MENDOCINO Co., 8/22/20 — A new round of thunderstorms may develop beginning late tonight through this weekend, and a number of lightning storms may pass through central and Northern California, similar to the storms that began last weekend, igniting hundreds of fires that had burned over 770,000 acres as of Friday morning.
The National Weather Service (NWS) has issued a fire weather watch and a hazardous weather outlook for large portions for Northern California, including for most of Mendocino and Lake counties, which begins Sunday morning and runs through Tuesday morning. Large portions of the North Bay and Northern California will be under a red flag warning, but so far there is not red flag warning for the North Coast.
The fire weather advisory and hazardous weather outlook issued by NWS means that weather conditions, including potential thunderstorms and lightning, gusts of winds, and over dry fuels may lead to increased risk of fires starting, and spreading rapidly and erratically. Residents should take extra caution with any activities that could lead to fire, and if outside when lightning strikes, immediately take shelter. As of now, PG&E has not announced any plans for planned power shut-offs anywhere in the state this week — you can check their planned power shut-off weather forecast page here.
Two potential rounds of thunderstorms are currently in the forecast, with some storms forecasted to develop either late Saturday evening into early Sunday morning in on the Central Coast and in the Bay Area, and another round potentially developing on Tuesday morning. The storms are forecasted to hit many of the same regions in the last round of storms, and so additional lightning fires or winds are likely to impact the wildfires currently burning as well. The Mendocino Voice talked with weather experts about this unusual weather, the fires and heat waves, and climate change in this article from last week.
The NWS Eureka office, which issues warnings for most of the North Coast and recently added Lake County, has predicted that thunderstorms are especially especially likely in the Trinity and Yolla Bolly mountains, but specific forecasts are still developing, and may result in thunderstorms in similar locations to last week.
Here’s the current warning, more information for specific locations can be found at the NWS website. Conditions and forecasts may continue to change, including the severity and direction of the potential thunderstorms, and we will continue to update as new information comes in.
…FIRE STARTS DUE TO ABUNDANT LIGHTNING POSSIBLE SUNDAY THROUGH TUESDAY…
.A moist and unstable midlevel airmass is forecast to spread north across the region during Sunday. As that takes place, isolated to scattered thunderstorms may develop over Mendocino and Lake counties early Sunday morning. Additional thunderstorm development will be possible Sunday night into Monday morning across much of Northwest California as remnants of a tropical storm move north across the area. Another round of storms will be possible during Tuesday morning as a second upper disturbance ejects eastward across the region. Lightning combined with dry fuels will increase the threat for fire starts during each episode of storm development.
CAZ202-264-276-277-230200- /O.CON.KEKA.FW.A.0003.200823T1200Z-200825T1800Z/ Coastal Mendocino-Lake County Portion of Lake/Napa/Sonoma RU- Interior Mendocino-W Mendocino NF/E Mendocino Unit- 1056 AM PDT Sat Aug 22 2020
…FIRE WEATHER WATCH REMAINS IN EFFECT FROM LATE TONIGHT THROUGH TUESDAY MORNING… * AFFECTED AREA…Fire weather zone 202, 264, 276, and 277. * THUNDERSTORMS…Scattered thunderstorms will pose a threat for fire starts due to lightning. * OUTFLOW WINDS…Gusty thunderstorm winds will cause ongoing fires to behave erratically. * IMPACTS…Any fires that develop will likely spread rapidly. Outdoor burning is not recommended. PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS… A Fire Weather Watch means that critical fire weather conditions are forecast to occur. Listen for later forecasts and possible Red Flag Warnings.