Storms devastate crops in the Valley, growers brace for next round of wild weather

KINGSBURG, Calif. (KFSN) -- As strong wind, rain and hail pummeled the Central Valley, crops were left to Mother Nature's mercy. There are more than 400 different crops grown in Fresno County, with 2017's crop report showing it is a $7 billion industry.

Though Fresno County Farm Bureau CEO Ryan Jacobsen says it's still too early to tell the extent of damage, he also says the storm was devastating for some cherry growers.

"There can be orchards wiped out there can be complete cotton fields wiped out," he said. "It just depends on which cloud you were under and some of these were serious events."

While the storm has no impact on the taste, the cracks, caused by rainfall, mean the cherries in one Kingsburg orchard will likely never make it to the produce aisle.

Stone fruit and tomato growers are also feeling the stress.

"The water that we've gotten, it makes it very difficult to get in the field and do the appropriate cultural practices to preserve the crop," Jacobsen said.

This time of year, almond trees are top heavy. The combination of precipitation, shallow roots and strong winds created the perfect storm for the younger trees.

While growers are tallying the immediate impacts, there are long-term storm consequences that have yet to be seen.

"Particularly when you talk about some of the fungus and mold issues some of those don't show up until much later on," Jacobsen adds, "this is definitely a memorable May when it comes to weather."

Many growers are bracing for the next set of storms to hit as early as Tuesday.
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