Evacuation warnings issued for upcoming severe storm

The foothill communities throughout Fresno and Tulare Counties are expected to be hit the hardest.

As California prepares to be battered by another wave of intense storms over the coming weeks, evacuation warnings are in effect in the Central Valley. 

Fresno and Tulare Counties issued preemptive evacuation warnings this week for many foothill communities along the Sierra Nevada mountains. 


Driving the news: Fresno County issued an evacuation warning for around 17,000 people that live in the foothills and mountains. 

  • Areas near Shaver Lake and Huntington Lake have the highest risk with the incoming storms, according to the Fresno County Sheriff’s winter storm risk map
  • The Tulare County Sheriff’s Office issued an evacuation warning for Ponderosa, which includes the Western Divide Highway, north of Mountain Road 50 and south of Highway 190. 
  • Tulare County also issued an evacuation warning for the homes and businesses along the Kings River from the Fresno County line to the Kings County line. The county expects the Kings River water flow to increase to dangerous levels as the storms progress. 

What we’re watching: National Weather Service Hanford forecasts the winter storms to reach the west coast on Thursday night and provide a heavy burst of precipitation into Friday. 

  • The storm is expected to bring heavy rain and high snow levels, with significant snowmelt expected below 5,000 feet that will likely lead to flooding. 

What they’re saying: NWS meteorologist Kristian Mattarochia said during a media briefing Tuesday that the upcoming storm “will be unlike any other wet event so far this season,” calling the amount of rain “unprecedented.” 

  • “This is not a garden variety storm,” Mattarochia said. “This is something, again, that will bring impacts to daily life never experienced before.”
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