July 22, 2013 - A band of lightning, triggered by monsoonal moisture, hit the Central and Southern Sierra within the last 24 hours. The automatic lightning detection system recorded 1,012 lightning strikes touching down in California, 578 of these strikes were on National Forest lands.
The majority of strikes in the south were recorded on the Sequoia, Inyo and Sierra National Forests and Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park.
In the Central Sierra, Stanislaus National Forest and Yosemite National Park absorbed the majority of strikes.
Thunderstorm activity will increase over the next few days, with Wednesday predicted to be the most active day.
The fire weather forecast for Northern California reads as follows:
Strong high pressure will produce hot and dry conditions again today, especially in the interior mountain areas over the northern half of the North Ops region. Subtropical monsoon moisture is moving north through Central CA, and there is a slight chance of thunderstorms south of I-80 from the NV state line to the East Bay mountains beginning this afternoon.
The moist unstable air will continue spreading northward overnight with higher RH and scattered clouds, reaching the OR state line by late Tuesday. Isolated thunderstorms are possible in all areas Tuesday, but more numerous storms are possible over the higher terrain. Any shower or thunderstorm may yield as much as 0.25 inches, but dry lightning is also a possibility.
From Wednesday through Friday enough moist unstable air will remain in the North Ops region for afternoon and evening thunderstorms over the higher terrain each day. A drier SW flow will push the moist unstable air off to the east on Saturday.
The isolated thunderstorms today will not produce a High Risk event, but more scattered activity over the higher terrain expected Tuesday through Thursday will lead to a High Risk for Lightning in several Predictive Service Areas, mainly due to the large number of lightning strikes that may occur.
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