By LENORE RUTHERFORD
After a relatively dry week, the National Weather Service has issued a winter storm watch for today through Sunday.
There is a potential for heavy snowfall in the mountains and heavy rain in the foothills, especially Saturday and Saturday night, according to the forecast.
Roller-coaster snow levels are expected to climb to as high as 7,000 feet tonight and Saturday morning, with rain melting snow in the higher foothills, then drop to as low as 2,500 feet again by Sunday morning.
"If it rains on the snow, we will have some highway flooding to deal with until the snow level drops again," said Tim McGrath, Caltrans daytime lead worker based in Long Barn. "We will have to dig out the culverts to drain water from the highway."
Michael Barrington, Caltrans supervisor based at Camp Connell, said his workers will also be poking holes in the snowbanks to drain water.
"We don't want water pooling on the highway and then freezing solid," he said. "If we do have a big freeze, we hope at least it will be after the weekend traffic is over."
One to 3 feet of new snow is possible over the higher elevations, according to the National Weather Service.
In addition to the rain and snow, windy conditions are expected.
The National Weather Service forecast calls for more storms during the next week or so.
Drivers should call ahead before traveling to the high country this weekend.
Winter play areas include:
Dodge Ridge Winter Sports Area, Dodge Ridge Road off Highway 108, snow phone, 965-4444.
Badger Pass Ski Area, Yosemite Park, 372-8430 or 372-1000.
Leland High Sierra Snow Play, Leland Meadow, Highway 108, 965-4719.
Bear Valley Mountain Resort off Highway 4, cross-country, 753-2834, and downhill, 753-2301.
Long Barn Lodge, ice skating, 586-3533.
Yosemite National Park, ice skating, 372-8341.