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  • Writer's pictureWildfire Aware

The Danger of Dry Lightning


It’s a bright, sunny day outside and you’re feeling the warmth of the sun on your skin. Suddenly, you hear thunder in the distance. You look up and see lightning flashing across the sky. But what if it doesn’t start raining? What is dry lightning and why should you be aware of it? Read on to learn about dry thunderstorms and how to stay safe when they occur.


What is a Dry Lightning or a Dry Thunderstorm?

Dry lightning (also referred to as a “dry thunderstorm”) is a type of thunderstorm that produces both lightning and thunder but no rain. Instead, most of its precipitation evaporates before reaching the ground. While these types of storms may seem harmless, they actually pose a serious risk due to their potential to cause wildland fires. That’s because during these storms, there is an increased number of lightning strikes which can ignite flammable materials nearby.

The Risk of Dry Lightning

Dry lightning is common in the American West. But don't let the lack of rain fool you - these storms are capable of producing strong gusty surface winds that can fan flames quickly over large areas. For this reason, dry lightning poses an extreme fire risk for regions prone to them. In some cases, meteorologists can predict when dry thunderstorms will occur by using existing data such as temperature and wind speed readings from weather stations around an area. When meteorologists predict dry thunderstorms in advance, warnings may be issued to alert people to the fire risk associated with them.


What To Do During Dry Lightning

During a dry thunderstorm, it's essential that you take steps to ensure your safety as well as protect yourself from any potential fires caused by lightning strikes in the area:

  • Avoid any outdoor activities – If possible, stay indoors until after the storm has passed

  • Be aware of your surroundings – Pay attention to any smoke or visible signs of fire near your home or property

  • Keep an eye out for local warnings – Monitor news outlets or radio broadcasts for any warnings issued regarding wildland fires

  • Have an evacuation plan ready – Make sure everyone in your family knows where to go if there is ever a need for evacuation

  • Follow instructions from local officials – Stay aware and follow instructions provided by local emergency responders if necessary

  • Have supplies ready – Gather together all necessary supplies such as food, water, medications etc., in case evacuation becomes necessary

Dry Lightning poses an extreme danger due to its potential to cause wildland fires through increased numbers of lightning strikes in the area. However, with proper preparation and awareness you can keep yourself safe during these types of storms. Make sure to pay attention to any warnings issued by meteorologists or local officials during periods when dry thunderstorms are likely so that you can be prepared if one hits your area. If you would like these notifications pushed directly to your phone, subscribe to the Wildfire Aware app today.

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