HomeUS News updateAfter snow, parts of California now brace for rain and floods

After snow, parts of California now brace for rain and floods

Nearly two weeks after the winter storm brought blizzard and blizzard warnings to parts of California, officials said warm rain is forecast that could lead to flooding.

“It’s going to melt the ice, and on top of that we have hot water on top of the ice,” Terry Mejorado, director of Fresno County Emergency Services, said at a Wednesday news conference.

Up to 3 inches of rain is expected in downtown Fresno from Thursday evening to Saturday morning, but warm rain and warm temperatures will also melt snow on lower mountain elevations, she said, causing streams to rise faster.

The Fresno County Sheriff’s Office issued an evacuation warning for the foothills and mountains on Tuesday and asked people to be prepared to leave.

The western US was expected to be affected by an “atmospheric river” starting Thursday, according to the National Weather Service.

Beginning Thursday, a winter storm warning was issued for a large portion of California that included the Sierra Nevada. Other areas, including Fresno and the Sacramento Valley, will be under flood watch through Sunday.

Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks adjacent to each other in the Sierra Nevada are closing their entrances due to the weather. The National Park Service said heavy rain is expected with up to 12 feet of snow on the ground.

“There is a large potential for flooding and severe road and infrastructure damage in parks as well as surrounding communities,” the Park Service said in a statement.

Forecasters in the San Francisco Bay Area warned of the risk of flooding in the Santa Cruz Mountains and river south to Monterey County.

“Preparations should be complete by the end of the day today,” the weather service said on Wednesday.

Further south and closer to the coast, Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties could get up to 4 inches of rain, according to the weather service in Oxnard. It said parts of the San Luis Obispo coast and foothills could receive up to 8 inches.

In late February, a powerful winter storm brought blizzard conditions and snow to the mountains of Southern California, including about 7 feet in parts of the San Bernardino Mountains northeast of Los Angeles.

The heavy snow isolated some communities and trapped some residents in their homes. Wrightwood, a community of 4,700, got about 50 inches of snow, or a little more than 4 feet, according to the weather service.

Mountain highways began to reopen this week after being closed for more than 10 days.



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