Rain, hail whip through Valley

Forecasters say rain could return by the weekend.

May 9, 2011 

A storm that lasted about an hour and a half Monday brought high winds, hail and rain to the central San Joaquin Valley.

"It was in and out quick," said National Weather Service meteorologist Jim Dudley.

Wind speeds reached about 30 mph in Fresno and Clovis and 45 mph in Visalia, he said.

The storm dropped .02 of an inch of rain in Fresno, bringing the season total to 15.28 inches, which is 4.5 inches above the normal season-to-date rainfall of 10.78 inches, said meteorologist Carlos Molina.

Clovis received the most rain -- a quarter of an inch. The storm, which moved in from the Gulf of Alaska, also dropped marble-sized hail in Clovis.

The snow level dropped to about 6,000 feet, Molina said. About an inch of snow fell in Shaver Lake and at China Peak. Thunder and lightning were reported from Merced to Visalia.

The Fresno County Fire Department responded to about 14 weather-related incidents, including traffic crashes and downed trees and power lines. In Easton, a tree fell onto a power line near a house, authorities said. There were no reported injuries.

The storm moved out quickly and will be replaced by warmer temperatures throughout the week, Molina said. "We're looking at temperatures starting to warm up again for the next few days with clear skies," he said.

Highs are expected to be in the upper 70s to mid-80s.

The next storm could move in Saturday, Molina said. "We're looking at cooler temperatures and maybe a chance of rain" for the weekend, he said. Highs for the weekend are expected to be in the low 70s.

Molina said this back-and-forth weather between warm and sunny and cool and wet is normal for this time of year.

"It's usually not until June before we go to hot and dry," he said.