CENTRAL SIERRA — After months of warm weather and little precipitation, winter finally arrived yesterday in the form of several inches of snow, and temperatures dipping into the teens in some areas.
More snow fell overnight and that, combined with low temps, created black ice in many spots and very hazardous driving conditions all across the mountain area.
Beginning Thursday evening, there were reports of multiple fender-benders and vehicles sliding off the road from Fish Camp to Coarsegold on Highway 41, temporarily blocking the road in several areas.
Highway 49 between Oakhurst and Mariposa saw its own share of problems, and Big Oak Flat Road closed overnight from Crane Flat intersection to the Foresta Junction due to heavy snow, with no estimate to reopen.
This morning, a multi-vehicle incident west of Mariposa on Highway 140 stalled traffic in both directions as one vehicle overturned and a tanker truck got stuck.
Up near Fish Camp, the problems continued as vehicles slid off the road or got stuck in the snow, blocking the roadway and keeping CHP officers busy responding to one call-out after another all morning.
The National Weather Service says there is more to come, and everyone is reminded to be prepared before you head out onto the roadways. Make sure you have chains, warm coats and blankets, water and snacks, and a full tank of gas. You never know what might happen when you get out there!
Temperatures are forecast to drop into the twenties to low thirties through the weekend and into next week, (colder in the higher elevations), with rain and snow in the forecast beginning Sunday and continuing intermittently throughout the week.
Forecast for the Mariposa, Madera, and Fresno County Foothills:
Tonight – Mostly clear. Lows 24 to 32.
Saturday – Sunny. Highs 47 to 57.
Saturday Night – Mostly clear. Lows 27 to 33.
Sunday – Sunny. Highs 50 to 60.
Sunday Night – Partly cloudy. A 50 percent chance of showers after midnight. Lows 29 to 37.
Monday And Monday Night – Mostly cloudy with a 50 percent chance of showers. Highs 45 to 55. Lows 27 to 37.
Tuesday – Mostly cloudy with a slight chance of showers. Highs 46 to 56.
Tuesday Night – Partly cloudy. Lows 27 to 33.
Wednesday – Mostly cloudy. Slight chance of showers in the afternoon. Highs 48 to 58.
Wednesday Night – Mostly cloudy with a slight chance of showers. Lows 31 to 37.
Thursday – Snow showers likely and chance of showers. Chance of precipitation 70 percent. Highs 47 to 57.