Authorities and residents prepare for the next storm
FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- The second storm to hit the Valley and the Sierra in the past few days is slowly moving in Thursday.
Officials at the China Peak Ski Resort say 36-inches of new snow fell overnight. That adds to the total of 130-inches in the past seven days.
Highway 168 near the resort reopened Thursday morning but all vehicles must use chains or have four wheel drive.
There was a big traffic mess on Highway 41 overnight as heavy snow fell in the foothills and mountains. A video captured by Madera County Deputy Sheriff Tyson Pogue as he was driving north to Oakhurst in the southbound lane of the highway near Deadwood.
A row of vehicles had to be towed out so that Cal Trans could clear the snow from the road and sand it. Some drivers were stuck on the highway for nearly four hours.
Thousands of people in Madera County are still without power Thursday. Madera County Supervisors will hold an emergency meeting today at three to issue a disaster declaration.
PG&E says about 2,700 customers in Oakhurst are still without power. Nearly 1,700 customers have no power in North Fork and Ahwahnee. Many people are relying on generators, but others are still in the dark and dealing with another cold morning.
A PG&E spokesman says they hope to restore power to many homes and businesses within the next 48-hours. People in remote areas of Fresno and Madera Counties may not have power until the end of the week.
Two highways into Yosemite National Park are open Thursday for day use only even though a power outage has blacked out most of the park.
Highways 140 and 120 from the west reopened at 7 a.m. Thursday morning. The highways will remain open until 7 p.m. Thursday night and chains are required on both roads.
Action News was allowed inside the park to get a look at the conditions Wednesday. About 100 visitors have chosen to stay despite a voluntary evacuation order. Several buildings are running off generators while PG&E works to restore power in the coming days.
In nearby El Portal, downed trees and mudslides led Mariposa County leaders to declare a State Of Emergency to receive help from the state.
"From a winter storm standpoint... this is the worst I've seen it in my last 25-30 years," said Mariposa County Fire Chief Jim Wilson.
For updated road information inside Yosemite National Park, please call 209-372-0200.
For road conditions outside the park call the Cal Trans hotline at 1-800-427-ROAD (7623).
Tulare County has activated its emergency operations center to deal with this week's wet weather. The South Valley hasn't seen any significant damage yet, but city and county workers are prepared to tackle any flooding problems. Emergency crews are on stand-by, ready to inspect roads and neighborhoods affected by the storm.
Sandbags are available for people in Visalia at fire stations on Johnson and Ferguson Streets -- and at the Visalia Corporation Yard.
Hundreds of sandbags are also available at fire stations in rural Tulare County.
china peak, madera county, oakhurst, north fork, ahwahnee, yosemite, fresno county, el portal, mariposa county, tulare county, local
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