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Severe Storms Threaten Interior Northwest, Mountain West

1 PM PDT, August 13, 2014

By WeatherBug Sr. Meteorologist, James West

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Strong and severe thunderstorms are on the menu across the Interior Northwest and Mountain West this afternoon and evening, breaking the streak of the recent hot weather. In addition to the damaging winds, large hail, frequent lightning could touch off fresh wildfires.

Due to this threat, a Severe Thunderstorm Watch has been issued for parts of Idaho and Nevada, including Elko, Nev., and Twin Falls, Idaho.

An upper-level trough and low pressure area moving into the Northwest will drag cold front into the Mountain West. This front, along with a southwest flow off the Pacific Ocean, upper-level energy and afternoon temperatures in the 80s and low 90s, will power the development of severe thunderstorms.

The first storms will pop-up across the central and northern Oregon and southern Idaho this afternoon, expanding into eastern Washington and western Montana this evening. The biggest threat from the storms will be large hail and damaging wind gusts, but a few of the first storms could spin up a quick tornado, especially across northeastern Oregon.

Pendleton, Ore., Boise, Idaho, Spokane, Wash., and Butte, Mont., could be at risk from these strong storms.

More scattered thunderstorms will also be possible across the rest of the Interior West from the Desert Southwest northward into the Great Basin and the western Rockies. These storms, like the stronger ones in the interior Northwest, will produce frequently lightning capable of trigger new wildfires in the drought-stricken, tinder-dry Interior West. The rainfall from the storms will only make a tiny dent in the extreme drought.

If you live in an area that could be threatened by thunderstorms, be sure to download the mobile WeatherBug app on your smart phone. The mobile apps now includes Spark Lightning Alerts, a GPS-based lightning detection feature providing you the location of the closest lightning strike, so you can Know Before the storm hits. Click here for the link to download.

Be sure to keep WeatherBug active to receive the latest weather in your neighborhood and get the latest updates anywhere on Twitter.

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