Hurricane Hilary Threatens California Dry Crops Harvest

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News in brief: Hurricane Hilary is set to hit parts of California’s San Joaquin Valley, a major agricultural region, with rare August rains that could severely affect crops like grapes, almonds, spinach, tomatoes, and pistachios, threatening both quality and yield.

Parts of California’s San Joaquin Valley is expected to be in the path of Hurricane Hilary, which makes landfall in a matter of days. The region’s crops are likely to be significantly affected as the hurricane brings rare August rains.

California’s Central Valley is responsible for 8% of the United States’ agricultural output and supplies a significant portion of the nation’s fruits and nuts, estimated to be around 40%.

The approaching hurricane is threatening much of this output, which could impact crops grown in the massive agricultural corridor between Bakersfield and Fresno.

The hurricane is expected to significantly impact several dry crop harvests, especially grapes, almonds, spinach, tomatoes, and pistachio. Meteorologists believe that the storm will hit eastern Central Valley will the hardest, which could drown plants.

Experts claim that some places are likely to get as much rainfall in a day as others experience in a whole year. The incoming storm will bring localised wind damage and an overabundance of rain, which pose the biggest threat to crops. They say flash flooding primarily around creeks and rivers, is a greater risk than gradual but intense flooding.

California farmers, who are already preparing for August harvests that typically need dry weather conditions, see the incoming situation as dire. The storm presents a significant risk to harvests as it will not only flood out crop fields and orchards, but decrease the quality of the crops through impacts such as mold spores growing in the soil.

The storm will make the biggest impact in the Sierra, and in the mountains and deserts of Kern County, according to Antoinette Serrato, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service’s Hanford office.

Joseph Akahome
Joseph Akahome
Joseph O Akahome (OJ) is a writer, with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and Literature from the University of Benin. He is an avid agriculturist, with a bias for poultry and an insatiable appetite for chicken wings. When he is neither reading nor researching, he likes to spend recreational time playing board games, or swimming in serene forested lakes.


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