Montana Outdoors

August 2, 2014

Late evening storm

Filed under: Storm clouds — Tags: , , — montucky @ 11:53 pm

In the month of July there were 21 days when our temperature reached over 90º. The grasses in the valley and the lower slopes of the mountains are tinder-dry and the fire index is “very high”. Early this afternoon I noticed a helicopter heading west-northwest trailing the all-too-familiar water bucket, and not long after, a 4 engine aircraft flew the same path: it had a red tail.. a slurry bomber. Late in the afternoon I spotted the fire burning in steep, rocky terrain high on Koo Koo Sint ridge about 6 miles downriver from here. I’m glad I won’t be on that one!

Tonight this scene, while somewhat intriguing, is not a welcome one.

Summer storm

While I was out attempting to get a picture of this storm to our east I saw well over a hundred lightning strikes. Most looked to be just over the high ridge which is the Reservation border. The fire crews of the Flathead Indian Nation will be busy tomorrow. (When this storm started to throw lightning bolts and broadcast the ensuing thunder, a gobble reply to each one came from a flock of wild turkeys just across the river.)



  1. […] See the rest here: Late evening storm […]


    Pingback by Late evening storm | TinderNews — August 3, 2014 @ 1:31 am

  2. How awful. I hope it is contained quickly with minimal damage to plants and animals.


    Comment by Candace — August 3, 2014 @ 1:42 am

    • I’ll check on it later this morning. We had a fierce thunder storm later last night but it also brought nearly an inch of rain so that might help.


      Comment by montucky — August 3, 2014 @ 8:01 am

  3. What a dramatic sight. And thanks for the soundtrack – it changes and enhances my whole perception of your shot.


    Comment by highland hind — August 3, 2014 @ 1:49 am

    • A lot more drama came later in the night. What a beautiful storm it was!


      Comment by montucky — August 3, 2014 @ 8:04 am

  4. Great shot, Terry.
    That’s a lot of lightening strikes.
    Hope the fire is contained & put out quickly. With tinder dry undergrowth, the thought of it spreading would be very worrying indeed.


    Comment by Vicki — August 3, 2014 @ 1:56 am

    • After that photo was taken, from about 11PM to 1AM we had an intense thunder storm, with, I’m sure, over a thousand bolts of lightning, but mitigated by nearly an inch of rain.


      Comment by montucky — August 3, 2014 @ 8:08 am

  5. What a fantastic and very dramatic photo ! … I have never been able to catch the thunder with my camera … Yet …
    But I do hope that I can some day or night …
    // Maria 🙂


    Comment by mariayarri — August 3, 2014 @ 3:27 am

    • I was ill prepared to catch this, but I tried. Didn’t have time to go back home and get a tripod, so used my walking staff as a monopod. This was a 4 second exposure from a shaky base!


      Comment by montucky — August 3, 2014 @ 8:09 am

  6. Wow! What a stunning shot


    Comment by Mike Howe — August 3, 2014 @ 4:25 am

    • Thanks Mike. Out of 22 tries, this one turned out fairly well.


      Comment by montucky — August 3, 2014 @ 8:11 am

  7. The thought of firesis pretty scary. The Colorado Front Range has been so fortunate this year! Good luck


    Comment by carolannie1949 — August 3, 2014 @ 5:55 am

    • We have been fortunate here so far, too, but with thunder storms predicted for all of the coming week I’m sure the fire crews will see some action.


      Comment by montucky — August 3, 2014 @ 8:12 am

  8. Thunder and lightning are very upsetting to animals. I’m not surprised the turkeys gobbled. Hope there weren’t too many fires started with all that lightning. Beautiful photo.


    Comment by wordsfromanneli — August 3, 2014 @ 5:56 am

    • I got a big kick out of the turkeys. Our dog wasn’t thrilled with the thunder, but she doesn’t get completely horrified. Strangely, she is more disturbed by a storm when she is in the house. Once on a hike we were in a huge storm and even when she got drenched she didn’t seem to mind at all.


      Comment by montucky — August 3, 2014 @ 8:14 am

      • I came home late after being gone all day and a thunderstorm was pretty much centered over our house. When I opened the door our two cats and a dog met me right at the door with three sets of eyes bugged out. Were they ever glad to see me.


        Comment by wordsfromanneli — August 3, 2014 @ 9:29 am

        • I bet they were! Kind of makes you fell needed, doesn’t it!


          Comment by montucky — August 3, 2014 @ 3:17 pm

  9. Beautiful photo of the dangers inherent in nature … something about the turkeys response is sadly sweet …


    Comment by Teresa Evangeline — August 3, 2014 @ 6:18 am

    • I haven’t seen turkeys for months now but they gave away their position last night. I’m not sure what their point was. On the way back to the house in the dark I heard at least a dozen deer snorts too, but I don’t know if they were addressing me or the storm.


      Comment by montucky — August 3, 2014 @ 8:16 am

  10. Great shot!


    Comment by Sue — August 3, 2014 @ 6:24 am

    • Thanks Sue. I was kind of like the blind squirrel who finds a nut anyway.


      Comment by montucky — August 3, 2014 @ 8:17 am

  11. Endless hot, dry days make lightning an unwelcome sight even if it makes for great pictures.


    Comment by Malcolm R. Campbell — August 3, 2014 @ 7:04 am

    • Thankfully, this was not a dry storm, at least not at the house. It rattled the mountains in all directions though and I’m sure the rain wasn’t as widespread as the lightning.


      Comment by montucky — August 3, 2014 @ 8:18 am

  12. That’s nature for you. 21 days of 90 degree temps seems unusual for Montana though. That’s hotter than we’ve been. I hope they can get the fire under control before it does too much damage. I wish we could just let them burn themselves out as nature intended but I realize that that isn’t possible in this day and age. That’s interesting about the turkeys-and funny!


    Comment by New Hampshire Garden Solutions — August 3, 2014 @ 7:28 am

    • That was the 4th longest hot spell we’ve ever had and it is far from over I think. The fire is in an area where it can be fought only from the air. I hope the rain knocked it down during the night. There are several around that are just being monitored, not attacked. I wish we would let more of them burn too. We are not doing ourselves any favors when we try to stop every one; it only puts off and exacerbates a problem. I remember in 1960 I was on a Forest Service fire crew and we had to hike 25 miles into the back country of Idaho to fight a huge fire because there were no roads or any trace of development there. I still wonder why we did that.


      Comment by montucky — August 3, 2014 @ 8:24 am

      • I think we thought that we were “helping” but experience shows that we really didn’t know what we were doing.


        Comment by New Hampshire Garden Solutions — August 4, 2014 @ 4:23 am

        • Here in the northwest we over-reacted to the huge fire of 1910 and have tried to put out every single fire since, which has only made things worse. There are large tracts of forest that are just begging to burn. For the last two decades lots of people have moved here and built homes where homes should never be and that has turned fire season into a nightmare.


          Comment by montucky — August 4, 2014 @ 8:46 pm

  13. The mind of a turkey is inscrutable!


    Comment by jomegat — August 3, 2014 @ 2:58 pm

    • Indeed. They are either brilliant or incredibly stupid.


      Comment by montucky — August 3, 2014 @ 3:18 pm

  14. That is an amazing photo, well done! I have never managed to capture lightning yet in a photo.


    Comment by Jo Woolf — August 3, 2014 @ 11:30 pm

    • I kept trying for this one. I deleted over twenty and was bitten by every mosquito west of the international date line before getting a decent photo.


      Comment by montucky — August 4, 2014 @ 8:41 pm

  15. Stunning photo. Congratulations for it. I have never been able to capture a lightning. Today in Finland it is predicted 89.6ºF and many days it has been 84.2ºF.


    Comment by Sartenada — August 4, 2014 @ 3:17 am

    • That must be very warm for you then! We usually have a month of very warm days this time in the summer, then the crisp cool of fall comes and feels wonderful.


      Comment by montucky — August 4, 2014 @ 8:43 pm

      • Yes, it has been warm to many of us. Yesterday it was the hottest day of the summer: 32.9ºC / 91.2ºF.


        Comment by Sartenada — August 5, 2014 @ 4:43 am

  16. I don’t mind the burning as a natural way to cleanse and allow new growth but my house is my worry. I can sit on my front porch by the Thompson River and Koo Koo Sint is right in front of my house. At least I am not there to breathe the smoke.


    Comment by Dave — August 4, 2014 @ 2:24 pm

    • I know what you mean. I have been concerned here several times over the years too. The river and the canyon should give you some protection there, and the road access would let fire equipment get there to help. Fire crew response to this latest batch of fires has been satisfyingly quick too. I wish you the best of luck!


      Comment by montucky — August 4, 2014 @ 8:51 pm

  17. That’s a beautiful lightning capture. We’ve had so little lightning this year — or last, for that matter. Before that was the drought, so it’s been a while. It is a double-edged sword, but there’s nothing like seeing a good display. I did have to laugh at your comment about the turkeys. They’re such funny creatures, and their ability to disappear into a corn field in a flash is amazing.


    Comment by shoreacres — August 4, 2014 @ 5:14 pm

    • The latest results seem to be that 26 fires started from that one storm in our local ranger district, all small. Our little town has been very busy with fire crews coming in from all over, several helicopters and crews based here at the DNRC and also several small single engine fire planes are based at the airport. A waitress at the local Subway told me last night that they had an order yesterday for 125 meals and expect much of the same for the next week.


      Comment by montucky — August 4, 2014 @ 9:07 pm

  18. Hi Montucky, What a tremendous photo! Well done. It is such a shame but that is nature, that lightning does cause forest fires. Have a good day tomorrow!


    Comment by wildlifewatcher — August 4, 2014 @ 5:34 pm

    • Yes. We still have a lot of learning to do about how to respond.


      Comment by montucky — August 4, 2014 @ 9:09 pm

  19. Wow! That is one fascinating photo and frightening when you are as dry as you all are. You’ve really had a hot summer. This one has been our coolest and also rainy. And I am enjoying it.


    Comment by Mama's Empty Nest — August 5, 2014 @ 11:36 am

    • Cool and rainy sounds so good! I would enjoy that too! This looks like one of those years when fire season stops with the first heavy snow.


      Comment by montucky — August 5, 2014 @ 7:34 pm

      • Raining here again today! Sure wish I could send some your way. 🙂


        Comment by Mama's Empty Nest — August 6, 2014 @ 6:00 am

        • Wish you could too! We’ve had “chance of rain” in our forecasts for several weeks and had only one brief rain.


          Comment by montucky — August 6, 2014 @ 4:45 pm

  20. i hope you are well and no close fires! that is an awesome photo.
    we have had many nights like that as well, dramatic and amazing and trees hit and folks loosing electronic devices in their homes, one close fire that was put out the same day, yea!
    Hazy with smoke up here, maybe from Wa. or Canada, not sure. Wishing us all safety.


    Comment by Tammie — August 5, 2014 @ 9:22 pm

    • There is now a “complex” of fires in the Thompson Falls general area that is a collection of 26 small fires in a combination of 110 acres, all started by that one big storm. Fortunately they are not threatening any homes or infrastructure and will probably be contained to some degree, but it’s likely that they will last until the snow comes.

      I love seeing and being in storms like that but that pleasure is dampened by concern for those who might be adversely affected by them. I also hope that we all can stay safe!


      Comment by montucky — August 5, 2014 @ 10:50 pm

  21. Perfect timing on this great shot, Montucky!


    Comment by Watching Seasons — August 6, 2014 @ 9:32 am

    • Thank goodness for digital! It took 22 tries to get this one.


      Comment by montucky — August 6, 2014 @ 4:46 pm

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