Lightning, rain replace heat wave

June 17, 2013 

Rain and lightning greeted residents in some parts of Merced County on Monday morning after extreme heat late last week gave way to much cooler conditions.

The weather roller coaster was triggered by upper level, low pressure over the Merced area, according to Jim Andersen, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Hanford.

The cooler air aloft mixing with warmer air at ground level created unstable conditions that triggered the thunderstorms, Andersen said. By midday, the Sierra was experiencing similar conditions, he said.

While the thunderstorms didn't bring much rain — just 0.08 of an inch by 1 p.m. — the precipitation, lightning and cooler temperatures were in stark contrast to Saturday's near-record-high temperature.

Andersen said the unstable conditions were expected to remain in place throughout Monday before more typical weather for the region kicks in today and remains in place for the rest of the week.

Maxwell Norton, a farm adviser with the Merced office of the University of California Cooperative Extension, said there probably wasn't enough rain from Monday's thunderstorms to damage area crops.

Norton said cherries still on trees could be vulnerable to splitting if they got wet, but most of the crop on the west side of the county has been harvested. He said strawberries are also about done for this harvest season.

He said a light breeze will help dry things out and further reduce any chance of crop damage.

The forecast for Merced calls for high temperatures in the 80s and 90s through Father's Day.

Merced County wasn't the only region experiencing lightning on Monday.

Firefighters throughout Northern and Central California were put on high alert because of the thunderstorms. Officials said lightning strikes could cause fires that would spread quickly in the gusty conditions.

Merced Sun-Star is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service