August 24, 2014

Yakima and and Central/Southern WA Cascades Gets Hit by Thunderstorms

This is really getting to be an amazing year for thunderstorms over the Cascades and the eastern Cascade slopes.   It just doesn't stop!

Today's storms were focused from Yakima into the central and southern Washington Cascades.  The 24-h rainfall ending 7:30 PM Sunday is shown below: 1/2 inch in Yakima, with as much as .80 inches near Snoqualmie Pass and .5-1 inch over the eastern slopes of the northern Oregon Cascades.

Rain gauges can, of course, miss some significant rain features, particularly from thunderstorms.  Here are the "storm totals"--mainly for this afternoon-- from the Pendleton, Oregon radar.  In limited areas along the eastern slopes of the WA Cascades there was 1-2 inches.

The National Weather Service had a flood warming out this afternoon for the Yakima area and there was some localized flooding over roadways.  Here is a report from a NWS spotter near Tampico (east of Yakima, see map below).  The spotter estimated 2 inches of rain (consistent with radar) and water running over Ahtanum Rd.

Time:0340 PM
Magnitude:E2.00 INCH
Location:2 E TAMPICO

A storm-total precipitation map from the Portland radar shows the Yakima precipitation and the heavy rainfall south of Hood River.

The thunderstorms today brought lots of is the lightning strike map for the 24h ending 9 PM Sunday.  Lots of lightning over the central and southern WA Cascades, as well as eastern Oregon. Some new fires have been reported.

For example, one small fire started near Selah, Washington, but was quickly extinguished (see picture)

Picture courtesy of MASON TRINCA/Yakima Herald-Republic

It looks like the lightning and thunderstorms will take a break for a few days, staring tomorrow (Monday)


  1. There was almost no warning. We were climbing at exit 38 off I-90 around 4:00. We heard thunder, saw lightning and quickly packed up but the rain hit within a few minutes. We all got soaked on the hike out.

  2. holy moly! i was hiking on the pass and got out of there when i heard the thunder. got back on the interstate just in time for one of the most epic thunderstorms i've seen in these parts. traffic on I-90 was at a crawl, it was dumping rain, the fog started to roll in, and at the tail end of it there was hail. then the sun was back out and it was 80 degrees again. awesome!

  3. Our forests are in jeopardy. A system of lightning rods placed in key locations could discharge these strikes. For those who doubt, a system of dams was built at greater expense than a lightning rod grid would ever cost. Something needs to be done instead of sitting back in helpless denial.

  4. Do the plus-symbols in the lightning graphic represent 'lightning polarity'?
    If so, then that's a colossal amount of positively-charged strikes! Isn't that unusual around 'these parts'? (If it's not, then that would explain why I can't discern any negative-strikes...;)

  5. The trained spotter might have been east of Tampico, but Tampico is WEST of Yakima. Still, amazing weather and I hope it doesn't hurt any of the farmers too much.

  6. I was hiking to Franklin Falls on Sunday afternoon when we started to hear thunder. As soon as we got to the falls themselves we started to feel raindrops. By the time we climbed back up to the main trail, it was pouring, huge puddles and water running down the trail, with a bit of hail. It's only a mile but every single item of clothing our group was wearing was soaked through by the time we got out. But back in North Bend, it was warm and sunny. Very localized to the mountains!


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