Weather News

2,200 lightning strikes electrify the Northwest. They started 2 fires near Tri-Cities

A storm with thunder and lightning that moved over the Mid-Columbia late Saturday night and early Sunday morning sparked at least two fires in Benton County.

The worst of the storm hit the Tri-Cities between 11:45 p.m. Saturday and 2 a.m. Sunday, according to the National Weather Service.

About 0.13 inch of rain fell and wind gusts as high as 28 mph were recorded at the Tri-Cities Airport in Pasco.

Benton County Fire District 5 responded with help from West Benton Fire Rescue to one fire south of Prosser that burned about 300 acres of grass, sagebrush and wheat stubble.

The second wildfire was on a slope of the Horse Heaven Hills, and could be seen from Prosser. Heavy rains quickly put the fire out before it could spread.

Gusty winds early Sunday morning blew down the temporary fencing around the construction zone at the old Tapteal Elementary School. Courtesy West Richland Police

The storm was worse in Western Washington.

The National Weather Service in Seattle reported 2,200 cloud-to-ground lightning strikes in Northwest Washington from 6 to 11 p.m..

“That works out to an estimated 440 an hour and 7 to 8 a minute,” the weather service said.

The severe weather in Seattle even delayed part of the Washington Huskies football game against the California Golden Bears at Husky Stadium.

Lightning strikes as the game is delayed due to severe weather in the first quarter. The Washington Huskies played the California Golden Bears in a NCAA football game at Husky Stadium in Seattle, Wash., on Saturday, Sept. 7, 2019. Joshua Bessex

More rain is possible in the Tri-Cities this week. A 30 percent chance of showers is forecast for Tuesday night.

As the series of storms moves out of the Mid-Columbia, temperatures will be warming again.

Highs through Wednesday are forecast for the low to mid 70s., but Thursday and Friday they should be back to the 80s, according to the forecast.

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Lightning flashes in the sky beyond Husky Stadium during a weather delay in the first quarter of an NCAA college football game between Washington and California on Sept. 7. Ted S. Warren The Associated Press