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Fresno’s Next Storm Expected Friday Night. How Much Rain Will It Drop?

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Following days of rain, floodwaters surround homes and vehicles in the Planada community of Merced County, Tuesday, Jan. 10, 2023. (AP/Noah Berger)
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While the rain has eased in Fresno and other Valley communities, an atmospheric river headed our way could drop as much as 2 inches of rain from Friday through Monday morning.

The precipitation break has allowed streets and yards to dry and crews to repair roads ahead of the next big storm in California’s soggy winter.

As the water has receded, people have repaired their houses and cleared out damaged furniture, bedding, and other items.

Highway 168 Re-Opens Below Shaver Lake

For example, a closed section of the Highway 168 “four lane” between Prather and Shaver Lake reopened to motorists late Wednesday afternoon. With a pilot car leading vehicles back and forth through one lane of traffic, motorists are advised to be patient.

State Meteorologist Michael Anderson says that California has been hit by seven storms since the end of December. Two more slightly weaker ones are expected before the state gets a reprieve sometime next week.

“The challenge is they’re storms eight and nine in the sequence and the cumulative effect is likely to cause impacts larger than the storms themselves might cause,” Anderson said.

Fresno Forecast

There’s a 40% chance of rain Friday morning, followed by up to a quarter-inch of rain in the evening, according to the National Weather Service in Hanford.

Saturday is expected to deliver at least 1 inch of rain along with wind gusts of up to 15 to 20 mph. After a short break, rain is expected to return to the Valley on Sunday afternoon and continue into Monday.

The following days could include more precipitation although it’s expected to be light.

Storm Watch Issued

A Winter Storm Watch will be in effect for the Sierra Nevada from Saturday into Tuesday. This means there is potential for significant snow accumulations that may impact travel. The majority of this snow will fall Saturday afternoon and Saturday evening.

The NWS advises that mountain travel will be difficult to impossible during the Winter Storm Watch.

18 Dead Statewide, $1 Billion in Damage

At least 18 people have died statewide and the figure is likely to rise.

A 43-year-old woman was found dead Wednesday in her submerged car a day after calling 911 to say the vehicle was stuck in floodwaters north of San Francisco, according to the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office. When the search resumed at sunrise, divers discovered the car under about 10 feet of water off a rural road near Forestville, the department said.

More than half of California’s 58 counties were declared disaster areas and repairing the damage may cost more than $1 billion, according to Brian Ferguson, spokesperson for the state Office of Emergency Services.

Pauline Torres carries belongings from her flooded Merced home on Tuesday, Jan. 10, 2023. (AP/Noah Berger)

Snowplows Run 24/7 in the Sierra

High in the Eastern Sierra, Caltrans snowplows were running around the clock to fully reopen U.S. 395, which at one time was blocked by 75 miles of snow, ice, and rocks. The Palisades Tahoe ski resort reported that it had received 300 inches of snowfall so far this season.

Despite the precipitation, most of the state remains in extreme or severe drought, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor.

Latest Valley Rainfall Numbers

(GV Wire/Paul Marshall), source: NOAA)

 

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