SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — Another upper atmospheric blast of monsoonal moisture was heading toward the San Francisco Bay Area Monday, bringing with it a chance of thunderstorms.
While the chance of a thunderstorm remains at just about 15-20 percent, the thought of even one lightning strike in the tinder-dry, drought-stricken hills sends anxiety levels soaring among local residents and firefighters.READ MORE: Oakland Ties 2020 Homicide Total in First 9 Months of 2021
“Large monsoonal thunderstorms have been allowed to develop over the desert Southwest over the recent several days, with the latest being a massive convective complex that rampaged through Vegas last evening and is now bearing down on Los Angeles early this morning,” the National Weather Service said in a Monday forecast update.
The weather front would stir up “some easterly gusts of 30-45 mph as it rolled through portions of Southern California…It will shift from a westward trajectory to a more northerly trajectory as it approaches the Central Coast into sunrise Monday.”
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Gorgeous water vapor satellite imagery early this morning.
Very dry air denotes the edge of the clockwise flow around the monsoonal ridge (dark red – black).
Large convective complex moves from Vegas towards LA/SD (white-blue).
Moist monsoonal flow elsewhere w/ weaker cells. pic.twitter.com/l0rSqq80kk
— NWS Bay Area (@NWSBayArea) July 26, 2021
Gusty winds and lightning are a deadly combination as Northern California battles excessive drought conditions.
Over the July 4th weekend, lightning strikes in the Sierra ignited the Beckwourth Complex Fire that has burned through 105,670 acres and destroyed much of the small community of Doyle. The blaze was 98 percent contained on Monday.
Another lightning strike ignited the Tamarack Fire that is still raging south of Lake Tahoe in California and Nevada. It has burned 66,744 acres and was just 27 percent contained by early Monday.
Still fresh in local firefighters and residents minds is a rare dry lightning outbreak that raised destructive havoc in the region last fall.
Over a four-day period, more than 12,000 lightning strikes were recorded in Northern California. Those lightning strikes sparked up to 585 wildfires.
In the Bay Area, the August Complex, LNU Complex, SCU Complex and CZU complex fires burned throughg nearly two million acres.
Wildfires burned thousands of homes, claimed dozens of lives and charred woodlands, forests and wine country vineyards, leaving an ugly scare visible from space.
Smoke from the blazes choked Bay Areas skies turning them an eerie shade of orange.MORE NEWS: Pelosi Expects House to Pass Infrastructure Bill This Week
This year a lack of rainfall over the last nine months has led to excessive or extreme drought conditions. There simply is no moisture in the hills.