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Last of storm trio on its way

Wendy Alexander/The Madera Tribune A motorist travels though a flooded intersection of South G and 6th streets Wednesday evening.


The second of three storm systems passed through late this week more coldly than the first did, bringing snow to lower altitudes and cooler rain elsewhere. A third, expected tonight or tomorrow, should be similar.

“This is a colder system … We had pockets of colder air in Kern County but at higher elevations they had rain. For the rest of us, snow levels are lower than the first one,” said meteorological technician William Peterson of the National Weather Service office in Hanford. “We’ve had reports of 20-24 inches of new snow at the higher elevations above 7,000 feet. That’s over the past two days. So its a good snowmaker. The next one should be the same.”

Most of today will be “in-between systems” with no new storm expected before 10 p.m. tonight, he said. Sunday and Monday should bring “more rain, more afternoon showers. Then it looks like we’ll have a few days of clearing (with) enough time for the valley to dry out.”

The city and county of Madera has fared well this time around, with little flooding even with runoff swollen rivers, creeks and canals.

“We’re doing pretty good,” said Javier Valdez, maintenance technician for the streets division of Madera City Public Works. “The pumps are handling it. We just do preventative maintenance right before the storm ... But if it does get really bad we have quadrants where we send people out (with portable pumps). Everybody takes care of a quadrant.”

“Most of what we’re dealing with is flood releases from various channels such as Friant (Dam) and the reservoirs. We don’t have much with flood damage and flooding issues,” said Jared Carter, deputy public works director for Madera County. “We’re having to deal with a little bit of snow in the Bass Lake area. But nothing too heavy that I know. Knock on wood we’re in fairly good shape at this point. We’ll know more in a week or so.”

Three county roads remained closed as a precaution Friday: Avenue 13, a “low water crossing by the college” between Road 29 and Road 30; the Avenue 25 bridge at the Ash Slough; and Church Street, which runs alongside a creek, in North Fork.

“There was initial flooding (there in North Fork) because of the high flows a week ago,” Carter said.

The National Weather Service issued a Winter Storm Warning for the local mountain areas, such as Oakhurst, until 10 a.m. today. Snow, at times heavy, is expected there late tonight and Sunday evening.

Oak Creak Intermediate School in Oakhurst will wait out this weekend’s storms before trying to clear its drinking restrictions after rainfall perhaps surfaced fecal bacteria E. Coli and contaminated its water supply. Bass Lake Joint Union School District put the school under a “Do Not Drink” order Jan. 13 after its water supply tested positive for the dangerous bacteria Jan. 10 and 13, according to the Sierra Star. The system has since been bleached with chlorine.

A mud and rock slide made Garnet Dike Road impassable in Fresno County’s Sierra National Forest and storm damage likewise shut Peckinpah-Whisky Falls Road. Meanwhile Beasore Road from Bass Lake has warning signs and barricades due to rocks, mud, fallen trees, other storm debris and standing water. A list of current road can be found online at

Yosemite National Park hasn’t announced any new road closures.

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