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Blustery storm sets rainfall record

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Blustery storm sets rainfall record

High winds caused a tree to fall along Union Road on Tuesday, blocking the northbound lanes in front of P.L. Fry and Son Funeral Home. It took city crews using heavy equipment and a tree shredder t...

JASON CAMPBELL/The Bulletin


POSTED October 14, 2009 2:42 a.m.
Wind gusting up to 50 mph was not the only attention getter in Tuesday’s first major storm of the fall season. The day’s precipitation of 1.06 inches also danced its way into the record books, breaking a 47-year record for Oct. 13 that was set in 1962 when 0.76 inches of rain fell.

Tuesday’s storm was not totally unexpected, with the season’s first heavy rains predicted as early as the middle of last week. But the heavy rains whipped by strong wind gusts left in its wake uprooted trees, most of them occurring in the almond orchards around Manteca, garbage bins scattered helter skelter in parts of town where garbage collection took place, and gardens in abject disarray.

At Caswell Regional Memorial Park, a heavy branch that broke off from one of the soaring gigantic trees temporarily rendered the main road inside this last stand of valley oaks impassable. Almond orchards around rural south Manteca were lucky to lose just a few trees, but north Manteca farmer Richard Phillips of P& P Farms, an almond hulling business on Union Road north of Lathrop Road, said that his cousin and fellow almond grower Tony Martin lost nearly two-dozen of his nut-bearing trees at his orchard near the Delicato Winery along the Highway 99 Frontage Road.

“He just called and said he just lost about 20 of his nut trees; that’s a lot. There’s lots of trees going down today. One of my neighbors’ went down,” Phillips said.

As for his own orchards stretched in the green belt area that lies between Airport Way and Union Road south of French Camp Road, he said he had been lucky so far.

“None that I noticed yet,” he quickly added as he enjoyed a well-deserved rest early Tuesday afternoon after the hectic schedule he and his family had the last few days going into overdrive, picking up all the almonds on the ground in a frantic effort to beat the rain.

One of the tree casualties of the day also happened at P.L. Fry & Son where a mature tree was toppled down by the strong winds. The incident, though, did not significantly affect traffic since the fallen tree did not land where it impeded traffic.

With Tuesday’s rain arriving before area trees shed their autumn leaves, there were no major flooding incidents observed around the city. There were dozens of street corners flooded but nothing major.

During the height of the early morning storm surge Tuesday a Union 76 free standing sign near the Yosemite Avenue off ramp to northbound Highway 99 began to lean, threatening power lines and off ramp traffic.  Caltrans, the CHP and a Manteca fire unit responded to the scene closing the ramp from about 6:30 a.m. until after  noon.

Falling trees reportedly caused damage to property and fencing on the side of Austin Road north of Yosemite Avenue.  On South Austin Road a tree flipped over a motor home, however no one was injured.

The sheet metal roofing at Al’s Towing at 510 South Main Street was ripped off by the high winds.  The fire department was called out to remove the remaining loose sheeting to prevent anyone from being injured.

At Union Road and Sapphire Way a tree was downed by the wind and closed two lanes of traffic, police said.  City crews responded cutting up the tree and opening the roadway to traffic.

In the mid-afternoon, an 18-wheeler reportedly turned over on Highway 120 just east of the I-5 Freeway causing a traffic backup of the eastbound commute.  The Manteca Fire Department responded when police reported the truck was leaking fuel.  A second crash on 205 added to the homeward bound traffic congestion.

In Ripon a tree next to the Bank of Stockton branch split at the trunk landing on a teller’s vehicle that had just been parked at the curb at about 8 a.m.  Another Ripon call brought firemen to a home in the 500 block of Fir Court where power lines had been downed by a falling tree and were reported to be arcing in the front yard of a residence.

While we can bid goodbye to Tuesday’s stormy weather, don’t leave home yet without your umbrella handy, at least today. Rain showers are predicted today and a slight chance of rain showers tonight with highs in the mid-60s and mid-70s. Fair weather is expected in the extended forecast from the National Weather Service – cloudy skies on Thursday, mostly sunny on Friday and Saturday, then partly cloudy again on Sunday with a slight chance of rain at night. Spring-like weather can be expected through Tuesday with highs just hovering in the low 60s to 70s on mostly clear days.

Staff reporter Glenn Kahl contributed to this story
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