travel on Interstate 5’s Grapevine between Kern and Los Angeles counties will be hit overnight by wind gusts as high as 85 mph, while Highway 58 travelers crossing the Tehachapis east of Bakersfield could see gusts of 60 mph, South said.

Rain falling onto lower-level mountains already coated by snow will increase the risk of both flooding and rockslides. Nighttime travel reduces visibility of flooding or other hazards, South said. “You’re putting yourself at greater risk by traveling tonight.”

Detour to Shaver Lake

Portions of Highway 168 and Auberry Road are closed east of Fresno at higher elevations due to rockslides and road erosion. The Fresno County Public Works Department estimates that repairs to Auberry Road in the Alder Springs area could take two weeks and are contingent on weather conditions. The two closures leave narrow, winding Tollhouse Road as the lone route to reach Shaver Lake.

Zigzagging Snow Levels

Snow levels in the central Sierra are forecast to rise to 7,500 feet Wednesday morning, with rain falling at lower levels between 5,000 and 7,500 feet where snow is already on the ground, South said. Starting tonight the snow levels are forecast to drop to 6,000 feet and then to 5,000 by Thursday afternoon, he said.

If you’re a fan of combo-platter weather forecasts, you’ll love Thursday’s: There’s a possibility of thunderstorms between noon and 6 p.m. accompanied by wind gusts and small hail.

Another big storm is lined up for early next week, but it appears to be targeting Northern California more so than Central California, South said.

Thursday’s forecast high for the Fresno region is in the mid-50s, he said.

Reservoir Report

Access all of the daily water levels and historical comparisons for California’s reservoirs at this link.

Fresno County Winter Storm Map

Fresno County is providing a winter storm map similar to its online fire evacuation map.

The real-time service allows residents to enter an address to see the different winter storm risk levels. If a storm occurs, the map will activate to display evacuation zones. These areas are listed under three headings: evacuate (red), warning (yellow), no evacuation (green).

Check out the map at this link.

Nancy Price is a multimedia journalist for GV Wire. A longtime reporter and editor who has worked for newspapers in California, Florida, Alaska, Illinois and Kansas, Nancy joined GV Wire in July 2019. She previously worked as an assistant metro editor for 13 years at The Fresno Bee. Nancy earned her bachelor's and master's degrees in journalism at Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism. Her hobbies include singing with the Fresno Master Chorale and volunteering with Fresno Filmworks. You can reach Nancy at 559-492-4087 or Send an Email