Storm brings lightning, thunder — and welcome rain — to Valley | Fresno Bee

A tropical storm moving through Southern California made its way into the central San Joaquin Valley on Saturday, bringing thunderstorms and lower temperatures, the National Weather Service in Hanford said.

Lightning and thunder rolled across the Fresno area Saturday evening, causing numerous power outages and a rare rain-out for the Grizzlies at Chukchansi Park. Northwest Fresno appeared hardest hit by outages, including patrons at Fig Garden Village who were left in the dark in eateries.

Pacific Gas & Electric reported 44 outages affecting 73,780 customers in Fresno, mostly in the northwest area and west of Highway 99. There were no estimate for when power would be restored. Power also was knocked out for 868 customers in the Bonadelle Ranchos/Madera Ranchos area of Madera County, PG&E reported.

Saturday’s downfall measured .34 of an inch as of 7:53 p.m., guaranteeing that a new rainfall record would be set for July 18, said National Weather Service meteorologist Cindy Bean. The previous record was a trace amount, set in 2006, she said. The rainfall total is measured at midnight.

Bean said she heard that gusty winds had damaged roofs, trees and power lines Saturday afternoon in Three Rivers.

Saturday’s storm was not just due to Tropical Storm Dolores moving northward, but also monsoonal weather moving from Texas through Arizona and into California, she said. “It’s a fairly complicated pattern.”

Despite heavy rain in downtown Fresno, hundreds of people flocked to the Fulton Mall to listen to bands at the Summer Sweat Block Party.

“I saw clouds on my way here, and I was still excited,” said Reyna Quesada of Fresno. She said the lightning was scary, but it wasn’t deterring music fans from arriving. Quesada said she assumed the storm would soon pass by.

Wendy Torres of Fresno said she wasn’t expecting rain, but she and her boyfriend weren’t planning to bail out on the event.

Meteorologist David Spector said that the northern border of Tropical Storm Dolores pushed through southeastern Kern County on Saturday morning and moved north into Fresno County by Saturday evening.

A lot more rain is on the way Sunday, Spector said. The storm activity is expected to die down by Monday evening.

The strange July moisture wave will lower temperatures, Spector said. Fresno hit a high of 101 on Saturday, but there’s a good chance the rain will reduce temperatures below 90 on Sunday and Monday. The forecast currently calls for highs of 93 on each day.

Spector said that the possibility of thunder and lightning shouldn’t raise wildfire concerns in the parched Valley too much, because the storms will be accompanied by a lot of rain.


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