Nearly 12,000 lightning strikes reported in state, sparking fires

Nearly12,000 lightning strikes were reported in California on Monday, sparking many fires

Nearly 12,000 lightning strikes were reported throughout California on Monday, some of which sparked 61 new fires.

The lightning caused many new fires across Northern California, including 33 in the region's national forests.

Clusters of lightning were especially heavy along the Owens Valley and the south Sierra and White mountains, said Eric Kurth, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Sacramento.

"It is unusual to get quite that many," he said.

Just in the Tahoe National Forest, officials recorded 111 lightning strikes.

Wind gusts of 60 mph and large hail -- some the size of golf balls -- were reported throughout Northern California.

The wacky weather was the result of monsoonal moisture, which has been persistent this summer, Kurth said.

Notably, he said, the moisture has moved farther west and into the foothills.

The recent thunderstorm, rain, hail and lightning activity, Kurth said, has been "remarkable."

Thunderstorms and lightning had cleared out of Northern California by Tuesday morning, but forecasters warned of scattered thunderstorms in Southern California's mountains and deserts for later in the day.

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