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Spokane records wettest day since January 2021 during Tuesday thunderstorms

A producer for KREM 2 caught the moment that lightning struck our tower on Tuesday morning during the strong thunderstorm in Spokane.

SPOKANE, Wash. — A round of storms moved through the Inland Northwest early Tuesday morning. The region saw everything from heavy rain, lightning and thunder to hail and even some locally gusty winds. Thankfully, there wasn’t any widespread storm damage but what was recorded was some much-needed rain.

Spokane picked up 0.30 inches of rain on Tuesday morning. To put that in perspective, a single day hasn’t seen that much moisture since Jan. 12, 2021. In fact, not one month from February to May brought that much rain to Spokane.

The rain came with sleep-stopping lightning and thunder. The bolts were widespread from eastern Washington through North Idaho and into western Montana. A good rule of thumb and an easy phrase to remember is, “When thunder roars, head indoors.”

The above video taken by KREM 2 producer Cody Crawford serves as a great learning moment. Typically, lightning strikes without warning. However, if conditions are just right the air will fill with the electricity and crackle before the lightning strikes. In this instance, the antenna behind KREM served as a conductor and ground for the bolt of lightning. This won’t always be the case and a little warning before the strike might be enough to seek cover and save a life.

Lightning is a sign of convection in the atmosphere. Convection or vertical motion in the atmosphere is the mechanism that facilitates hail formation. For the most part, lightning doesn’t guarantee hail, however when the conditions are right hail will form. 

There were multiple reports of hail on Tuesday morning. Reports ranged from 0.75 inches, the size of a penny, to 1.25 inches, the size of a half dollar. A bulk of the hail reports came out of northeastern Washington and North Idaho. When hail reaches half dollar size, it starts to cause damage to roofs and cars. As of now, there are no damage reports from the hail.

Credit: KREM 2 News

The rest of the week looks to be sunny and warmer across the Inland Northwest. Skies will clear as temperatures climb back into the 80s and stay there through the weekend.  

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