For the fourth consecutive day, Modesto and surrounding communities are getting a good soaking. Conditions were downright miserable today as another Pacific storm lashed the region with high winds, heavy rain and even hail. And the first-storm related death was reported near Newman, where a man apparently drowned after trying to cross a flooded road and being swept into a creek.
As of 5 p.m., the Modesto Irrigation District recorded 1.08 inches of rain downtown, compared with 0.85 inches Tuesday. The rainfall totals for today and Tuesday were records for their respective dates.
The rain stopped for a few hours starting at about noon and the sun even came out briefly and brilliantly in downtown Modesto. But showers returned later in the afternoon, and there were even a few bolts of lightning and at least one thunderclap.
Hail fell at mid-afternoon in Modesto and Turlock.
Forecasters say more rain is on the way through Friday.
In the 200 block of El Vista Avenue, the strong winds knocked over a big tree onto a house.
City workers closed Tully Road between Caldwell Avenue and Ninth Street, Deputy Public Works Director Allen Lagarbo said this afternoon.
Most of the flooding throughout the city is confined to the right lanes, but that section of Tully is under water.
Lagarbo said the unrelenting storms have taxed the city’s rock well drainage system beyond its limits.
"This is something we live with when we have a lot of rain," he said. "This is going to be with us for a couple days."
In Newman, authorities believe a man drowned Tuesday night while trying to cross rain-swollen Orestimba Creek about three miles north of town..
The man's body had not been recovered as of this morning. Authorities searched the creek for more than two hours from Tuesday night until early this morning.
The top of a vehicle was spotted sticking out of the creek this morning near where the creek crosses Eastin Road.
Police Chief Adam McGill said that stretch of Eastin Road was closed because of flooding. He said the man apparently drove around the barriers and ignored flashing warning lights and tried to cross the road.
The third storm to hit the Modesto area this week doused the region with rain Tuesday, causing isolated street flooding and tricky commutes.
By early afternoon, the sun made a brief appearance and the storm subsided. By 10 p.m., the storm had dropped 0.85 inches of rain in downtown Modesto, according to the Modesto Irrigation District, setting a record for the day. The old record was 0.74 inches on Jan. 19, 1999.
Tuesday's rainfall brought the season total to 6.19 inches — a little above average for this time of year.
MID spokeswoman Kate Hora said two small power failures caused by the weather left about 400 customers in Waterford and east Modesto without electricity for less than an hour around noon.
Strong wind and rain are again in the forecast for today, National Weather Service lead forecaster Jim Mathews said. Modesto may have gusts in excess of 40 mph, he said.
As of 8 a.m., MID had recorded 0.13 inches of rain downtown and was clocking the wind at about 20 mph.
California Highway Patrol officers working the streets Tuesday morning saw more vehicle accidents and solo spinouts caused by foul weather. Officer Eric Parsons urged drivers to be cautious and slow down.
"It's definitely a busier morning than normal," Parsons said. "(People) don't reduce their speed for the water."
In the Sierra, snow bunnies had cause for celebration, with steady snow since Sunday.
Dodge Ridge, east of Sonora, saw 25 inches of snow fall from 5 a.m. Monday to the same hour on Tuesday. At Bear Valley, off Highway 4 east of Murphys, 28 inches of snow fell over 48 hours.
YouTube video of flooding in the Dutch Hollow neighborhood of Modesto.