Hail damage to crops appears light from a low pressure and associated storms that rolled through California in mid-May.
The low pressure system that moved south through California brought reports of hail from the Lodi area to about Madera, according to Nat DiBuduo, president of Allied Grape Growers in Fresno.
DiBuduo's staff is still surveying for damage to the grape crop. There were reports of vine damage in the Lodi area. DiBuduo does not yet know the extent of berry damage, if any.
Barry Bedwell, president of the California Fresh Fruit Association, said hail reports to his office were sporadic and that damage appears to be light to peaches, nectarines and plums.
Bedwell is already expecting this season’s total crop yield for the three types of fruit to be slightly less than 40 million cartons. This compares to just over 40 million cartons of fruit last year.
Reports into Bedwell’s office suggest the hail was relatively soft, which may have mitigated any more severe damage that could have happened. Of the reports received, Bedwell said there was not enough damage to impact market prices.
Minimal impacts of the hail were reported in Merced County, according to David Doll, UC Farm Advisor and tree nut expert from Merced County. Doll said any damage appeared light from hail in the Ballico area, with just a few nuts knocked to the ground.
"I don't think it'll be anything substantial in terms of crop loss," Doll said.
Jim Andersen, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Hanford, Calif., said there were reports of hail from three-quarters of an inch to one inch in diameter in some locations of the San Joaquin Valley (SJV). Andersen said that’s enough to cause significant damage to crops.
Andersen said the hail could have been softer because it fell through warmer air before hitting the surface.
One hail storm that hit Merced County “parked itself” over the area, according to Andersen. There were reports of several inches of hail covering the ground in the area.
Unofficial reports of over an inch of rain in some places in the SJV floated in via social media. Those included media reports of severe street flooding in parts of the City of Fresno, while some areas were untouched by rain.
Folsom Lake received 1.3 inches of rain on May 14 in a little more than an hour during a brief storm that hit the Sacramento Region with as much as 1.74 inches of rain, according to official National Weather Service reports.
As of May 18, 0.82 of an inch of rain fell on California State University, Fresno, which does have a large farming operation on campus. That brings the total rainfall for the 2014/2015 rain season (October through September) to 7.74 inches of rain at the campus station.
The late-season storms also brought as much as two feet of snow to places in the Sierra. That snow literally lasted a day or two before completely melting.
None of that snow melt made it to area reservoirs as data show the lake level at New Melones on the Stanislaus River down more than 22,000 acre feet so far this May. Shasta Lake in northern California is down more than 137,000 acre feet since May 1, and Oroville, which is on the Feather River, is off more than 141,000 acre feet since the first of the month.
For the first time in the 100-plus year history of the Los Angeles Aqueduct, water from the Eastern Sierra that is destined for Los Angeles via the aqueduct was halted just south of Owens Lake. A temporary dam was placed in the aqueduct because there is not enough water to send south into Los Angeles.