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Central Valley cleaning up after storm causes downed trees, power outages


Thunder and lightning hit during an unusual spring storm in the valley. It caused downed trees and left thousands in the dark. On Friday, clean up continued. 

Public works says they received more than two dozen calls. The number one call was for clearing downed trees. They say the last time they used crews for storm damage was back on Valentine’s Day.  

The thunder roared and lightning illuminated the night sky on Thursday evening. 

“It was quite an experience, right,” said Bill Killingsworth.

Viewer photos and video flooded our newsroom. 

“It was like all of a sudden,” said Bridget Bruno.

Bruno captured video right outside her Fresno home.

“I took slo-mo videos right here and in my backyard,” Bruno explained. “You could see like the lightning bolts like really nicely.”

Just after 10 Thursday evening, the calls started pouring in to the City of Fresno Public Works Department.

“Thankfully, the majority of them were trees that either came down across part of a roadway or a sidewalk without any damage beyond the tree itself,” said Scott Mozier, Director of Public Works. 

One tree slammed into a car, damaging it. The city says a tree also toppled onto a home and a fence. 

More than 10,000 PG&E customers in the Central Valley were left in the dark. 

Public works worked early into Friday morning. More calls came in once people started waking up.

At the business, Starr Transfer Company on M Street in Fresno, the howling winds on Friday morning caused their swamp cooler to fall. It hit a meter and caused a gas leak. PG&E was on scene. 

Elsewhere, Sierra High School in Prather was hit by winds. Downed streets and limbs scattered around campus. Students jumped in to help.

Our Chief Meteorologist says the rain coupled with thunder and lightning in spring is an anomaly.

“It was out of no where so I was a little shocked,” Bruno said.

And she’s not alone… 

“I thought it was my nextdoor neighbor moving his garbage cans around and I wondered what in the world was he doing that time of night moving around garbage cans,” Killingsworth concluded.

If anyone has a concern about a tree, you’re encourage to contact the City of Fresno by phone (559-621-2481) or using their mobile app.

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