Winter storm warning in effect for area till 11 a.m. Wednesday

05/17/2011 1:06 PM

05/18/2011 2:22 AM

With a winter storm warning in effect until 11 a.m. today, winter hasn't quite loosened its grip on the Merced area.

The unstable, cold, rainy weather that plagued the San Joaquin Valley is not going to disappear, at least until next week, according to the National Weather Service in Hanford.

Jim Bagnall, a meteorologist with the weather service, said another shot of rain was expected Tuesday night and into this morning. And the storm is another cold, wet one, poised to dump more snow on an already snowy Sierra Nevada.

For the Merced area, the storm is expected to bring about .2 inches of rain, and the foothills will see even more wet stuff.

In Yosemite National Park, snow and wind will be the weather pattern through late this afternoon. The snow level is at about 6,000 feet, and the park could get two to 10 inches of new snow. The snow in the park is already at 199 percent of normal.

The weather may be playing havoc with some hay growers in the area, according to David Robinson, agricultural commissioner for Merced County.

"The cut hay that's on the ground is the number one issue after these rainstorms," Robinson said. "Hay that has been rained on has less quality and the price goes down."

The area should see some mild weather Thursday through Saturday, with another storm system settling in Sunday. "It's another cold one," Bagnall said. "But it might not have as much precipitation with it as the one hitting us now."

By next Tuesday, highs are expected to be in the mid-70s, below the average temperature of about 83.

Merced received about .16 inches of rain Monday night, bringing the month's total to .52 inches. Since July 1, 2010, the area has received about 14.53 inches of rain. The average for a year is about 12.5 inches.

Reporter Carol Reiter can be reached at creiter@mercedsun-star.com and (209) 385-2486.

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