Dry Thunderstorms: What Are They and Why Are They a Threat?

Dry thunderstorms have been rolling through Southern Oregon and Siskiyou County this week—but for many, the name seems like a misnomer. Unfortunately, the phenomenon is very real.

Posted: Aug 16, 2018 11:22 AM

MEDFORD, Ore. — Poor air quality from smoke in Southern Oregon and Siskiyou County persists, in large part, because of stagnant weather patterns in the area that have lasted almost unbroken for weeks now. Without significant wind or rain, the smoke is sure to linger.

However, the one major weather pattern that our area has observed in the past several weeks sounds like a misnomer—dry thunderstorms.

According to our StormWatch 12 meteorologists, dry thunderstorms occur when storm systems pass over that produce thunder and lightning, but nearly all of the precipitation (rain) evaporates before it has a chance to fall to the surface [pictured].

With near-drought conditions, dry thunderstorms are a very real threat. The thunderstorms that started a flurry of wildfires on July 15 and still persist over one month later (e.g. the Taylor Creek Fire, Miles Fire, Klondike Fire, or Garner Complex) were a particularly extreme example. Thousands of lightning strikes hit Southern Oregon with no precipitation to put out the flames or contribute moisture to dry foliage.

StormWatch 12 meteorologists continue to track dry thunderstorms in our area on Thursday, primarily along the Cascades and into the upper Klamath Basin. A Red Flag Warning has been issued for the Cascades, Klamath and Lake Counties from 11 a.m. to 11 a.m. on Thursday due to the threat of lightning.

So far, our meteorologists have observed two lightning strikes in north-central Lake County since 7 a.m. Thursday morning.

Check out our Weather page for the most up-to-date forecasts, plus updates on air quality and extreme weather warnings.

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 177134

Reported Deaths: 2467
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah35310570
Washington23704229
Marion20393299
Clackamas15557204
Lane11802144
Jackson10077129
Umatilla800083
Deschutes731272
Linn422263
Yamhill413675
Klamath357159
Polk348452
Malheur343358
Josephine310062
Douglas306566
Benton277719
Jefferson207732
Coos198631
Columbia156126
Union141824
Lincoln130520
Wasco130428
Hood River113529
Morrow108415
Clatsop9078
Crook89519
Baker86714
Curry6049
Tillamook5883
Grant4304
Lake4177
Harney3156
Wallowa1585
Gilliam571
Sherman571
Wheeler261
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 3725088

Reported Deaths: 61193
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles122999823702
Riverside2976314547
San Bernardino2951314569
San Diego2756313681
Orange2692584902
Santa Clara1173792019
Kern1080611333
Sacramento1017871651
Fresno1007681650
Alameda856521477
Ventura803601002
San Joaquin717351334
Contra Costa67157782
Stanislaus606491035
Tulare49443831
Monterey43301364
San Mateo41251560
San Francisco36117529
Santa Barbara33926445
Solano32086243
Merced31289453
Sonoma29734312
Imperial28024719
Kings22781245
Placer21957283
San Luis Obispo20991257
Madera16301240
Santa Cruz15719204
Marin13868227
Yolo13581200
Shasta11747219
Butte11619196
El Dorado9797109
Napa971579
Sutter9299109
Yuba612744
San Benito598863
Lassen567924
Tehama544556
Nevada448975
Tuolumne408664
Mendocino399647
Humboldt365938
Amador363146
Lake341843
Glenn235925
Colusa220416
Calaveras206252
Siskiyou196521
Inyo141838
Del Norte12907
Mono12744
Plumas6936
Modoc4904
Mariposa4297
Trinity3985
Sierra1100
Alpine880
Unassigned470
Medford
Clear
65° wxIcon
Hi: 72° Lo: 39°
Feels Like: 65°
Brookings
Clear
54° wxIcon
Hi: 71° Lo: 45°
Feels Like: 54°
Medford
Clear
69° wxIcon
Hi: 49° Lo: 26°
Feels Like: 69°
Medford
Partly Cloudy
65° wxIcon
Hi: 74° Lo: 39°
Feels Like: 65°
Klamath Falls
Clear
54° wxIcon
Hi: 62° Lo: 33°
Feels Like: 54°
Turning cooler and wetter this weekend
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