Valley storm knocks trees over, floods fields, but minimal hail damage to crops

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Large hail, some of it one inch in diameter, posed a major threat, especially to Central Valley farmers.

Chowchilla resident Joe Bento saw some of that hail at the house he's remodeling northwest of Madera. He said he had to feel it to believe it.

"But we do need it," Bento said. "We do need it bad."

West of Highway 99 along Avenue 20, we found flooded fields, and downed almond trees, both small and large.

Strong winds uprooted some, and snapped limbs on others. But hail damage, a major threat to valley farmers, appeared to be minimal.

"These types of storms, when they roll in, obviously it's very much isolated to what clouds you happen to be underneath," said Fresno Farm Bureau CEO Ryan Jacobsen. "You can have damage from hail on one side of the street, on the other side of the street it's not hit."

But Jacobsen says these storms, not unusual for this time of the year, do bring relief in more than one way.

"Any type of precipitation is going to help, I mean obviously we're in a very significant deficit right now where this isn't going to make up the difference, but I think one thing that it does do, it helps alleviate some of the unseasonably warm temperatures that we've had here recently," Jacobsen said.

Puddles on these country roads didn't put anybody off, but they sure made things hectic for Fresno drivers.

Even though Rolinda Gomez got caught in the rain coming home from work, she speaks the drought gospel.

"The valley needs it, the whole state of California needs the water right now," Gomez said. "So hopefully this will help out some in our drought situation."
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