Historic rainfall from Tropical Storm Hilary brings mix of good and bad for farmers, firefighters

Rain can be good for farmers and their crops, but too much of it, and at what point in the season it comes, make all the difference

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Tropical Storm Hilary left its mark on the farms in Imperial Valley, which is where most of America's winter vegetables are grown.

Rain can help farmers when it comes to saving money on watering crops, but they say the timing of when it comes and how much they get is key.

"Depending on the amount of moisture in the sky, we have to wait. That pushes germination dates back and forces you to redo work you've already done," explained Trevor Tagg of West-Gro Farms.

Hilary came late, sowing seeds of concern over whether or not the ground can dry out before it's time to plant again.

From farming to fires, Hilary's impact was felt differently. The rainfall could reduce fire danger in the coming weeks, but it could be too early to tell.

"Because there aren’t that many August storms like what we saw with Hilary, it’s hard to assess the impact on fall fire risk,' explained, Julie Kalansky, Ph.D., a climate scientist and deputy director for the Center for Western Weather and Water Extremes at Scripps Institute of Oceanography.

“At minimum, it at least dampens the landscape and so it reduces the fire risk for a period of time. And other impacts like heat waves, high winds, Santa Anas, all of that can affect future fire risk," Kalansky added.

Heavy rain and snow over the winter helped California end its extreme drought conditions for the first time in three years.

"Dr. Kalansky said climate projection suggests we'll continue to see weather extremes, and that we're in for an El Niño season, which has  typically meant rainfall for the San Diego region is closer to the normal amount  or wetter conditions."

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