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Hail pelts Manteca & Ripon

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Sergio Romero runs for cover as hail starts falling from the sky above his north Manteca home late Sunday afternoon.

HIME ROMERO/The Bulletin/

POSTED January 26, 2009 1:13 a.m.
Hail pounded parts of Manteca and Ripon late Sunday afternoon as a severe winter storm with thunder, lightning and rain passed through the South County.
Long-time Ripon resident Harold Mathews, who lives on Wilma Avenue, said the hail came straight down for a good half hour that saw lightning strikes and the associated thunder only one second apart.  He said there was no wind associated with the storm that began about 4 p.m.
Thunder claps measure lightning strike locations - one second for every 1,000 feet of distance the strike is away from the report.  Mathews said the thunder was almost immediate after the flashes.
He said that lawns and roof tops were covered in white with some people going out and collecting hands full of hail and taking it inside.  Mathews said the hail was large estimating it to be 3/8 inch in diameter.  
Donna Mathews said she had been out walking in her neighborhood for about an hour when she noticed the weather looking bad - looking funny - and thinking she should be home rather than being caught in a rain storm.
She said that within five minutes of returning to her apartment she heard a loud bang and the lights went out - they stayed out for three hours, she said.  “We had a terrible storm - the ground was white like snow,” she said.  “The thunder sounded like it was right on our door step.”
The staff members at Mar Val Market,  on West Main Street at Wilma Avenue, said they ran for flash lights to help their customers caught in the darkness during a power failure triggered by the storm.
Ripon city crews put up “street flooded” signs on some roadways because of the downpour.  Some dogs were spooked, as well, by the sudden dramatic display in the weather.
There were dozens of flooded corners in central Manteca neighborhoods as the sudden downpour was hampered by leaf clogged storm drains.
There is a slight chance of showers this morning. Tonight’s low is expected to drop to 35 degrees. Tuesday calls for partly sunny skies and a high of 54 degrees. Overnight temperatures may dip to 35 degrees.
The next rain is forecast to sweep through the South County the weekend of Feb. 3.
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