Wild summer storm slams Central Valley

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Thunder rolled from the North Valley to the South Valley as lightning lit up the sky. (#abc30insider Sam Cedillo)

ABC30 Insiders captured much of the storm from all over the Central Valley. Videos and photos of the lightning and rain poured in, showing flooding in Hanford, strikes in the foothills and Clovis, and even some against the sunset.
An ABC30 Insider captured the moment a lightning bolt struck a tree in Southeast Fresno on Saturday. The video showed the flames travel down the palm tree right to the ground. It was just one of many strikes seen across the Valley.



Thunder rolled from the North Valley to the South Valley as lightning lit up the sky. Action News cameras caught a bolt near Ashlan Avenue and Fresno Street.

Heavy rain pounded many parts of the Valley. Video from Blackstone and Dakota avenues in Central Fresno showed the rain coming down hard earlier Saturday.

The storm caused several power outages throughout the Valley, with the largest in Fresno. Nearly 72,000 PG&E customers in West, Central and North Fresno, and Kerman were still without electricity Saturday night, including the area at Ashlan Avenue and Fresno Street. The outages started at about 5:15 p.m. and turned off several traffic lights throughout town, causing congestion at major intersections. PG&E did not have an estimated time when power would be restored.

The storm also forced the Fresno Grizzlies to postpone Saturday's game against the El Paso Chihuahuas. The lightning started right after the players took the field at Chukchansi Park. The teams are now planning a doubleheader for Sunday afternoon.

It's still too early say for certain, but firefighters say lightning is likely the reason why dozens of fires started in the area. Lightning rippled across the sky as the heavy storm moved through the Fresno area. Fires sparked by lightning were the first to impact first responders.

In Auberry, more than 100 firefighters battled a 75-acre wildfire. Video taken by an ABC30 Insider showed flames in the distance. Cal Fire says they had a hard time containing the blaze because of the storm.

"Gusts of wind ranging up to 50 miles an hour and some of those areas are predicted to be very erratic, causing wildfires to move suddenly and in multiple directions," said Ryan Michaels with Cal Fire.

Cal Fire says lightning strikes could start fires instantaneously. An apartment fire in Parlier was likely started by a strike. Flames sparked on the roof, Cal Fire says, while six people were inside. No one was hurt, but the family is now displaced.

In Laton, ABC30 Insider Austin W. Minter says lightning also caused a fire that burned what appears to be brush at Laton-Kingston Park.

Fresno Fire says they responded to multiple power pole fires. At one point, PG&E reported 72,000 people without power.

Cal Fire also battled a 15-acre fire near Avocado Lake and several smaller fires in and around Pine Flat Lake.

Tulare County Fire responded to 26 storm-related fires; three of those were major incidents.

Related Topics:
weather#abc30insidersevere weatherstormlightningrainwildfirefirebrush firepower outagefresnoFresnoFresno CountyMadera CountyMerced CountyTulare CountyKings CountyMariposa CountySierra - Foothills
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