Saturday, July 21, 2012
Thursday night’s second series of thunderstorms raged through the valley with dazzling lightening displays, downpours and even a smattering of hail.
While the ensuing rain may have prevented the lightening-born wildfires that have plagued eastern Oregon, they brought with them a downside – cherry challenges.
According to Gip Redman, head of field services at Oregon Cherry Growers, “the damage was localized” –– meaning that farmers with orchards side-by-side might have experienced very different effects depending on changing wind and rain conditions.
“It would have been brutal for those who got hit with both the heavy rains and the hail,” said Redman.
Chad Wimmers, fieldman for Diamond Fruit said most of the hail damage had landed on the eastside.
For cherry farmers potential crop loss is threatened when mature, permeable fruit skins take in rainwater and swell, causing cracks to form, damaging or destroying the final product.
Fruit packing house fieldmen are out in the field now talking with individual orchardists to assess that damage and loss.
While the long-term effects for farmers lay ahead, this weekend’s scheduled Fruit Loop Cherry Celebration will remain in full swing with events, fruit sales and beautiful vistas still available for those wanting to drive the valley in pursuit of the best-tasting varieties. See hoodriverfruitloop.com for details.
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Lawnmower torches Arbor Vitae on Portland Drive
The riding lawn mower driven by Norma Cannon overheated and made contact with dry arbor vitae owned by Lee and Norma Curtis, sending more than a dozen of the tightly-packed trees up in flames. The mower, visible at far right, was totaled. No one was injured; neighbors first kept the fire at bay with garden hoses and Westside and Hood River Fire Departments responded and doused the fire before it reached any structures. Westside Fire chief Jim Trammell, in blue shirt, directs firefighters. The video was taken by Capt. Dave Smith of Hood River Fire Department. Enlarge