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High winds down trees, cut power to local homes
weather pic
The 35 to 45 mile per hour wind gusts experienced Monday and Tuesday played havoc on area trees and fences. - photo by FRANKIE TOVAR / The Journal

Out of all the known elements, wind may not be the most noticeable; but it is a force to be reckoned with. The City of Turlock found this out after wind gusts reached 35 to 45 miles per hour Monday morning, according to the National Weather Service.

The Central Valley was hit directly with the wind storm, which blew dust, toppled trees, and slammed cars hard enough to scoot them in another lane throughout Monday afternoon.

Turlock Municipal Services Supervisor Ray Garcia received calls Monday morning from citizens concerned with the morning storm and damages it caused.

“We had about 13 trees go down that we know of in the parks and out in the neighborhoods,” said Garcia. “We were lucky it wasn’t more. There are a lot of branches in the roadway, but we were able to clear that up by 2 p.m. on Monday.”

Smaller branches were left strewn along the roadways, creating a mild nuisance, but were quickly cleaned up on Tuesday despite winds keeping a 35 mile per hour track record. Despite the weather being brilliantly sunny 73 degrees on Monday and Tuesday, Garcia has a theory as to the cause of debris.

“I think the rain that we had last week in addition to the winds we had Monday helped the trees get uprooted,” said Garcia. “The rain must have helped soften the ground and the high winds must have moved them over.”

Power outages were also reported throughout the area, and spanned all the way from Turlock to Ceres on Monday and Tuesday.

According to Turlock Irrigation District’s public relations supervisor Michelle Reimers, homes near South Rose between East Avenue and Berkeley faced power outages from roughly 8 a.m. to 3:14 p.m. on Monday and approximately 100 customers were affected.

Areas south of Turlock were also affected power outages on Monday afternoon around 1 p.m. and affected approximately 2,000 customers.

“The weather caused a fault on a feeder, which in turn caused a transformer alarm and ended up taking out a substation. We were able to do some switching and able to restore power to customers in about an hour,” said Reimers of the south Turlock outage.

The National Weather service sent out an urgent wind advisory on Tuesday morning following local calls from Fresno, Turlock, Patterson, and Los Banos about damages done by the wind. Peaks winds were expected to continue until Tuesday evening, but should die down to a modest 6 to 11 mph today with temperatures near 81 degrees. Thursday will also be sunny, but wind gusts as high as 23 miles per hour are expected.