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Supercell thunderstorm hits Oregon, Idaho, starts wildfires, damages homes

by Monica Esquivel, Boise State Public Radio |

BOISE, Idaho – A severe storm hit Nyssa, Ore., and central Idaho Wednesday afternoon, leaving a trail of significant damage to crops, homes and power lines. Wildfires have also been reported.

Supercell thunderstorms are rare in Idaho but when they do happen, they can bring strong winds, large hail and in some cases, even tornadoes.

Fire weather meteorologist Sophia Adams with the National Weather Service in Boise said there have been reports of widespread power outages, roofing damage, broken windshields and more.

Gusts reached about 80 miles per hour with hail about two inches in diameter – extreme weather patterns that are not very common in Idaho. The storm also caused hail as far north and east as Stanley and Garden Valley.

Adams said a similar storm passed through a few years ago and while it wasn't an alarming incident, the lightning means a bigger risk of wildfire.

Wednesday’s storm ignited some fires in Payette and parts of eastern Oregon, but Adams said they were small and have since been contained.