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Residents Document Snow on Valley Floor Via Social Media. Rainstorms Ahead.



The view at China Peak ski resort at 8:01 a.m. on Thursday, Feb. 23, 2023. (skichinapeakwebcam)
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As snow fell on the Valley floor on Wednesday, residents took to social media to document the rare event.

Snow was sighted in Friant, Fowler, Laton, Clovis, and Porterville, although there were spirited debates about what was snow and what was hail.

Watch: Hail or Snow in Clovis?

Fresno Could See up to 2 Inches of Rain

The National Weather Service in Hanford says that the snow elevation level will rise to 2,000 feet Thursday afternoon and to 5,000 feet on Friday. But a wallop of rain is expected in Fresno and surrounding communities starting at 10 p.m. Thursday and totaling up to 2 inches when skies clear Sunday night.

Strong winds remain in the forecast, and heavy snow is predicted in the mountains.

“The Sierra Nevada will also see extreme impacts due to impressive snow amounts and strong winds,” NWS said in its Thursday morning forecast discussion. “Elevations above 5000 feet Friday morning through Saturday afternoon could see as high as 5-6 feet of snow in the Sierra Nevada. 3-4 feet of snow may fall above 5000 feet in the Tehachapi Mountains in the same time frame.”

Watch: China Peak Snow Plow in Action

On Wednesday, Fresno County officials warned residents to drive carefully and avoid mountain travel.

Road to Giant Forest Closed

The Generals Highway is closed between Hospital Rock and Highway 180 because of the winter storm, thus making it impossible to reach Giant Forest in Sequoia National Park. Call (559) 565-3341 and press 1, 1 for current road conditions.

Blizzard Warning for Los Angeles County

For the first time since 1989, NWS issued a blizzard warning through Saturday for Southern California mountains. Forecasters predicted “multiple rounds of new snowfall” with accumulations of up to 3 to 5 feet.

A blizzard warning also is in effect through Saturday for higher elevations of the Sierra Nevada, where forecasters said conditions could include several feet of snow blown by 60-mph gusts and wind chill could drop the temperature to minus 40 degrees.

In addition, dangerous weather trapped drivers on icy roads, knocked out power to hundreds of thousands, and grounded multiple flights from California through the northern Plains on Thursday morning.

Rescuers tried to reach people stranded in vehicles but high winds and drifting snow created a “near-impossible situation” for them, said Sgt. Jeremy Beck of the Wyoming Highway Patrol.

In the Pacific Northwest, high winds and heavy snow in the Cascade Mountains prevented search teams from reaching the bodies of three climbers killed in an avalanche on Washington’s Colchuck Peak over the weekend.

(Associated Press contributed to this article.)


Bill McEwen is news director and columnist for GV Wire. He joined GV Wire in August 2017 after 37 years at The Fresno Bee. With The Bee, he served as Opinion Editor, City Hall reporter, Metro columnist, sports columnist and sports editor through the years. His work has been frequently honored by the California Newspapers Publishers Association, including authoring first-place editorials in 2015 and 2016. Bill and his wife, Karen, are proud parents of two adult sons, and they have two grandsons. You can contact Bill at 559-492-4031 or at Send an Email