News

Close

Country

Dry thunderstorms can pose a real danger to precipitation-starved regions

7873 views

Dalia Ibrahim
Digital Reporter

Monday, July 29, 2013, 6:26 AM - Thunder, lightning, hail and torrential downpours are typically what people associate thunderstorms with, but that may not always be the case.

Were you ever left scratching your head after what you thought you heard was thunder, but when you went to go check on how harsh the conditions were outside, not so much as one speck of rain had grazed your bedroom window? 

You can now rest assured because that rumble of thunder was likely a product of a dry thunderstorm.

A dry thunderstorm is a storm that produces thunder and lightning, but most -- or all -- of its precipitation evaporates before reaching the ground.

"The combination of the dry air and the high-cloud base allows for the rain to evaporate before it reaches the ground -- in other words, the thunderstorm is producing rain, but it just evaporates before it reaches the ground," explained Doug Gillham, a meteorologist at The Weather Network.

In areas where vegetation and trees are present, these types of storms can easily spark wildfires.

Wednesday marked 27 days since Vancouver last experienced rainfall, its longest dry spell on record was in 1951 — that streak lasted 58 days.

Wednesday marked 27 days since Vancouver last experienced rainfall, its longest dry spell on record was in 1951 — that streak lasted 58 days.

"If you have a lightning strike during a torrential downpour, you don't typically worry about it sparking a fire," said Gillham. "But if you were to get one during a dry thunderstorm in a vulnerable area, such as southern and central B.C. (where they have seen very little rain this month) the chances of a lightning strike sparking a fire would be much higher." 

This week, Gillham says we can see the typical threat of isolated thunderstorms across parts of B.C., but adds any storms that develop will not bring enough rain to ease the dry conditions. 

While many people are aware of the risks of lightning, not everyone knows when it is dangerously close...until now. Pelmorex, the parent company of The Weather Network, now offers real-time lightning alerts. To learn more about the new and one-of-a-kind service, click here.

Vancouver: A record dry month?
Lightning safety tips

Leave a Comment

What do you think? Join the conversation.
Close

Locate Me

Close

Search Location

POINTCAST

Look up Canadian postal code or US zip code

Close