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Magical Mystery Palm Tree, Funnel Clouds Highlight Valley Weather

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Wind gusts caught part of a palm tree and suspended it in air — like a prop in a Las Vegas illusionist's act — Tuesday, Feb. 6, 2024, in Fresno. (X/@LuisCha70215912)
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A politician quickly learns not to be surprised when knocking on doors and asking for votes.

But veteran politico Luis Chavez was caught completely off guard when walking neighborhoods Tuesday as part of his bid for a seat on the Fresno County Board of Supervisors.

Wind gusts caught part of a palm tree and kept it suspended in air — as if it were a prop in a Las Vegas illusionist’s act. And, the Fresno city councilmember documented it on video.

“Wild weather in Fresno,” posted Chavez on X. “Wind vortex — gusts from both sides! If anyone can explain this phenomenon, I’m listening. Creepy.”

Watch Chavez’s video below.

Tuesday indeed produced unusual weather in Fresno and other Valley cities. In addition to the floating palm, residents in Tulare and Kings counties reported funnel clouds.

Meanwhile, snow continues to pile up in the Sierra at popular destinations such as Yosemite National Park and Huntington Lake.

Watch: Snowboarders at China Peak

The Wednesday Forecast

Here are today’s key messages from the National Weather Service in Hanford:

  • Major winter storm impacts are expected in the Tulare County portion of the Sierra Nevada above 6,000 feet today due to snow amounts of up to 1 foot.
  • Strong, gusty west winds are expected in the Mojave Desert Slopes today.
  • An inch or less of snow is likely over Tejon Pass and Tehachapi Pass tonight and Thursday morning.

Valley Rain Odds

These are the probabilities for a quarter-inch or more of rain from 4 a.m. today through 10 a.m. Thursday:

  • Visalia, Tulare, Porterville — 100%
  • Bakersfield — 94%
  • Hanford — 84%
  • Delano — 80%
  • Merced — 76%
  • Fresno — 74%
  • Lemoore — 71%
  • Madera — 66%

Bill McEwen is news director and columnist for GV Wire. He joined GV Wire in August 2017 after 37 years at The Fresno Bee. With The Bee, he served as Opinion Editor, City Hall reporter, Metro columnist, sports columnist and sports editor through the years. His work has been frequently honored by the California Newspapers Publishers Association, including authoring first-place editorials in 2015 and 2016. Bill and his wife, Karen, are proud parents of two adult sons, and they have two grandsons. You can contact Bill at 559-492-4031 or at Send an Email

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