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Storms break but more ahead

Courtesy of Pacific Gas & Electric

Late Sunday or early Monday, a plugged culvert caused a section of McKinley Grove Road in the Sierra National Forest to be washed out. The impassable road was closed to through traffic.


Friday brought a breather from a stream of storms that delivered rain and challenges to long parched Central California, with rockfalls and collapsed roads in national parks, and some flooding in the Valley and mountains.

El Portal Road, opened Tuesday after a rockfall, had to close again Thursday along with Big Oak Flat Road following a series of rockfalls early that morning. Both highways were re-opened Friday, but Yosemite National Park officials warned El Portal Road, which only had one lane open, could close again at any time. Visitors on the road were asked not to stop while en route to Yosemite Valley.

An overloaded flood control system swamped the streets of northeast Clovis and east central Fresno on Thursday, KFSN-TV reported. Twitter users shared photographs of a couple of residents boating down flooded Clovis streets.

The Sierra National Forest suffered a partial road collapse by Tuesday along with a flood evacuation order for the Bass Lake Ranger District office and several residential areas in North Fork. That order from the Madera County Sheriff’s Office has been lifted except for the Willow Creek area. Other areas of Bass Lake evacuated Thursday.

The Bass Lake Ranger District is expected to resume services Tuesday after observing Martin Luther King Jr. Day on Monday.

The U.S. Drought Monitor declared Thursday that 34.62 percent of the state was free of any degree of drought. Unfortunately Madera County and much of southern California is still in severe to extreme drought conditions despite the weather.

Madera had received 6.04 inches of rainfall for this season as of Friday, according to the California Irrigation Management Information System. That surpasses our 50-year average (5.99 inches) of rain for the season thus far, according to the Madera County Department of Agriculture.

The National Weather Service forecasts dense fog between 10 p.m. and 10 a.m. from today to Tuesday with some clouds in the daytime, then rain for Wednesday through Friday as another storm system arrives.

The break in storms allowed Caltrans to do emergency fixes of potholes Friday on State Route 99 in Fresno. State routes 168 (near Millerton Road) and 269 (north of Huron), remained closed Friday due to flooding. SR 269 had been cleared of mud and water Tuesday, but flooded again Wednesday.

Work by the Madera County Roads Department caused minor delays Wednesday near Pilot Travel Center by SR 99.

For National Weather Service forecasts for Madera, visit or call 584-0312. For 24-hour road and weather conditions for Yosemite National Park, visit or call (209) 372-0200 and press 1.

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