Rare nighttime red flag warning issued for dry lightning

Water flows in the Pine Nut Creek drainage near the Fish Springs Volunteer Fire Department on the evening of July 1.

Water flows in the Pine Nut Creek drainage near the Fish Springs Volunteer Fire Department on the evening of July 1.

A rare overnight red flag warning for critical fire danger has been issued starting 11 p.m. tonight and lasting until 11 a.m. Independence Day.

Fast moving thunderstorms are expected to bring dry lightning and gusty 40 mph winds.

“Little to no rainfall with these storms will promote a higher potential for multiple new fire starts from lightning, and may combine with strong outflow winds to cause a fire to rapidly grow in size and intensity before first responders can contain them.”

A week’s worth of thunderstorms left fires burning in its wake, including the 565-acre East Fork Fire southeast of Gardnerville.

Friday’s evening’s thunderstorms set fires east of Carson City, but very little rain, unlike Thursday.

NV Energy hasn’t revealed a cause for Friday evening’s outages that affected nearly 3,000 Carson City and Genoa residents, but the electrical storms are a likely culprit.

Storms earlier in the week brought some needed moisture to the area, but also posed their own hazards.

Highway 4 was closed from the junction with Highway 89 to Ebbett’s Pass for more than three hours on Thursday.

It was the second day of mudslides in the central Sierra, with areas in southern Douglas County affected on Wednesday.

Commissioner Mark Gardner, who lives in Topaz Ranch Estates, said Thursday that mudslides closed Penrod Lane above Holbrook Junction and caused issues around the Topaz Lodge.

“Public works had a crew out there this morning taking care of both those incidents,” Gardner said, thanking the county road department for their efforts.

The rain managed to dodge the gauges, but between a half and three-quarters of an inch of rain is estimated to have fallen in the Sierra south of Gardnerville. The thunderstorms appeared to be the northern reaches of the monsoons coming up from Arizona.

The National Weather Service in Reno issued several warnings for the mountains south and east of Gardnerville on Thursday.

At 5:17 p.m. Doppler radar showed thunderstorms producing heavy rain across parts of Douglas County on the Numbers and Monarch burn scars. According to the radar, 1-2 inches of rain fell in the area.

Thursday’s thunderstorm caused a 78 cubic foot per second bump in the East Fork coming into Carson Valley from its usual 148 cfs flow to 226 cfs over 45 minutes.

Pine Nut Creek was still running near the Fish Springs Volunteer Fire Station two hours after the rain stopped, with what might be more water than the West Fork, which has been steady at 17 cfs.

While there was some standing water in road ditches through the neighborhood, it appears to have stayed in the channels.

There were no reports of flooding in the East Valley or Johnson Lane regions of Carson Valley.



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