If you’ve never come across the term, you may be wondering, “What exactly is a dry thunderstorm?” We’re glad you asked (even if you didn’t!) Fortunately I was able to whip up this short, educational video just in time for the article.
Now that we understand dry thunderstorms a little better, let’s discuss when and where we’re expecting them on Thursday, June 3rd.
The brown shaded area you see here is for ISO DRYT. That stands for Isolated Dry Thunderstorms. Remember, that’s *less than* scattered. Whenever you hear a forecast, scattered will mean more than isolated (example scattered showers versus isolated showers). According to the demonstration above, that means that high-based clouds will develop, some may grow tall/strong enough to produce lightning and thus, dry thunderstorms. While the dry thunderstorm forecast is for parts of California and Oregon, the Desert Southwest is notorious for dry thunderstorms because of the extremely dry climate, mixed with thunderstorms that develop closer to the monsoon season.
In the case of California, Oregon, Nevada, and Idaho Thursday, the fuels are incredibly dry. What we mean by “fuels” is the grass, shrubs, vegetation which have had a severe lack of water after this most-recent dry winter. A lightning strike could spark a blaze if a bolt hits one of these dry spots.
The biggest concern with dry thunderstorms is the development of new wildfires. Much of the West is experiencing drought conditions as well, which will be a story that we stay on top of throughout these warmer months.
For WeatherNation, Meteorologist Steve Glazier