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It's another soggy day in Modesto, valley

UPDATE - Another day, another soaking for the Modesto area and the Northern San Joaquin Valley. Light rain fell throughout the morning and into the afternoon. For the second day in a row, the Modesto Nuts were rained out at John Thurman Field.

As of 5 p.m., the Modesto Irrigation District had recorded 0.27 inches of rain downtown since midnight.

The Nuts tried to get in a doubleheader with Bakersfield after Tuesday night's game was washed out. But the field was too soggy and slippery, so the teams will make up the games in mid-June when the Blaze have their next scheduled visit to Modesto.------

A blustery spring storm soaked the Modesto area Tuesday and brought reports of snow as low as Jamestown.

The rain boosted the season's already above-average totals, welcome news to farmers — unless they're worried about crop diseases that can thrive in the moisture.

The Modesto Irrigation District reported 1.01 inches in its downtown rain gauge as of 9 p.m., bringing the total since July 1 to 15.86 inches. The average to date is about 12.2 inches.

The Turlock Irrigation District board on Tuesday approved a relatively large water allotment for this year, thanks to the ample rain and snow since fall.

The day's showers left a few hazards for drivers, including a few minor accidents.

"More than an average day, but nothing life-threatening," said Modesto police Lt. Scott Blom.

Officer Eric Parsons, who works out of Modesto's California Highway Patrol office, echoed Blom, and added that his agency has been hard at work trying to get signs posted on flooded county roads.

Late in the afternoon, rain and hail, plus thunder and lightning, were reported in Modesto, Riverbank and Salida.

The storm topped off a central Sierra Nevada snowpack that had stood at 97 percent of average Monday, according to the California Department of Water Resources.

"It snowed for a good hour in downtown," said Lt. Mark Stinson of the Sonora Police Department. "It didn't stick, though. Too much moisture from the rain."

Stinson said outside of a power failure in east Tuol-umne County, reportedly affecting more than 4,000 customers, weather-related incidents have been at a minimum.

The snowpack statewide was 123 percent of average Monday, a break from three years of drought. Snow is the main source of water for California farms and homes.

There is a 50 percent chance of showers today and a slight chance Thursday, but a return to a clear sky and temperatures in the low 70s is predicted by Friday.

Too much spring rain can cause fungal diseases in almonds, peaches and other developing crops, said Roger Duncan, a farm adviser with the University of California Cooperative Extension in Stanislaus County.

The diseases can emerge if the weather is too warm in the days after the rain, he said.

"Some growers are spraying (fungicides), but I think some are not," Duncan said. "We'll just have to wait and see."

The TID set its allotment — the amount available for the base charge of $26 per acre — at 4 acre-feet. An acre-foot is enough water to cover an acre one foot deep, although the deliveries are spread over several months.

Growers can get a fifth acre-foot for $15 and each acre-foot beyond that for $20.

The TID's irrigation season has started, but many growers are not in any hurry. The district staff reported that requests for water are down because of the recent storms — 237 last week, compared with 1,195 a year earlier.

The Modesto Irrigation District, which shares the Tuolumne River supply with he TID, set an allotment of 3½ acre-feet last month. Its board in June will consider how much water to sell beyond that level.

Bee staff writer John Holland can be reached at jholland@modbee.com or 578-2385.

Bee Online Editor Brian Clark can be reached at bclark@modbee.com or 578-2362.

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