This summer's thunderstorms proved to be rare events for region
For those residents who thought that some of our sudden big precipitation thunderstorms that rolled through the region throughout the summer might have been out of place, you’re right.
“If we’re going to get any thunderstorms, they tend to be in the springtime, in May and June,” Bob Quinn, Eastern Washington University professor of meteorology said. “They are a combination of the North Pacific storm track tapping into that subtropical moisture off of California.”
Following 2012 where such storms were practically nonexistent, 2013 offered up some significant events that produced buckets of rain at times.
“Essentially we have hot, dry summers but every now and then we can get a surge of that moisture coming all the way up from the Desert Southwest where they have their normal – we laugh – summer monsoon season,” Quinn explained.
Whether it’s moisture from the Gulf of Mexico or the Gulf of California, it occasionally works its way northward, Quinn said. “When that happens we get some thunderstorm activity.”
“The fly in the ointment in all that was we had a little separate upper-level low off of Central to Southern California so that acted as the push mechanism, the steering mechanism, to bring that moisture northward on a couple of occasions,” Quinn said.
Surprisingly, there are times when the area can go two of three years without significant thunderstorm activity, except over the mountains.
“Then you get a year like this year where that monsoonal flow was just a little stronger and reinforced and about four or five times it got far enough north to kick things off.
The fundamental storm track for the area of from the west and southwest, Quinn said. It’s the same direction as winter storms.
Paul Delaney can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.