Thunderstorms, Flash Floods Possible Today

Staff Writer

The dry spell in Mono County ended this morning as Mammoth and Eastern Sierra residents awake to a strange and wondrous thing; rain.

Although it was not a lot of rain, the early morning rain marks the first time in almost a month since rain fell on the Eastside and one of only a handful of rain events all summer.

However, summer rains often also mean lightning and thunderstorms, putting firefighters on high alert today once again.

Flash floods are another possibility, although if the past few weeks are any indication, almost all moisture in the state has fallen north of Mammoth.

"There is a good chance of seeing a few severe thunderstorm, flash flood, and/or dust storms," said meteorologist Chris Smallcomb in a recent email.
Here's what it will look like, according to Smallcomb.

"Scattered thunderstorms will develop in the afternoon Monday, with possibly heavy rain. Things dry out starting Tuesday with just isolated storms south of S.R. 50," he said.

The effects will be strong and erratic outflow winds near any storms will create blowing dust, severe turbulence and wind shear, and maybe some tree/fence damage, he said.

"Those strong winds coupled with lightning have a good chance of resulting in some new fire starts each day. Flash flooding is something to be aware of both days, but especially Monday, in and near burn scars and flood prone spots.

"Now would be a good time to ensure outdoor events have a thunderstorm/lightning plan for later today, and have tents, canopies well secured from strong outflow winds," he said. He also warned it's time to be especially careful around burn areas like the Tule, Sparks, Marina, and Washington fires, to name a few. "Flash flooding on burn scars happens very quickly; sometimes even just a quarter inch of rain can start flooding, so we'll be very quick to issue Flash Flood Warnings for these areas," he said.