Bear Creek could reach flood levels by the end of the week in Merced County, but officials stopped short of issuing any official warning midday Tuesday.
The National Weather Service in Hanford said the foothills are forecast to see 2 to 4 inches of rain through Thursday night in areas below 7,000 feet, and 4 to 8 inches of snow above that.
Meteorologist Andy Bollenbacher said officials will be watching Bear Creek as the rainfall collects this week.
“That would be (through) Thursday night or so,” he said. “We’re closely monitoring how that apex is going to be. The peak.”
The weather service did issue a “flash flood watch” in the foothills through Thursday, adding the precipitation could lead to mudslides and debris passing over the earth scorched by forest fires.
Winter weather higher up the mountains comes with slick roads and gusty winds, the weather service said. Merced County and a few other regions in the Valley are expected to also see gusty winds during the next few days of storms.