Over 1,000 Lightning Strikes and 164-MPH Winds Hit the Sierra Nevada During Rare Storm
As much of Northern California experienced extreme weather on Thursday, no area so more extremes than the Sierra Nevada. With over 1,000 lightning strikes during the day and a recording of 164-mph winds at the top of the mountains, the high-elevation areas were a riddled with dangerous weather conditions.
In the Sierra Nevada between Tahoe and Mammoth, the National Weather Service recorded an unusually high volume of lightning strikes:
Meanwhile, the winds on the mountains caused dangerous conditions at ski resorts. Winds hit over 100 mph throughout the Sierra Nevada, but it was Mammoth Mountain that saw the record with 164 mph. Ward Peak at Alpine Meadows recorded 137 mph.
It was an overall rare weather day, which saw snow levels rise to over 7,000 feet along the flurry of lightning and wind. The ski resorts closed operations for most of the day due to the extreme conditions:
The roads were also treacherous in the mountains. Traffic was held on Tahoe highways due to spinouts and avalanche blasts:
While the snow is expected to remain constant through the weekend, the wind and lightning should be stable for the rest of the current storm.