A red flag warning was cancelled by the National Weather Service Monday, but crews on the LNU Lightning Complex in the North Bay are still prepared for the possibility of dry lightning Monday morning and afternoon, as thunderstorms move across Northern California.
Remnants of a tropical storm that pushed into Central California overnight were forecast to deliver a nasty mix of dry lightning and erratic winds and amplify fire activity. The storm cells traveled across Monterey County and pushed across the Santa Cruz Mountains, but they mostly carried high amounts of moisture into the region and even dropped small amounts of rainfall, helping suppress fire activity. Although the warning for high winds and lightning storms has now expired, the NWS still urges vigilance.
“Stay weather aware as weak cells are still over the North Bay; however, most moisture has moved north of our area and instability has decreased giving us confidence to let the warning expire early,” the NWS said Mondayat 9:30 a.m.
That National Weather Service said the Bay Area has mostly dodged the storm.
“There’s still a chance of an isolated thunderstorm, generating gusty, erratic winds and lightning for San Francisco Bay and the North Bay through the morning,” said NWS meteorologist Will Pi. “It looks like the instability on this one was far less than the one we had last week. This is a more typical summer thunderstorm.”
The complex of fires was 341,243 acres with 21% containment before nightfall Sunday, and as of this morning it was 350,030 with 22% containment.
The Walbridge Fire, which was 0% contained on Sunday morning, is now up to 5%; the blaze west of Healdsburg in Sonoma County. The Meyers Fire, north of Jenner in Sonoma County, is now 95% contained. Five damage assessment teams will be going into the burn areas of the Walbridge Fire today to determine how many structures were damaged or destroyed.
Officials cautioned residents to be ready to evacuate at a moment’s notice, as dry lightning could spark fires and high winds could quickly spread them.
“I can’t stress enough the importance of being prepared to leave,” Cal Fire unit chief Shana Jones said Sunday.
“If that tingling on the back of your neck says ‘I need to leave,’ then please do so,” she added. “Do not wait to be ordered to do so.”
Four civilians have died – three in Napa County and one in Solano County – 871 structures have been destroyed and 234 are damaged, as of Monday morning. Over 30,000 structures remain threatened.