First storm of 2019 will add to rain and snowfall totals in central California

The first storm of 2019 is knocking on the door of Central California and what has been a great season so far at China Peak Mountain Resort is about to get even better.

"Compared to last year it is a great start obviously. We had a rough season last year. So we had a very good Christmas and good skiing conditions. We have been able to open more terrain in the last few days with some very cold temperatures for snow making," said Tim Cohee, China Peak Mountain Resort.

The storm expect to move in the Sierra on Saturday could produce one to two feet of fresh snow.

Storms in November and December were decent snow makers for the ski resort but the colder temperatures had a bigger impact.

"The snow quality when you are first getting started in December is very important. And so you don't want the light, fluffy, powder snow. You want the stuff that has more density and more water in it," said Cohee.

With this weekend's heavy snowfall drivers in the Sierra need to carry tire chains, China Peak monitors conditions on the main highway up to the resort.

"Caltrans does an absolutely terrific job on 168. Probably the best winter maintained highway in California in my opinion and that's almost with 40 years of experience. And so they do a great job," said Cohee.

The cold and dry conditions in the Valley this week have citrus farmers running fans in the late night and early morning hours.

But water on the ground this weekend and into next week could help rainfalls totals go above normal.

"That looks like a possibility and then looking at the 6 to 10 day and 10 to 14 day outlooks from the Climate Prediction Center looks like we will still remain above average," said Brian Ochs, National Weather Service in Hanford.

Ochs said Fresno is near 65 percent for the rainfall season.

This next storm for the Valley could drop a third of an inch of rain.
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