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National Weather Service Tempers Predictions of Dry Lightning as Monsoonal Moisture Approaches the North Coast

Afternoon thunderheads growing and starting to anvil east of Ukiah Valley in 2019 [Picture by Matt LaFever]

25-year veteran of the National Weather Service Scott Carroll in Eureka said Friday’s fire weather watch associated with potential thunderstorms over the Emerald Triangle has been diminished as monsoonal moisture dampens the atmosphere. “We’re not expecting more than isolated thunderstorms,” he reassured.

He predicted a brief window this afternoon of dry lightning risk as the lower atmosphere remains dry while monsoonal moisture builds in the upper and middle atmosphere but suggested by tonight that moisture will descend mitigating dry lightning and wildfire risk.

This build-up of moisture, Carroll said, would be more likely to result in clouds and overcast skies across the North Coast rather than dry lightning. 

Carroll suggested that there could be cumulonimbus that build up against mountain ranges and noted models are suggesting one area weather officials will be watching is the skies above Island Mountain, where Mendocino, Humboldt, and Trinity Counties converge.

The other area of interest, Carroll said, is the Humboldt County coast where he said residents could wake up tomorrow morning to the “rumble of thunder.”

This monsoonal system could bring rain to some isolated areas, Carroll predicted. “If you are underneath one of the thunderstorms, you can get a quarter-inch of rain out of it.”

Carroll reminds residents that if you can hear and see lightning, “you are close enough to be struck by it.” He suggested going indoors to be safe during thunderstorms.

Categories: News, Weather

1 reply »

  1. Wait. You can see lightening, you can’t hear it. That last sentence gives me no reassurance..

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