Storm washes out roads in Tuolumne County; drivers warned to stay away

Storms washed out some roads in the Northern San Joaquin Valley and foothills Wednesday, while other areas saw sunny and breezy conditions as the weather continued to seem to struggle to decide what it wanted to do.

Tuolumne County got the hardest hit. The sheriff’s office there posted video on its Facebook page of water rushing down the street, warning drivers: “With the torrential rains today, there are many roads in the county and the city that are flooded. ... Some roads are flooded, but not closed yet, please do not cross a flooded road way! It takes just inches of water to move a car.”

Sonora’s police department posted video of hail, rain and snow falling outside the department, making for sheets of water coming off of buildings. Sonora Police Chief Turu VanderWiel, coming in from the nastiness, is asked on the video for any public safety announcements.

“Don’t drive unless you have to,” the sodden chief said.

Later Wednesday afternoon, Sonora police posted an announcement that 911 service was down. Comments on the Facebook post indicated the an AT&T building had four feet of water in it.

Several homes and businesses were flooded, police said.

In Stanislaus County, flooding on Montpelier Road near Denair prompted the California Highway Patrol to close the road. As of 3 p.m Wednesday, the Modesto area had received 0.17 inches Wednesday, bringing the season total to date to 9.19 inches., the Modesto Irrigation District reported. Average rainfall for the season, which runs from July 30 to June 1, is 12.20 inches.

The National Weather Service issued a flood watch through Thursday.

The most recent storm also prompted the California Department of Transportation to State Route 140 into Yosemite on Wednesday afternoon.

“Risks for this stretch of roadway in storm conditions include mudslides and the movement of debris, such as rocks, onto highway lanes. Caltrans crews will close the road when the storm begins,” the Mariposa County Sheriff’s Department said in a news release.

More rain is expected in the area on Thursday, with conditions clearing on Friday, the Weather Service said. But then there’s another chance of rain this weekend.