Storms began forming Thursday afternoon in the farthest northeast regions of Washington and North Idaho, the same areas that were heaviest hit by overnight downpours and hundreds of lightning strikes.
Authorities in Shoshone County reported hail measuring an inch in diameter on Thursday afternoon. A flood watch is in effect for portions of western Montana through early Friday morning.
The National Weather Service reported 543 strikes in Stevens County, 462 in Ferry County and 284 in Lincoln County as thunderstorms swept across the area Wednesday evening, said Valerie Thaler, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Spokane. In Spokane County, the National Lightning Detection Network of antennae reported 44 strikes.
Those areas that lit up the most also saw the most significant rainfall overnight, Thaler said, tamping down the threat of wildfires. Emergency agencies reported eight fires ignited in the area beginning at 6 p.m. through just after midnight, all smaller than 0.2 acres and now contained.
A spotter in Ferry County reported 1.1 inches of rainfall Wednesday evening, Thaler said, and Stevens County rainfall totals were reported between a half-inch and 1.1 inches.
At the National Weather Service building on the West Plains, meteorologists measured 0.17 inches of rain. That’s the most rain to fall in 24 hours at the station since June 13.
A flash flood warning was in effect Wednesday evening for sections of north central Spokane County, northwest of Colbert.
Rain and storms were expected again Thursday evening in many of the same locations, Thaler said, but the threat was milder.
“We will see storms tonight, but we aren’t expecting them to be as strong as yesterday,” Thaler said.
Winds of up to 35 mph were expected, the National Weather Service said.
“Torrential rainfall,” meanwhile, hit the areas of Athol and Spirit Lake.
Temperatures are expected to fall over the weekend. Highs Saturday are forecasted in the low 80s, with overnight lows in the lower 50s overnight Saturday and Sunday before heating up again in the early part of next week.
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