Virga?...

Virga?.... it was a new word to me too... while looking around at weather sites on the web, I discovered virga:  or wispy clouds which begin their fall to earth with moisture but due to dry air below, evaporate before hitting the ground. Can be quite beautiful......

   

 

 

...but, they are not too useful if accompanying lightening. This is what classifies the lightening as "dry lightening" which is much more of a hazard for creation of wildfires, with no precipitation to help control/ extinguish the strikes when they hit the ground.

 Dry lightening happens far more frequently in the western part of the continent .

From wikipedia :

Such thunderstorms are most common in the western portion of the United States during the summer. They occur when the rain produced by thunderstorms falls through a substantial layer of very dry air which evaporates the precipitation before it reaches the ground. For fire weather purposes, a thunderstorm does not have to be completely dry to be considered dry; in many areas, a tenth of an inch of rain is the threshold between a "wet" and "dry" thunderstorm.[1]

Dry thunderstorms are notable for two other reasons: they are the most common natural origin of wildland fires, and they can produce strong gusty surface winds that can fan flames.

More on the "gusty wind" part, soon.

 

 

drylightning.jpg