'Dry Thunderstorms' Are Forecast for Montana, Raising the Wildfire Risk

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U.S.|What’s a ‘dry thunderstorm?’ They’re a increasing interest during wildfire season.


  • July 19, 2021, 1:20 p.m. ET

A forecast for thunderstorms would look to beryllium a bully happening successful a portion similar the Northern Rockies that is suffering from precocious temperatures, which were acceptable to highest connected Monday.

But on with providing immoderate alleviation from the heat, the storms predicted for Montana and different parts of the portion aboriginal this week volition besides rise the hazard of wildfires.

A adust thunderstorm, similar those successful the forecast, produces small oregon nary precipitation astatine the surface, according to the National Weather Service. These storms tin nutrient rainfall conscionable beneath the clouds, but due to the fact that the aerial is truthful adust below, it evaporates earlier reaching the ground.

The drier the tempest — peculiarly erstwhile paired with adust vegetation — the much businesslike it is astatine igniting fires. And the deficiency of rainfall means immoderate blazes sparked by lightning strikes tin dispersed much easily.

Dry thunderstorms are rare, said Cliff Mass, a meteorologist and prof of atmospheric sciences astatine the University of Washington. “Most thunderstorms person immoderate precipitation reaching the ground,” helium said. “They virtually each person rain, but however overmuch rainfall reaches the aboveground tin vary.”

Climate alteration is simply a major factor successful the increasing interaction of lightning strikes, due to the fact that ample parts of the West are becoming much dried out. A lightning occurrence that mightiness not person dispersed truthful rapidly decades agone tin present leap much readily crossed the scenery of adust vegetation.

Not each of the storms forecast for the West this week volition beryllium dry. Monsoonal rainfall was expected Monday successful Salt Lake City and different parts of Utah, arsenic good arsenic successful southwest Wyoming. Similar storms were predicted successful Boise, Idaho, done Wednesday.

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