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Red flag warning issued for Lake Tahoe Basin

The National Weather Service upgraded its fire weather watch Sunday evening to a red flag warning for the Lake Tahoe Basin.

NWS officials say high winds and thunderstorms are possible Sunday afternoon into Monday morning leading to the warning that goes into effect at 8 p.m. and lasts through 11 a.m.

Officials say storms may be a hybrid of wet and dry but faster storm motions will likely allow for lightning strikes outside of the main thunderstorm core.

“With resources already stretched thin, any new starts will be an issue,” said an NWS press release.

Lightning strikes can start new fires and the strong wind can make a new blaze rapidly grow before first responders can arrive on scene. Nearly 12,000 lightning strikes since Aug. 15 have caused about 600 wildfires that have burned a million acres, Cal Fire officials said.

Wind gusts up to 50 mph are possible.

The high temperature Sunday will approach 80 with the overnight lows hovering in the high 50s. The chance of precipitation is 40%.

NWS says it will be mostly sunny on Monday with a 30% chance of precipitation.

Officials ask that people avoid outdoor activities that can cause a spark like target shooting, yard work or campfires, which have been disallowed in the basin at this time.

NWS also extended its dense smoke advisory through Sunday morning which has affected air quality at Tahoe for several days.

“Smoke, including thicker particulate matter from active fires across northeast California, will continue to affect the area, especially north of Highway 50,” said the release. “Air quality may fluctuate or improve slightly at times; however, it is expected to remain unhealthy through Sunday morning.

The winds from the incoming thunderstorms will likely direct smoke south helping to clear the basin.

Check weather.gov/reno for updates and livingwithfire.info for preparedness tips.

For more information on air quality, visit airnow.gov.


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