MOUNTAIN AREA — The foothills are under a continual threat of flooding through Wednesday afternoon, says the National Weather Service, with the high country facing the possibility of more flooding as the winter storm warning remains in effect.
The next storm is expected to bring heavy rain locally, with the chance of significant rises along small streams and rivers for Tuesday night, Jan. 10, and Wednesday, Jan. 11. There’s a likelihood of rock slides, mud slides, and debris flowsthat could impact travel.
A flash flood watch is in place through 4 p.m. on Wednesday, says the NWS, for the Mariposa, Madera, Fresno, and Tulare County foothills in the Sierra Nevada from Yosemite to Kings Canyon, including Coarsegold, Oakhurst, North Fork, Mariposa, Bass Lake, Fish Camp, and Wawona.
The experts say that additional rainfall totals of two to four inches are likely over the southern Sierra Nevada below 6,000 feet.
Travel could be very difficult, and the weather service warns that some roads may be flooded or impassable. Drivers should avoid driving through unknown depths of water. A flash flood watch means that conditions may develop that lead to a very dangerous situation. Residents and visitors should monitor later forecasts and be prepared to take action should flash flood warnings be issued.
For higher elevations of the southern Sierra Nevada from Yosemite to Kings Canyon, a winter storm warning remains in effect until 4 p.m. on Wednesday, as well. Snow levels are expected to rise to about 6,500 feet by late this afternoon, according to the NWS. Snow levels should drop to about 5,500 by Wednesday afternoon, with an accumulation of between 12 to 16 inches in some areas.
Heavy snow will make many roads impassable and may cause widespread power outages due to heavy snow on tree limbs and power lines. Strong winds will cause blowing and drifting snow with reduced visibility and local whiteouts. Winds will be 30 to 40 miles per hour with gusts up to 70 miles per hour.
A winter storm warning for heavy snow means severe weather conditions with significant amounts of snow forecast to make travel dangerous. Only travel in these conditions in an emergency, warn experts. If travel is absolutely necessary, keep an extra flashlight, food and water in your vehicle in case of emergency.