Valley storm brings rain, power outages and flash flood warning

The Fresno BeeNovember 20, 2013 

A pedestrian strolls by the cascading fountain in Courthouse Park on a late fall day, Tuesday, November 19, 2013.

JOHN WALKER — THE FRESNO BEE Buy Photo

The first significant storm of the season brought much needed rain and unwanted power outages throughout the Valley Wednesday.

Over the course of Wednesday night, thousands of people in the Fresno-Clovis metro area were without power as Pacific Gas & Electric Co. and fire and police departments scrambled to respond to weather-related incidents. PG&E reported as many as 2,852 customers in Fresno and 1,776 customers in Clovis were without power.

In Clovis, a blown transformer at Barstow and Villa avenues knocked out the traffic signals, police Sgt. Brett Hershberger said. He said an unlicensed driver drove through the intersection instead of treating it as a four-way stop and hit two other vehicles. No one was injured.

At Nees and Minnewawa avenues, a teenage girl told police the slippery road caused her to lose control and slam into the traffic light control box, knocking it clean off, Hershberger said.

Rain wasn't the only cause of problems Wednesday night.

Carlos Molina, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Hanford, said winds gusting between 25 and 30 mph were likely responsible for damage to power lines.

Fresno County/Cal Fire Capt. Carlos Pacheco said fire units crisscrossed the Valley for calls of power pole lines arcing or on the ground. As of 8:30 p.m., he said none of the incidents involved major damage, but power lines fell on the road near Bethel and North avenues near Sanger, blocking traffic.

Molina said the rain pounded the eastern part of the Valley as it traveled south.

"Everyone along Highway 99 was getting the worst of it," Molina said. In the Sierra, a flash flood warning was issued for areas burned in this summer's Rim fire.

As of 9 p.m., he said Fresno received about 0.40 inches of rain, Merced about 0.60 inches, Madera about 0.34 inches, Visalia about 0.32 inches and Hanford about 0.18 inches.

Until Wednesday's storm, Fresno had recorded just 0.04 of an inch of rain since July 1. Normally it would have 1.47 inches by now.

The forecast for the rest of the week is for no rain before the next storm system, which is expected between Monday and Wednesday of next week.

The reporter can be reached at (559) 441-6279 or jrayburn@fresnobee.com.

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