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Argentina: Hail wreaks havoc on the fruit of Rio Colorado
The town has had no respite from the weather. There's almost no quality fruit left on the plants. There was a first storm on Saturday and on Sunday it hailed again and the hail destroyed nectarines, apples, and pears. Some producers lost all their harvest.
A large productive sector of Rio Colorado was affected by a strong hailstorm. The storm caused enormous damage to the farms of several producers and obliterated the crops of many other growers who had already been affected by another heavy hailstorm and the effects of frost at the start of the season.
The storm was so intense that they lost the little fruit they had saved from the frost and that they were about to harvest.
The intense phenomenon started on Sunday after noon and soon acquired a great intensity, unleashing its fury on a stretch of several kilometers for 7 to 10 minutes.
A percentage of the fruit producers are anticipating big losses because the hailstones, which though they varied, were mainly large, causing severe damage to the fruits and a large number of plants.
Saturday's storm was less intense. It started a little after 10.30 am and for several minutes there was a strong discharge of hailstorm which mainly affected the downtown area of Rio Colorado and much of the production area. Producers expected to find some minor damage to stone-fruits, pears, and apples.
26 hours later, at 12.50 pm on Sunday, the same sector was punished by a stronger storm for almost 10 minutes.
It was like a great hailstorm flood that desolated the area.
Less than an hour later, the owners of small farms began to explore their properties and to see noticeable damage on nectarines, peaches, pears, and apples.
On some farms the outlook was bleak. "I virtually lost it all, everything is a mess, this screwed me," said producer Juan Garcia, as he toured the disaster zone. "Both storms punished me, but Sunday's storm damaged me the most. I do not know how we will continue." Meanwhile, Raul Millan, another producers in the area, said that they had turned on the cannons for more than an hour once the storm began. "However, this storm was very strong and it was impossible to stop it," he said. "At times, there only was hailstones and a little rain, and then there was a lot of rain with hail," he added.
Producers began to see the severity of the damage an hour after Sunday's storm - total losses in stone fruit and lots of losses in apples and pears.
Publication date: 1/25/2017
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