Author Topic: California (USA) Heatwave and dry thunderstorms sparks 842 fires  (Read 5917 times)

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Offline Harley Pearman

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California (USA) Heatwave and dry thunderstorms sparks 842 fires - 24/6/2008

This is worth a new thread on current global severe weather, this time in California.

Go to

Also covered in detail via KCRA 3 News - Sacramento, and CNN.

California, a one week heatwave has seen temperatures hit 95 F (Around 35.5 Celsius) at San Jose, 107F at Burbank - Los Angeles and San Louis Obispo (Around 41.5 Celsius) and even 100 F (38 Celsius) at Long Beach. These temperatures are not as common in these areas when compared to places further inland.

From the article "California Sparked fires plague California" CNN.

On Friday night a dry thunderstorm sparked hundreds of fires from Big Sur to the wine county to Humboldt County. A lightning storm with between 5,000 and 6,000 lightning strikes sparked up to 842 fires. On Sunday evening, there were confirmed 520 fires burning. By Monday morning, there were confirmed 842 fires burning. It is reported that the dry thunderstorm that moved across the region sparked the majority of the fires.

In Mendocino County, 110 separate fires are burning and one fire moved from Napa County into Solano County threatening 250 homes.

Another fire burning in the Shasta Trinity National Forest 260 km north of Sacramento threatens 1,200 homes.

A fire burning in the Los Padres National Forest has burnt 2,000 acres south of Big Sur. A much larger fire in the same forest has burnt 57,000 acres.

There are two blazes south of San Jose and hundreds of residents have been forced to flee.

A map provided on that web page provided shows how extensive the fires are stretching from Redding in the north, then south to San Jose, across the San Joaquin Valley, Sacramento, into the Sierra Nevada Mountains and south towards Los Angeles.

The San Joaquin Valley is heavily populated and contains the citrus industry for California. This looks like being another weather related disaster for the United States, this time caused by lightning strikes.

Harley Pearman 

Offline Harley Pearman

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Re: California (USA) Heatwave and dry thunderstorms sparks 842 fires
« Reply #1 on: 26 June 2008, 02:21:17 PM »
Further to my first post, the thunderstorm that caused so many fires is noteworthy.

From CNN "Lightning sets 800 fires in California 25/6/2008"

A single thunderstorm unleashed 8,000 lightning strikes sparking more than 800 fires across Northern California. It was a rare type of thunderstorm that brought little or no rain but allot of lightning.

The storm was unusual because it struck so early in the season and it moved in from the Pacific Ocean. The lightning caused fires have scored many thousands of acres and forced large evacuations.

The thunderstorm brought little rain and much of the rain that did occur evaporated in the hot dry layers of the atmosphere.

The thunderstorm struck an area of California at a time when the state was experiencing one of its driest years on record and the entire state has been declared drought affected.

In cities such as San Francisco and Los Angeles, rainfall is a fraction of what it should be. In the Central Valley, the cities of Sacramento, Modesto, Stockton and Red Bluff have recorded the driest March to May period since the 19 th century.

The weekends lightning storm combined with extremely dry conditions to spark 840 fires from the Big Sur to Monterey County to Del Norte County to the Oregon border.

As a contrast, there were 574 lightning sparked fires in the whole of northern California in all of 2007. The single thunderstorm exceeded that figure.

Areas hardest hit from the single lightning storm include Mendocino County 131 fires, Butte County 25 fires and Shasta Trinity Forest 150 fires.

Smoke from the fires have blackened skies across San Francisco to the Central Valley and air quality alerts have been issued.

From CNN 25/6/2008.

Harley Pearman