Biggest lightning storm in 5 years
A powerful lightning storm pummeled nearly 1/3 of California over two days this past week. From June 22 to June 23, the National Lightning Detection Network recorded more than 66,000 lightning events, the most in a single day in nearly 5 years. This 2-day lightning storm brought little rain to the drought-stricken area, but it did ignite a spate of mostly small wildfires. Sadly, one woman and her dogs were killed while out on a walk.
Lightning in California is relatively rare. Then, when it does come, it can come in the form of “dry” lightning or thunderstorms, which are storms accompanied by little to no rain. The US Drought Monitor shows nearly all of California in the category of severe drought (D2) to the worst category of exceptional drought (D4). Lightning that brings potential wildfire without rain is an unwelcome sight in the state.
Looking at the California #lightning data again as the storms taper off. Between 00 UTC June 22 and 13 UTC this morning, NLDN detected 66,897 total lightning events. 45,129 were in-cloud, 21,768 were cloud-to-ground. This is a bigger event than the August 2020 event. #CAwx pic.twitter.com/oGWvc1u7m7
— Chris Vagasky (@COweatherman) June 23, 2022
A barrage of more than 60,000 lightning strikes electrified the skies over California on Wednesday, with “dry lightning” Thursday bringing wildfire concerns. Meanwhile, the heat over the Southeast continues to set records.https://t.co/hyD190N6bH pic.twitter.com/iyfk8kqa0F
— MyRadar Weather (@MyRadarWX) June 23, 2022
Getting electric in California.
All sorts of lightning tonight. pic.twitter.com/b4eCfXzL1g
— Dakota Smith (@weatherdak) June 23, 2022
— i take pictures. (@survivaling101) June 22, 2022
Lightning ignited small wildfires
According to Wildfire Today, the lightning storm ignited many small wildfires in California, though most were quickly extinguished.
Firefighters are investigating one fire, named the Thunder Fire, that started on June 22 and may have been caused by lightning. This fire near Grapevine, California, has burned nearly 2,500 acres and is 65% contained as of the morning of June 24.
This is the #ThunderFire burning here in the foothills of #KernCounty just to the east of the #5fwy It’s about 190 acres and 15% contained. It started from a lightning strike. @knxnews @AlertWildfire pic.twitter.com/62mJENsXnL
— Brian Douglas (@BrianDouglasKNX) June 22, 2022
OCFA’s FIRIS Intel 24 on the Thunder Incident, Kern County. Fire is mapped at 1725 acres at 19:30 hours. pic.twitter.com/Yy2ryoivnr
— FIRIS (@FIRIS) June 23, 2022
California with all sorts of initial attack fires popping up. This is the Thunder Fire, 188 acres and growing.
Over 25,000 lighting strikes have been detected today. An individual lost their life today due to a strike. #California #thunderfire #fire #cawx #weather #wildfire pic.twitter.com/n0WLmHkYLf
— TheHotshotWakeUp (@HotshotWake) June 22, 2022
Bottom line: A two-day lightning storm pummeled California from June 22 to June 23 with more than 66,000 lightning events, bringing little rain but sparking wildfires.