Are dry thunderstorms dangerous and what is at risk? All thunderstorms are dangerous because every thunderstorm produces lightning. Dry thunderstorms are most common in the Western United States during the summer when it is warm and dry. Although they produce little to no rain (as the rain actually evaporates before it hits the ground), lightning from dry thunderstorms can start wildfires and present multiple hazards.
“More than 10,280 lightning-sparked fires are reported in the United States annually, according to the National Interagency Fire Center. About 58 percent of those occur in the western states. It’s unknown how many of those were caused by dry thunderstorms.” Lack of moisture on the ground can enhance the spread of wildfires after lightning strikes and any strong winds can increase additional risks for fire fighters. Thunderstorms also present a hazard when participating in outdoor activities, so here are few basic tips:
- Download this Wildfire Preparedness Checklist
- Should you hear thunder with or without rain falling, seek shelter as lightning is nearby and you could be in danger
- If you see a wildfire and haven’t received evacuation orders yet, call 9-1-1. Don’t assume that someone else has already called
- If ordered to evacuate during a wildfire, do it immediately- make sure and tell someone where you are going and when you have arrived
- Many communities have text or email alert systems for emergency notifications. To locate severe alerts available in your area, you can always review the Weather Channel’s Severe Alerts site and/or sign up to receive severe alerts for select locations and weather topics.