Lightning, hail, record-breaking highs

Rebecca Neipp

News Review Staff Writer

Lightning, hail, record-breaking highsWhile this week’s weather seemed to carry with it some unusual events — including multiple thunder storms, intermittent hail, and record-breaking high temperatures — China Lake Forecaster Tamera Walters noted that, “This is actually more typical of August weather — we’ve just been spoiled the last couple of years.”

Starting last Saturday, a high-pressure system sitting just in the right spot pushed a little bit of monsoonal flow into the mountains surrounding the Indian Wells Valley, said Walters. What followed were several brief, but dramatic, downpours accompanied by lightning.

A few places around the valley even reported pea-sized hail coming down earlier this week. By press time, some of the moisture started to dry up.

However, Walters said that those storms could return by Sunday or Monday.

She acknowledged that while the vast majority of precipitation in the valley comes between the months of October and February, “August is typically the time of year when we get these storms.”

Even after they leave, though, she said that the high temperatures will stick around.

“They may drop a little this weekend, but the humidity is going to remain, so it will still feel uncomfortable.”

Walters noted earlier in the week that while the valley’s record-high temperature of 119 degrees would probably not be broken this year, we have already set new record highs for certain dates.

However, she noted that the information collected and recorded locally is often out of sync with the temperatures provided by the National Weather Service (the temperatures that appear on most people cell phones, for example).

“We don’t usually share our information with the public, but I do know that ours is more accurate.”

At press time, the National Park Service was still awaiting validation of a 130-degree high over the weekend in Death Valley.

If corroborated, that will officially be the hottest temperature recorded on Earth since 1913.

The previous record, also observed in Death Valley, was 134 degrees F, although modern scientists have questioned the accuracy of that figure.

An extreme heat warning remains in effect for much of the region.

The Kerr McGee Center is a local cooling center, and opens to members of the public in need of respite from the heat when the temperature reaches 108 degrees or hotter.

Pictured: Lightning over the Sierra Nevada was captured by local photographer Ken Sanger.

Story First Published: 2020-08-17