About two weeks after winter storms brought warnings of blizzards and foot snow to parts of California, warm rains are in the forecast that could cause flooding, officials said.

“It’s going to melt the snow, and we also have warm water on top of the snow,” Fresno County Emergency Services director Terri Mejorado said at a news conference Wednesday.

Downtown Fresno is forecast to get 3 inches of rain Thursday night through Saturday morning, but the warm rain and warm temperatures will also melt snow in lower mountain elevations, he said, making streams rise rapidly.

The Fresno County Sheriff’s Office on Tuesday issued evacuation warnings for the foothills and mountains, telling people to be ready to go.

An «atmospheric river» was expected to impact the western United States beginning Thursday, according to the National Weather Service.

Winter storm warnings were issued beginning Thursday for a swath of California that included the Sierra Nevada. Flood watches will be in effect in other regions, including Fresno and the Sacramento Valley, through Sunday.

Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, which sit next to each other in the Sierra Nevada, are closing their entrances due to weather. Heavy rain is forecast for elevations that have up to 12 feet of snow on the ground, the National Park Service said.

«There is great potential for flooding and severe damage to roads and infrastructure, both in the parks and in the surrounding communities,» the park service said. said in a statement.

Forecasters in the San Francisco Bay Area warned of the risk of significant flooding in rivers from the Santa Cruz Mountains and south into Monterey County.

«Preparations should be completed by the end of the day today,» the weather service said on Wednesday.

Farther south and closer to the coast, Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties could see 4 inches of rain, according to the Oxnard weather service. Parts of the coast and hills of San Luis Obispo could reach up to 8 inches, she said.

In late February, a powerful winter storm brought blizzard conditions and feet of snow to the mountains of southern California, including about 7 feet to parts of the San Bernardino Mountains northeast of Los Angeles.

The heavy snowfall isolated some communities and trapped some residents in their homes. Wrightwood, a community of 4,700, received about 50 inches of snow, or just over 4 feet, according to the weather service.

Mountain roads began to reopen this week after being closed for more than 10 days.