Red Flag Warning Issued as Lightning Strikes Pepper the Emerald Triangle
Monday, 14 August 2023, 9:58 pm Kym Kemp 5 comments
A barrage of lightning strikes has started a number of small wildfires across Mendocino County. Five small fires have been reported near Covelo near where the first lightning was reported in the early evening. Meanwhile, lightning strikes are now (at 9:50 p.m.) occurring from Fortuna to north of Weaverville as seen on Lightning Maps.
As reported by local authorities and the National Weather Service, the convergence of dry conditions and abundant lightning has created the worrying possibility of wildfires igniting and spreading rapidly.
According to the National Weather Service in Eureka, the Red Flag warning also includes much of Trinity County and Mendocino County.
Humboldt County Office of Emergency Services explained that there is a convergence of mid-level moisture and a hot, unstable atmosphere that have caused the development of scattered thunderstorms. The excessive lightning activity, coupled with only a smattering of rainfall, has significantly heightened the risk of fire starts across the region. More worryingly, gusty, erratic winds of up to 30 mph could further contribute to perilous fire weather conditions.
“A Red Flag Warning means that critical fire weather conditions are either occurring now or will shortly,” warned the Humboldt County Office of Emergency Services. The combination of high winds, low humidity levels, and elevated temperatures poses an imminent threat to the escalation of ongoing fires.
Not long after lightning began striking in Mendocino County, the Sheriff’s Department there issued a Situational Awareness Nixle alert stating that there is “ncreased fire danger due to lightening pattern associated with current storm.”
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