MOUNTAIN AREA — A winter storm warning and hazardous weather conditions could mean up to two feet of snow in the high country, while rain, possible thunderstorms and snowfall are anticipated in the lower elevations this weekend. A flash flood watch issued for the Sierra Nevada and adjacent foothills has been canceled as of mid-morning Saturday, Jan. 30.
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A Winter Storm Warning has been issued for the Southern Sierra from Yosemite National Park to the Tulare-Kern County Line, according to the National Weather Service in Hanford. Snow accumulations will reach between one and two feet at elevations above 7,000 feet in Yosemite National Park. Isolated locations could receive three feet of snow.
The winter storm warning is in effect from 4 p.m. Friday, Jan. 29 through 4 a.m. on Monday, Feb. 1.
Snow levels will start high, at around 8,000 feet at the storm’s onset, says Hanford, and then snow elevations are predicted to drop over the course of the weekend to 4,000 feet or less by Sunday morning. Lower elevations could receive 8 to 15 inches, and some predictions show say could fall at elevations as low as 2,500 feet.
A winter storm warning for heavy snow raises the concern of possible accumulating snow along the major mountain passes, with travel advised only in an emergency during heavy weather. The National Weather Service recommends those who must travel keep an extra flashlight, food and water, in case of emergency. Watch for snow-covered roads, as well as blowing and drifting snow with local whiteout conditions, say experts. Expect hazardous driving conditions in addition to travel delays and possible road closures due to gusty winds and potential for falling tree branches or limbs. Conditions will be dangerous for hikers and campers with sub zero wind chill temps predicted over the high country this weekend.
A flash flood watch has been canceled for the foothills and higher elevations of the Sierra as of mid-morning Saturday, says NWS.
In Oakhurst and around the foothills, there’s a good chance for showers today, turning to rain tonight. The rain could be heavy at times. The hazardous weather in the foothills could include debris flows, particularly in areas of burn scars, along with rock slides, mud slides and downed trees. Rivers and small streams could flood, be aware of the possibility for road closures.
On Sunday, Jan. 31 in the foothills, the showers could be punctuated with thunderstorms, lightening, heavy rain at times, and small hail. Sunday night in Oakhurst there’s a strong suggestion of rain and snow showers before 11 p.m., says Hanford, and possible snow showers continuing after that. A 40 percent chance of precipitation with a low around 28 degrees means the neighborhood may get a nice white night.
By Monday, it’s partly sunny with a high near 48.