We've been teased a few times this summer with threats of lightning that never materialized over Northern California. But with the added fire risk of this week's hot-hot weather, the threat of unstable air and dry lightning from the remnants of a hurricane is very rare in the coming days.
"I rarely share National Hurricane Center info when it comes to California weather, but it's quite relevant in this case: Former Hurricane #Kay will indirectly affect SoCal by Fri.," said UCLA climate scientist Daniel Swain on Twitter. Swain said he'd be making a more complete report later on Wednesday regarding the potential impacts of the dwindling hurricane off the Baja California coast. But he already spoke at a Twitter Spaces event Tuesday, per the Chronicle, and said it could create a "nightmare" scenario by this weekend or early next week.
I rarely share National Hurricane Center info when it comes to California weather, but it's quite relevant in this case: Former Hurricane #Kay will indirectly affect SoCal by Fri. Many details are yet to be resolved; I'll have a full Weather West write-up later today. #CAwx https://t.co/9fxk5N0jVm— Daniel Swain (@Weather_West) September 7, 2022
"The concern would be dry or nearly dry lightning,” Swain said, per the Chronicle. "That would be kind of a nightmare in the context of the unprecedented heat wave we’re currently experiencing, and just before autumn wind season."
Fire meteorologist Nick Nostler also noted on Twitter that the National Weather Service Storm Prediction Center put out weather outlooks showing all five potential weather categories at once over far Northern California and the Northwest — meaning both scattered and isolated dry lightning predicted, and all three fire risk categories, Elevated, Critical, and Extreme.
Might be the first time we have a @NWSSPC Slight Risk and all 5 fire weather categories in the same region and have a scattered dry thunderstorm area and Slight risks overlapping as well. Very rare just to get all 5 fire weather categories on one day #wildfires pic.twitter.com/ivB5ARRWXY— Nick Nauslar (@NickyNaus) September 7, 2022
Everyone still has fresh memories of the August 2020 lightning complex fires that upended life in multiple parts of the Bay Area, with firefighters battling enormous blazes in three areas and on multiple fronts for weeks.
On the other side of the prediction spectrum, we have Cal Fire CZU Unit Chief Nate Armstrong telling the Chronicle, "I keep seeing the forecast change every couple hours; are we going to get some moisture or not, are we going to get some dry lightning or not? It seems too early to tell."