Regional Public Journalism
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Despite Current Storminess, Thunder A Rarity In Northwest

Ian Boggs, Flickr.

The Northwest is experiencing an unusual weather pattern this week.

Some late-summer downpours have even included flashes of lightning and rumbles of thunder. But thunderstorms are much less common in our region than in other parts of the country.

Around here, about the only time you hear thunder is when your neighbor cranks up the AC/DC. And when the real stuff rolls across the sky, people talk about it. Even meteorologists have noticed that phenomenon.

"I grew up in Missouri where we get a lot of storm activity," says Jeremiah Pyle, a forecaster with the National Weather Service in Portland. "So it was kind of a surprise to me how excited everybody gets with every little round of thunder here."

He says the reason thunderstorms are so rare in the Northwest is that the right ingredients rarely show up at the same time. You generally need high temperatures and moisture together. That's a common mix in the humid east, but our summers are dry. The rain usually doesn't show up in force until after the mercury drops in the fall.

Pyle says if you want to enjoy a thunderstorm, the safest place to do so is inside.