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Forecast of heavy rain, strong winds, plus cool temperatures don’t bode well for almond growers
tree almond
Storm clouds provide a backdrop for an almond orchard along Industrial Park Drive late Sunday afternoon.

The forecast calls for up to another inch of rain and strong winds today and Wednesday

And that is not good news for almond growers.

Some of the early varieties had already started setting blooms when the latest series of storms started hitting the Northern San Joaquin Valley.

Other varieties that should be setting blooms aren’t.

Not only does the rainy and cold weather impact buds being set but it also prevents bees — essentially 100 percent critical to the pollination process — from leaving their hives.

The cool temperatures are also an issue.

Ideally, it needs to be at least 70 degrees for bees to function at their best.

The extended forecast currently in place for the balance of February does not have a single day in it where temperatures will reach or breach 70 degrees.

That said, the rain so far has not been as severe as expected. Most of the precipitation has been occurring along the coast.

There was 0.41 inches that fell locally in a 24-hour period ending at 4 a.m. Monday.

 As of 11 p.m., no additional rain had fallen.

That means ground — especially sandy loam — may not become too saturated so winds cause widespread toppling of trees in orchards.

A spot check Monday indicated downed almond trees were at a minimum.

The forecast still indicates there is a potential for another 0.5 to 1 inch of rain in the Manteca-Ripon-Lathrop area between now and Wednesday.

After Wednesday, the National Weather Service is calling for cloudy skies through at least Sunday with the only rain forecast for the foothills.

That means it will be cloudy but dry for the annual Ripon Almond Blossom Festival that gets under Thursday and runs through Sunday.

The current storm is expected to add up to 2 feet of snow above 5,500 feet between now and Wednesday morning.

Forecasters expect the Sierra to see wind gusts up to 55 mph.

Almonds are San Joaquin County’s third biggest crop.

The value of the 2022 harvest was $297 million with almost all of that in the Escalon, Manteca, Ripon, and Tracy areas.

Overall, ag production in 2022 was $3.2 billion.

 The rest of the 2022 top five included milk at No. 1 at $626,472,000, grapes at No. 2 with $421,061,000, cherries at No. 4 with $279,998,000, and eggs/chickens at No. 5 with $174,580,000.

The balance of the top 10 were walnuts at No. 6 with $145,997,000, cattle and calves at No. 7 with $128,954,000, tomatoes at No. 8 with $114,174,000, hay at No. 9 with $113,322,000, and corn/silage at No. 10 with $88,286,000.


To contact Dennis Wyatt, email