Storm moving through Central California expected to be at peak strength during peak travel

Jessica Harrington Image
Tuesday, December 27, 2022
Storm moving through Central California expected to be at peak strength during peak travel
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An estimated 102 million Americans are traveling by car to their destination this holiday season.

FRESNO COUNTY, Calif. (KFSN) -- An estimated 102 million Americans are traveling by car to their destination this holiday season.

Some of the busiest days on the road are expected to be Tuesday and Wednesday, just as a storm moving through Central California is at its peak strength.

Officials are urging people to take precautions now to keep yourself safe.

With wet weather, the California Highway Patrol is urging drivers to prepare their vehicles.

"You always want to make sure your maintenance is up to date, specifically when it comes to your tires and your headlights and your windshield wipers," CHP Officer Anthony Daulton said.

Officials say the best thing drivers can do, especially in a storm, is slow down.

That's because one puddle can send you out of control.

"When you hit those at certain speeds, your tires physically cant move the water out from underneath your vehicle fast enough, which is what causes hydroplaning," Officer Daulton said.

With a series of storms, meteorologists say there is a risk for flooding.

It also means the chance of mudslides.

Officials are monitoring the Washburn Fire burn scar in Yosemite National Park.

"It's been a pretty active start to our season, despite the La Nina being in place," Meteorologist Andy Bollenbacher with the National Weather Service in Hanford said.

A La Nina pattern typically brings a drier winter compared to an El Nino pattern.

Meteorologists say this flow of rain and snow is actually normal, but it's a pattern drought-stricken California hasn't seen in a few years.

To prepare for flooding, Madera County is making sure residents have access to sandbags.

The sand and 10 bags are free, but you'll have to bring your own shovel and fill the bags yourself.

Travel to the mountain areas is not recommended.

But Madera County Sheriff's Office Commander Jason Clark says, if you must go, you should plan ahead.

"If you're planning on going up to the higher altitudes where the snow is, we would encourage you not to unless you have chains, a medical bag, food and water and extra warm clothing." Commander Clark said.

Storm activity is expected for the next 10 to 14 days.

Officials say if your travel is not essential, you may want to postpone it.