MOUNTAIN AREA – The first full day of winter was a wet one, and while a flash flood watch expired at 4 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 22, area residents can look forward to just a little break in the rain on Wednesday, Dec. 23, before another system, colder but drier, moves in on Thursday, ending on Friday.
According to the National Weather Service in Hanford, a hazardous weather outlook is in effect locally for later in the week. While forecasters remain uncertain precisely how much snow will fall on Thursday night, Dec. 24, and Friday, Dec. 25, current indications are that five to ten inches are possible over Christmas Eve and Christmas.
Snow levels are predicted to start at around 3,000 feet on Thursday, dropping as low as near 1,500 feet for Friday. Winds may gust up to 50 miles per hour. The heaviest snow is expected Thursday afternoon and evening for locations including higher elevations of Yosemite National Park and the Sierra National Forest. Travelers are cautioned to be aware of snow covered roads, blowing snow and the possibility of heavy snow at times. The combination of snow and wind may cause falling tree branches or limbs.
Rain is expected in Oakhurst on Thursday after 4 a.m., turning to rain with snow showers later in the day, and a high near 40 degrees resulting in little or no accumulation of snow expected in town during the day. The rain and snow could be heavy at times.
Thursday night in Oakhurst, the low temp drops to around 26 degrees and the expectation of new snow accumulation at less than one inch. Friday in Oakhurst there’s a 20 percent chance of snow showers and it’s anticipated the sun will peek out on Christmas as the temperature warms up to 39 degrees. Winds are expected to calm.
Friday night residents can look forward to a low of 23 in Oakhurst, and blustery winds in the evening. Saturday is currently looking like a sunny, breezy day, with a high near 42.