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Fresno Winter Storm Could Set Records for Rain and Cold

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A Caltrans webcam shows wet conditions Tuesday morning at Highways 99 and 180 in downtown Fresno. (Caltrans)
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The first major winter storm of the season could bring record-setting rain on Tuesday, National Weather Service meteorologist J.P. Kalb said.

The record for rainfall in Fresno on Nov. 8 is 0.98 of an inch, and there’s a possibility Tuesday’s rains could top that, Kalb said.

“This is the first real major storm of the season, and let’s hope there’s more coming,” he said.

The winter storm warning will remain in effect until 10 a.m. Wednesday, Kalb said.

Flood advisories for western Fresno County and a portion of Madera County were cancelled Tuesday morning when the weather bands moved through, but flooding is still a possibility during the day as rain is expected to fall until Wednesday morning, with thunderstorms forecast for Tuesday afternoon, he said.

Watch for Flooding

Flooding and slides could occur in burn scar areas, he said.

The total rainfall from the current storm is forecast to be 1 to 1.5 inches, Kalb said. Update: Kalb said later Tuesday morning that he was revising the rain forecast to a half inch to 1 inch for Fresno.

Meanwhile, snow levels are continuing to lower in the Sierra and snow will be falling at 4,000 to 5,000 feet on Tuesday, he said.

The end of the rain Wednesday morning will usher in a colder front that will lower overnight temperatures to the mid-30s in much of the Valley. which means it’s time to protect more sensitive plants.

Kalb said there’s a 25% chance of freezing temperatures in the South Valley and Madera Thursday night to Friday, which would also be record-setting for this time of year.

Tuesday’s overnight low is forecast in the lower 40s, he said.

The storm is the result of a low-pressure trough coming out of the Gulf of Alaska. Kalb noted that the trough is “pretty deep.”

Nancy Price is a multimedia journalist for GV Wire. A longtime reporter and editor who has worked for newspapers in California, Florida, Alaska, Illinois and Kansas, Nancy joined GV Wire in July 2019. She previously worked as an assistant metro editor for 13 years at The Fresno Bee. Nancy earned her bachelor's and master's degrees in journalism at Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism. Her hobbies include singing with the Fresno Master Chorale and volunteering with Fresno Filmworks. You can reach Nancy at 559-492-4087 or Send an Email