Winter storm brings heavy rainfall to Central California

FRESNO, California (KFSN) -- A winter storm is causing heavy rainfall across the Central Valley. Rivers are rising, and rock slides are being reported on major roadways leading up to the mountains.

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A wind advisory in effect until 10 p.m. Sunday evening and a flood watch in effect through Monday afternoon. Sunday there is a slight chance of thunderstorms -- with showers in the morning, then steady rain in the afternoon. Highs 60 to 65 in Fresno with a southeast wind 20 to 30 mph.

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The weather hit hard in Tulare County this weekend, causing concerns of flooding in Three Rivers. The Kaweah River level has more than doubled since Friday next to the Gateway Restaurant and Lodge. People in the area say this is something they have not seen in years.

"This only comes every 15 to 20 years or so and I've only been up here 17 and this is the second highest I've seen it, and it might even get higher," said Kyle McIntyre, Gateway Restaurant and Lodge.

Despite the intense weather, Gateway Restaurant and Lodge says the rain did not cause them to lose business.

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Not too far from Three Rivers, Caltrans and Tulare County first responders spent the night cleaning up debris from a rock slide. A woman inside a jeep crashed into this massive pile of rocks along Highway 198 near Lemon Cove Road. Fortunately, she was okay and didn't have to be taken to the hospital.

Officials say the rock slide is likely the result of the storm, which blocked both lanes and stopped the flow of traffic for hours.

The Valley Floor in Yosemite National Park is now completely shut down and evacuated as the Merced River rises from the rain. The Red Cross is helping about 50 park employees and residents as they wait out the storm.

Park rangers asked people to leave Saturday afternoon -- advising them to take shelter at the Oakhurst Evangelical Free Church and the Tenaya Lodge. Currently, people are staying on cots in the ballroom and the staff says they're preparing a second ballroom in case more people show up.

On Friday, the park shut down roads onto the valley floor for tourists due to flooding concerns.

In the Sequoia National Forest, the main Generals Highway is closed at foothills visitor center until further notice. Officials say rock slides and flooding has forced the closure and many of the tourist attractions are not accessible.

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The winter storm is causing heavy rainfall across the Central Valley and it's dumping snow in the sierra.

In Fresno and Clovis the rain has been steady throughout the weekend, but much lighter than the high country. Despite the showers, some outdoor events still carried on through the storm.

The soggy streets of Old Town Clovis didn't stop everyone from going to the first farmers market of the year.

"We had to come out if they're willing to grow the green were going to be here to give them green to be here," said Lisa Smith, Clovis.

The day got off to a slow start, but there was a steady flow of patrons, donning rain boots and umbrellas, checking items off their grocery lists.

Market Manager Carole Lester even made it a family trip. She says vendors make sure to put their best foot forward every weekend rain or shine. Space heaters and tent covers helped vendors gladly brave the cold to welcome patrons and the wet weather, curbing a long time drought.

The storm is expected to impact the area through Monday.

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