Summer Hail Storm in Columbia Basin Damages Crops

June 28, 2010

A storm in Washington’s Columbia Basin that left up to six inches of hail on the ground damaged crops in the region.

Russell Dingman, a farmer, said emerging wheat heads were “filleted” by the hail June 23, some of which measured more than an inch in diameter. He added that he lost 200 acres of wheat in one field near Hartline, worth more than $48,000, which was partially covered by insurance.

The damage occurred in the Coulee City and Hartline areas of Grant County, Wash., mostly in an area one to two miles wide running north of U.S. 2.

The wet spring made dry land wheat crops very lush and full. The period from May 23 to June 21 was the third wettest and third coolest in history for the Spokane area, the National Weather Service reported.

Spokane received 4.24 inches of precipitation in the period, while the average temperatures was 54.9 degrees, the agency said.

“It’s been a great year until you get something like this,” Dingman said.

He said the storm spared potatoes growing in irrigated crop circles south of U.S. 2. Hail damage to potatoes can be financially severe because of the high investment involved in growing them.

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