MOUNTAIN AREA — It’s looking wet and wild for the next couple of days, with a winter storm warning for the high country and flash flood warnings in the lower elevations.
A Pacific storm system will make its way over central California on Thursday, Dec. 15 and stay through Friday, Dec. 16., according to the National Weather Service in Hanford. Rain could be heavy at times along the Sierra foothills and lower elevations of the Sierra. Heavy snow is probable over the Sierra high country.
One to two inches of rain is predicted along the Sierra foothills, and one to four inches in the southern Sierra. NWS says that flooding problems could develop in the foothills and lower elevations of the Sierra, including possible rock slides and mud slides near any burn areas.
According to the NWS, the forecast for the Merced River at Pohono Bridge in Yosemite shows the river rising just above the flood stage on Thursday night and possibly causing minor flooding around the Park. Smaller creeks and streams could see sudden rises and flooding, as well.
In the San Joaquin Valley, urban street flooding is possible in some areas.
Property owners are advised to clear leaf debris from their property before the storm arrives.
The National Weather Service has issued a flash flood watch, in effect from Thursday morning through Friday afternoon, from Yosemite to Kings Canyon, including the foothill towns of Coarsegold, Oakhurst, Auberry, North Fork, and Mariposa. This means that conditions may develop that lead to flash flooding, a very dangerous situation.
Burn scar areas including the Cedar Fire, Rough Fire and Way Fire may see elevated threat of debris flows in heavy rain. The NWS recommends that residents and travelers monitor the situation in the event that a flash flood occurs.
For the higher elevations, a winter storm watch is in effect from Yosemite to Kings Canyon from Thursday morning through Friday afternoon, including Bass Lake, Fish Camp, and Wawona, per NWS. Snow will begin Thursday morning and continue through Friday evening, with the heaviest snow predicted for Thursday night. A winter storm watch means there is potential for significant snow accumulations. Two to four feet of snow is expected above 8,000 feet and up to six feet is predicted along the crest.
Stay safe, stay warm!