FRESNO COUNTY, Calif. (KSEE/KGPE) – With more snow on the way for the mountains, Fresno County officials are preparing for the worst.
One of their concerns is flooding from water rushing downstream, and even more snowmelt in the mountain communities.
Highway 168 could see some delays because of this storm. Representatives from Caltrans and the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office are monitoring the rain and snow, that could bring dangerous conditions to the mountains, again.
Several feet of snow are expected in the mountain communities of Fresno County over the next few days.
“The big things that we look at especially in the mountains is the intensity of the rainfall and the snowfall. For us as we’ve been handling all of the others, involves a lot of planning and a lot of preparation,” said Lt. Kathy Curtice.
Lt. Curtice watches over the Hwy 168 and Hwy 180 corridor. Deputies are patrolling the mountain areas and are standing by with heavy equipment if rescues are necessary.
“We have the equipment available. We have all of the equipment pre-staged. It’s located in the mountains and the deputies are still on duty ready to get out of a patrol car and get into a boat or get into a snowcat if they have to,” Lt. Curtice.
The concern isn’t so much the snow, but the snow melt.
“It’s a constant concern, it’s a little bit different in the mountains because the water is flowing faster. It’s got the gradient to push it downhill versus the flooding that we see on the valley floor,” Curtice said.
“Our crews are back on their 24-hour storm protocol,” said Elizabeth Yelton with Caltrans District 6.
Caltrans crews are tackling the weather on all sides of Shaver Lake.
“The ones on the eastern half will be plowing and getting ready for any kind of snow that will be coming through the area and those on the western half, any kind of, if the rain comes through or any kind of mudslides or debris, they’ll be taking care of that,” said Yelton.
Yelton isn’t expecting any hard closures for residents but wants drivers to be vigilant when going up and down the mountain.
One lane on Highway 168 is already closed off due to concerns of mudslides or rockslides along the four lanes.
Yelton did add there could be chain controls, but as for where it depends on where the snow lands the heaviest.