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Crazy California Weather: Rain, High Winds, and Snow at the Beach



People walk along a snow covered Twin Lakes State Beach in Santa Cruz,, Thursday, Feb. 23, 2023. (Karen Krenis via AP)
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While Fresno area residents dealt with heavy rain, strong winds, and power outages on Friday, southern and northern California braced for an even stronger storm Saturday.

Friday’s inclement weather followed a Thursday in which snow fell in coastal California communities where it’s rarely seen.

“San Luis Obispo County sported a blanket of white across its higher elevations on Thursday as a chilly winter storm dropped snow across the region,” reported Thursday. “Snowflakes dusted vineyards in Paso Robles, frosted a field off Highway 58 as cows grazed contentedly …  (and) snow also covered the tops of local hills and mountains from Cayucos to San Simeon.”


In Santa Cruz, snow fell on beaches and the Highway 17 summit.

As for what’s ahead, the National Weather Service predicted as much as 5 feet of snow in the Sierra and Southern California mountain ranges and posted blizzard warnings.

“Simply put, this will be a historic event for the amount of snow over the higher peaks and lower elevation snow,” NWS said.

Valley Power Outages

Thousands of Valley households and businesses lost their power on Friday. According to PG&E, this was the tally shortly before 1 p.m:

Yosemite Division – 900 customers out on 21 outages. This division includes Stanislaus, Tuolumne, Merced, Mariposa, and Madera counties.

Fresno Division – 1,215 customers out on 59 outages. This division includes all of Fresno County, most of Kings County, and portions of Tulare County.

Kern Division – 1,536 customers out on 26 outages. This division includes Kern County.

Stockton Division – 173 customers out on 15 outages. This division includes San Joaquin, Calaveras, and Amador counties.

Go to this link to see when your service will be restored.

Road Closures

The California Highway Patrol said at 6:24 a.m. Friday that both Interstate 5 over the Grapevine and Highway 58 over Tehachapi Pass were closed because of snow.

Interstate 5, the West Coast’s major north-south highway, was shut down south of the Oregon border as snow fell to the floor of the Sacramento Valley.

Parts of Interstate 80 in California and Wyoming closed, including about a 70-mile stretch over the top of the Sierra Nevada linking California and Nevada.

Fresno Forecast

An NWS wind advisory for the Valley will expire at 4 p.m. Friday.

The forecast for Fresno and surrounding communities calls for showers through Saturday night. After cloudy but dry skies Sunday rain could return overnight and continue through Wednesday.

(NWS Hanford)

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

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