Clovis News

Tuesday's rain set record; scattered showers today

4:30 p.m.: The storm that continued to dampen Fresno today left behind record rainfall on Tuesday, according to the National Weather Service office in Hanford.

On Tuesday, .77 of an inch of rain was measured at the Fresno-Yosemite International Airport, breaking a record for rainfall on any April 20. The previous record of .55 of an inch was set on April 20, 1963. The weather service issued the record report on its Web site today.

Between midnight and 11 a.m. today, another .01 of an inch had fallen in Fresno, but more rain fell this afternoon. The weather service will issue another update at 5 p.m.

A storm that powered through the Valley on Tuesday brought heavy rain and an unseasonable chill, knocked down tree limbs, cut power and contributed to scattered auto accidents.

Rainfall pushed Fresno's seasonal total above the annual normal rainfall for the first time since the 2005-06 rain season, the National Weather Service office in Hanford reported.

At 6 a.m. today, Fresno's rainfall total since July 1 stood at 11.77 inches, slightly above the full-season normal of 11.38 inches. The rain season begins July 1 and ends June 30.

The rainfall total of 0.77 of an inch in Fresno on Tuesday broke a record for April 20, he said. The previous record of 0.55 of an inch was set in 1963.

A steady rain fell overnight in parts of the Valley. A rain gauge at California State University, Fresno, recorded nearly a quarter-inch during the night, said Gary Sanger, a weather service meteorologist in Hanford.

Scattered showers should linger throughout the Valley today and into the evening before tapering off after midnight. Temperatures will remain unseasonably cold with a high of 55 degrees forecast for Fresno. A few breaks of sunshine between scattered showers are possible today, Sanger said.

The storm moved south through the Valley on Tuesday, hitting Fresno about 7 a.m. Wind gusts of 40 mph were reported at the Fresno-Yosemite International Airport during the day.

The rain and winds caused two power outages in southeast Fresno County, affecting about 4,900 Pacific Gas and Electric customers.

The first outage about 9:30 a.m. left 2,200 customers without power for about an hour, said utility spokesman Jeff Smith.

The second outage, reported about 10 a.m., cut power to 2,700 customers. Power was restored about three hours later, Smith said.

California Highway Patrol officers responded to a handful of accidents Tuesday morning as the storm spread across the Valley.

A two-vehicle accident west of Fresno caused moderate injuries when a vehicle and a truck collided at Dickenson Avenue and Kearney Boulevard shortly before 10:30 a.m., the CHP reported.

A vehicle rollover was reported earlier Tuesday morning on Highway 180 near Highway 168.

The driver, who was the only occupant, was not injured.

The storm may have downed at least two trees, including one that fell onto a building at Silver Lakes Apartments in southeast Fresno about 10 a.m., said Shandy Solis, Fresno Fire Department spokeswoman.

The tree punched a hole in one apartment. A man and a child were in the apartment but were not injured.

Fresno County maintenance crews worked to remove a tree that fell across Van Ness Avenue between Sierra and Herndon avenues shortly after 10 a.m., said Bob Palacios, county maintenance and operations manager.

The CHP reported a small landslide on Old Tollhouse Road at Pittman Hill Road about 12:30 p.m. northeast of Clovis.

Central San Joaquin Valley farmers either cheered or jeered Tuesday's rainstorm.

Strawberry growers, who are in the midst of their spring harvest, are among those wishing for dry weather. Too much moisture can lead to mold problems and will require extra labor to weed out water-soaked fruit.

"There is a lot of ripe fruit out there right now, and if there is too much water on it, it can start to rot," said Michael Yang, an agriculture assistant with the University of California Cooperative Extension. "Farmers are going to have to get rid of that fruit and then wait for the dry ones to get ripe."

Cherry farmers also fret over rainy weather this time of year. Rain can cause ripe fruit to split.

Fortunately, most cherry growers in the Valley are at least a week to 10 days from harvest, said Kevin Day, a farm adviser for UC Cooperative Extension in Tulare County.

"But with every passing day, cherries become more susceptible to rain," Day said.

Those welcoming the rain include dry-land crop farmers and cattle ranchers who depend on rangeland grasses to help feed their cattle.

In the Sierra Nevada, a winter storm warning was in effect Tuesday. About 20 inches of snow and strong winds were expected above 6,000 feet. Three to 5 inches of snow was expected to fall at 4,000 feet, with up to 2 feet possible at 6,000 feet.

The unusual thing about the storm system was how cold it got on the Valley floor, said National Weather Service meteorologist Jim Dudley.

Normal high temperatures this time of year are in the mid-70s, Dudley said.

Fresno's high temperature Tuesday broke the record for the coldest high for the date. Tuesday's high of 59 was 22 degrees cooler than Monday's high of 81. The lowest high temperature recorded in Fresno on April 20 previously was 62 in 1989.

Thursday's forecast calls for cloudy skies with a slight chance of rain in the morning. Mostly sunny skies should return by Friday as daytime highs climb back to the mid-70s this weekend. Friday’s high in Fresno is expected to be 71. A high of 77 is forecast for Saturday and 76 for Sunday.

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