True to predictions, the strong storm moving across California is bringing significant amounts of rain to the Valley. Forecasters say it could also bring a tornado or two.

“It’s very unusual for us in the Valley here, but this is one of those days where that definitely is a possibility,” said meteorologist Dan Harty with the National Weather Service office in Hanford.

School Trip Postponed

Inclment weather truncated a school camping trip in the foothills.

Freno Unified sixth graders from Kirk, Phoenix, Pyle and Sunset elementary schools are coming home early from a camping trip. The distirct is working with the camp to bus the children home.

“While we’re disappointed to cut this terrific camping trip short, our first priority is to keep our students safe.  We don’t want to put our students at risk with the potential for flooding, power outages and other weather challenges,” said Superintendent Bob Nelson.

Yuba County Tornado Causes Minor Damage

“It’s very unusual for us in the Valley here, but this is one of those days where (a tornado) definitely is a possibility.”  — NWS Hanford meteorologist Dan Harty

A tornado was spotted in Yuba County on Wednesday, a result of the same “atmospheric river” storm system that is covering the Valley and much of California. The tornado touched down around 6:40 pm and caused minor damage to an outdoor entertainment venue.

Conditions similar to those causing the Yuba County tornado are forecast for the Fresno area today. Harty said thunderstorms may form, starting at around 11 a.m. “with the best chance beginning around 2 o’clock through sunset.”

Rainfall Close to 2 Inches

As of 9 a.m. this morning, rainfall totals at the Fresno International Airport were measured at 1.65 inches since Tuesday.  And, “they’ve gotten around 2 inches up near Clovis in a few places,” Harty said.

If thunderstorms materialize, Harty says heavy rainfall is likely.

“That’s a big concern. The ground is already saturated and any storm would be capable of putting down a lot of rain in a short period of time. That would just exacerbate any flooding issues, so that’s a definite concern.”

Northern California Gets Pelted

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