Lightning storms expected to intensify on Monday |

Lightning storms expected to intensify on Monday

The Topsy Fire sends up huge plume of smoke as seen from Stephanie Way on Thursday.
Kurt HIldebrand

Firefighters could face an early start on Monday with the National Weather Service issuing a fire weather watch starting at 5 a.m. and lasting until 9 p.m. for thunderstorms.

Most red flag warnings for critical fire weather start out as fire watches. Isolated dry lightning storms are expected to develop early Monday morning and continue into the evening.

While the High Sierra in the Mokelumne and Carson Iceberg wildernesses were hammered by lightning on Friday evening, Douglas County didn’t experience a repeat of the fires set over the previous week.

Those lightning strikes may still have ignited fires in the forests, but heavy rain accompanying the storm could have doused or slowed their progress.

Markleeville recorded .62 inches of rain over the course of two hours on Friday afternoon.

A lightning strike near Topsy Lane in far northern Douglas County set a 45-acre wildfire Thursday as a thunderstorm dropped dousing rain and hail less than 10 miles away.

A home was damaged and two outbuilding destroyed in the fast moving fire that burned in heavy sage east of Highway 395 around 4 p.m., according to East Fork Deputy Fire Chief Dave Fogerson.

Residents near the fire evacuated their homes while officials closed the road east of Highway 395.

In addition to East Fork and Carson City firefighters, a Nevada Division of Forestry helicopter and a CL-415 water scooper helped prevent the fire from burning further north into the capital.

Commuters packed Highway 395 as smoke poured across the main route between Douglas and Carson City as bystanders watched from the parking lots of the Carson Valley and Clear Creek plazas.

Residents were allowed back in their homes around 7:30 p.m. Thursday. East Fork firefighters were back at the fire site on Friday morning making sure there weren’t any hot spots left.

Pea-sized hail and heavy rain fell along East Valley Road at around the same time as the fire was spreading.

The hail coated the road briefly as a thunderstorm slowly moved over the Pine Nuts.

One Johnson Lane resident reported heavy rain on one side of their street and nothing on the other from the storm.

A Pine Nut resident reported .78 inches of rain in less than an hour. A rain gauge near East Valley Road recorded .48 inches while gauges at Minden-Tahoe Airport recorded a fifth of an inch.

Friday evening provided a little bit of a break, but National Weather Service forecasters say similar conditions are expected today.

“Things get a little more interesting on Sunday as a weak area of low pressure off the California coast deepens,” National Weather Service Meteorologist Zach Tolby said Friday morning.

The trough could increase thunderstorm coverage and might increase the chance of dry lightning fires late Sunday night through Monday.

Lighting set a half-dozen wildfires in the Wellington Hills in far eastern Douglas County on Wednesday.

None of those fires were larger than a quarter-acre and were extinguished by U.S. Forest Service crews.

A fire off Toni Court in the Johnson Lane area on Tuesday resulted in a slew of 911 calls reporting fires in three different locations.

Firefighters quickly extinguished the Toni Court Fire and then tackled a 1.2 acre fire reported near Sunrise Pass and Juniper Valley roads.

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