Some western states hit hard by lightning Sunday

lighting strike map
Lightning that occurred during the 30-hour period that ended at 6 a.m. MDT July 23, 2018. The lighter colors are the most recent. The map shows all strikes. Approximately 20% are usually cloud to ground. Click to enlarge.

In spite of the weather forecast, the lightning predicted for Southwest Oregon on Sunday didn’t really pan out, but portions of other western states received thousands of strikes. Firefighters may have some followup to do in Northeast Montana, Southwest Wyoming, Utah, Colorado, Nevada, the Sierras in California, and states in the Great Plains.

During the rest of this week Southern California will likely experience temperatures much higher than normal, possibly setting a few daily records. Weak hot and dry sundowner winds could occur near Santa Barbara bringing compressional heating and high fire danger.

Here’s more weather information from the National Interagency Fire Center, issued July 23:

A critical fire weather scenario will begin to set up as shards of monsoonal moisture begin to filter further into the Pacific Northwest and the Northern Rockies. These storms, while still isolated, will be dry and should trigger new starts as the stage begins to set for the next few days after [Monday], which should be pretty convective.

Abundant lightning predicted for Southern Oregon Sunday

The National Weather Service is describing the lightning that is in the forecast for south-central Oregon and extreme northern California as “abundant”. It should begin by early Sunday afternoon and continue into the evening.

Lightning is also predicted for southwest Idaho and northern Nevada. There could be wetting rain with the thunderstorms except in Nevada, where dry strikes could occur. All of these areas are under a Red Flag Warning Sunday.

Some land managers in Oregon have brought in additional firefighting resources to assist in initial attack of any new lightning-caused fires.

Southern California lightning

(Originally published at 1:33 p.m. MDT September 11, 2017)

Jeff Zimmerman took these photos September 10 and sent them to us today. Here is how he described the event.

From the deserts to the sea, a wonderful display of lightning. Off the coast near Avalon where hundreds of strikes were recorded with numerous strikes all the way to Tehachapi Mountains. Tejon Ranch and Highway 58 area was bathed in lightning too. A new fire was reported on the Los Padres National Forest, lightning strike near Chuchapate (Sawmill). Possibly a few more isolated storms today, followed by gusty NW winds later this week. The first Santa Ana may set up when snow comes to Montana and offshore flow begins later this week bringing critical fire weather with it. Attached are a few shots from the desert in Neenach, CA (map).

lightning Jeff Zimmerman

lightning Jeff Zimmerman

Thanks Jeff!

Thousands of lightning strikes in southern California

(Above: lightning strikes in the 24 hours before 1 p.m. PDT October 24, 2016.)

Thousands of lightning strikes have occurred in southern California between Sunday afternoon and Monday afternoon.

New lightning fires in Shasta-Trinity NF burn 19,000 acres

(UPDATE at 9 a.m. PT, July 2, 2015)

Map showing heat detected by a satellite on fires west of Redding, CA, at 2:44 a.m. August 2, 2015.
Map showing heat detected by a satellite on fires west of Redding, CA, at 2:44 a.m. August 2, 2015.

The management of the new lightning-caused wildfires detected in the last 48 hours between Redding and Eureka, California has been organized into at least three “complexes” of fires. Above is a recent map showing heat detected in the area by a satellite at 2:44 a.m., August 2, 2015.


(Originally published at 9:31 am PT, August 1, 2015)

Map of Shasta-T lightning fires
Map of Shasta-Trinity NF lightning fires at 8 p.m. PT July 31, 2015. (click to enlarge)

An infrared mapping flight over the Shasta-Trinity National Forest Friday night west of Redding, California detected numerous fires that together have burned 19,000 acres over the last 48 hours. The Shasta-Trinity clearly has a massive wildfire situation on their hands. These lightning-caused fires have grown significantly in the last 36 hours.

The area is under a Red Flag Warning for “abundant lighting” Saturday afternoon. Wetting rain is not expected to accompany the lighting.

More information about these fires is HERE.