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Modesto area could get a good soaking today

SACRAMENTO — Northern California was bracing for a second wave of thunderstorms after a slow-moving system produced lightning strikes that touched off spot fires and sent a woman to the hospital.

More than 1,000 lightning strikes were recorded Wednesday night and Thursday morning, the National Weather Service said.

One hit a Plumas County woman as she walked across a yard carrying an umbrella Wednesday night. Sheriff's Sgt. Ken Nelson said he did not know the victim's identity. She was flown to a Sacramento hospital, where she was listed in critical condition Thursday, the hospital said.

Lightning and downed power lines caused numerous small fires from the Sierra foothills north and east of the state capital to just south of the Oregon border. Most were less than an acre, said Karl Swanberg, a weather service forecaster in Sacramento.

Butte County experienced lightning strikes that triggered a dozen small fires, said Capt. Scott McLean of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.The storm dropped an inch of rain in some areas, he said.

In Southern California, two people were dead and seven injured after thunderstorms and lightning ignited dozens of small fires.

Lightning killed a woman walking under a tree along a Fontana sidewalk shortly before 5 p.m. She was identified as Tina Bond, 40, the coroner's office said.

In the San Bernardino Mountains, wind blew a tree onto a car and killed driver Elena Martinez, 31, during a thunderstorm, said Big Bear Lake fire spokeswoman Michelle Caldwell.

This morning, snow flurries were reported at the Aspen Meadows pack station near Dodge Ridge ski resort.

The Modesto area forecast calls for rain showers with a chance of thunderstorms today, with high temperatures reaching 63 to 73. The high in Modesto itself is expected to be an unseasonably cool 70 degrees.

For Saturday, forecasters expect mostly cloudy conditions with a chance of rain showers and maybe some thunderstorms in the evening.

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