California fires could reach record levels in 2008

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 21:42 GMT le 25 juin 2008

Share this Blog
5
+

An unusually early and dangerous fire season has hit California, where at least 33 fires burning over a total of 190,000 acres are active, according to the Interagency Fire Center. The fires were sparked over the weekend when an unusually far southward-moving storm system brought numerous thunderstorms to central and northern California. Over 8,000 lightning strikes hit the region. Most of these strikes were not accompanied by rain, since a very dry atmosphere at low levels caused much of the thunderstorm rain to evaporate before reaching the surface. The lightning strikes ignited an unusual number of fires, due to exceptionally dry vegetation in California. This year, the state experienced its driest spring season (March-April-May) since record keeping began in 1895, and much of the state is in moderate to severe drought.


Figure 1. Visible satellite image from NASA's Aqua spacecraft on Monday, June 23, 2008, showing smoke from hundreds of wildfires sparked by lightning in California. The red regions show where the satellite's sensor detected fires burning. The smoke has created air pollution levels in excess of the federal standards for fine particulate matter (PM2.5) over much of California's Central Valley. Image credit: NASA.

The forecast
With the dry season only beginning, it could be a record fire year in California. Even before last weekend's lightning storms, California had already seen an unusually large number of destructive wildfires, according to CalFire--90,000 acres had burned, compared to 42,000 acres during the same period last year. It is not unusual for large portions of the state to receive no rain at all in July and August, such as occurred last year (Figure 2). The jet stream typically moves far enough north in summer that the migrating low pressure systems that bring California most of its rain only hit the northernmost portions of the state. With high fuel levels due to a century of misguided fire suppression efforts, moderate to severe drought gripping the state, no rain in sight for months to come, and an above-normal chance of warmer than average temperatures forecast this summer for the state by NOAA's Climate Prediction Center, expect a record fire season in California.


Figure 2. Observed precipitation over California during 2007. Much of the state received no rain at all during July and August, which is a common occurrence. A little bit of thunderstorm activity did make it into the easternmost portion of the state, thanks to moisture flowing north-westward from the Arizona Monsoon. However, the Sierra Mountains block this moisture from reaching the central and western portions of the state. Image credit: NOAA.

Tropics
It's quiet in the tropical Atlantic. There are no threat areas to discuss, and none of the models are forecasting tropical storm formation in the next seven days. Beyond a week from now, the GFS is hinting that the region off the coast of Africa could see some development, but it is still probably too early for this too occur, despite warmer than average sea surface temperatures in the region.

Jeff Masters

San Bruno Mountain Fire - Cresting the Ridge (ajkimoto)
Photo taken as the fire crested the ridge of San Bruno Mountain
San Bruno Mountain Fire - Cresting the Ridge
()

Reader Comments

Comments will take a few seconds to appear.

Post Your Comments

Please sign in to post comments.

or Join

Not only will you be able to leave comments on this blog, but you'll also have the ability to upload and share your photos in our Wunder Photos section.

Display: 0, 50, 100, 200 Sort: Newest First - Order Posted

Viewing: 264 - 214

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23 | 24 | 25Blog Index

264. TampaSpin
10:08 AM EDT on June 26, 2008
Pressure at several bouys in the GOM is down as much as 2MB since the last 24 hours....have to see if the pressures keep falling....
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
263. surfmom
2:08 PM GMT on June 26, 2008
so nice to have a day off from working the barn --jumping out for a run, before that blob out there gets any closer, doesn't look like I am going to get a paddle in today (boohoo) but I'll take the rain in exchange. Got to get groceries today any way --so I guess it works, BBL
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
262. Nolehead
2:08 PM GMT on June 26, 2008
lol, yeah they say if you can surf the GOM you can surf anywhere....i love the east coast waves..they are so easy to ride..we have WAY too many close-outs!! yeah our beaches are awsome!! white sugar sands, even after gees lost count of how many storms we have had..lol
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
261. TheWeatherMan504
2:07 PM GMT on June 26, 2008
surfmom look at 245
Member Since: 18 mai 2008 Posts: 2 Comments: 1042
260. surfmom
2:06 PM GMT on June 26, 2008
You get some gorgeous waves up there, never been to your beaches, but have seen some gorgeous pictures of surfing -- the only thing that scares me about your homebeaches are the rip tides, your rips make ours look like childs play
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
259. TheWeatherMan504
1:59 PM GMT on June 26, 2008
250. Tazmanian 1:58 PM GMT on June 26, 2008
talk about being vary rude look what aquak9 said in this blog that was not vary nic at all


Link



Taz i got your back.
Member Since: 18 mai 2008 Posts: 2 Comments: 1042
258. Nolehead
2:03 PM GMT on June 26, 2008
surfmom, up here in Pensacola. Yeah just waiting and waiting...too much gas $ to hit the east coast right now...will wait till there's an actuall storm pushing something..
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
256. IKE
9:02 AM CDT on June 26, 2008
Mobile extended discussion...

"Long term (friday through wednesday)...the weak tropical wave
continues westward across the Gulf on Friday with deep tropical
moisture over the forecast area reflected in high precipitable water
values near two inches. An upper jet maximum dives out of the western
Canadian provinces and into the northern plains through Saturday
evolving into a longwave trough over the eastern states...with a
surface low moving across the Great Lakes on Friday then evolving
into a slow moving occluded system over Quebec on Sunday. While a
surface ridge over the northern Gulf maintains a light onshore
flow...a weakening front associated with the surface low slowly
moves southward into the southeast states...eventually moving
through the forecast area on Monday. The pattern supports staying
with good chance to likely probability of precipitation through Sunday for the mainly
daytime and early evening convection
...then chance probability of precipitation for Monday
as the weakening front moves through. Chance probability of precipitation continue for the
remainder of the forecast as the front lingers near the coast and
dissipates while a predominately light onshore flow resumes.
Temperatures will be near seasonable levels through the period."..................


50% chance of rain today...and tomorrow...60% on Saturday, in Mobile,AL.
Member Since: 9 juin 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
255. surfmom
2:00 PM GMT on June 26, 2008
Nolehead...there you are, did catch your blog post yesterday...... waiting, and more waiting.

We are you located?, Aurasurf suggests the east coast???
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
253. surfmom
1:53 PM GMT on June 26, 2008
geeze, look at all these lightening stories -- people, especially the horse people, think I am such a worry wart in regard to stikes --I remember my kid playing on a huge open polo field, horses with horseshoes on, lightening going off in the distance....but...... I wanted them to stop the game, but they were really mean, made fun of me and said NO. These were all bravado men (my kids 14, but he plays in adult leagues) there wasn't much I could do--I remember it was one of the longest, most horrible 30 minutes ever. I wanted to take the Patron and shake him for his stupidity (Patrons sponser and pay the players on the team and often have "god-like power and ego") I had such an migrane afterwards, I was a wreck. And we don't work w/that Patron anymore
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
252. catastropheadjuster
1:50 PM GMT on June 26, 2008
Ike do you think that blob in the GOM might head toward Mobile,Al and bring us rain? Also do you think it will make it over the weekend? I was just wondering, thinking about going fishing. A good friend of ours lost there son about 2yrs ago during a fishing tournament, lightning struck him they where near the Dolly Parden Bridge well that's what we call the bridge.
Sheri
Member Since: 24 août 2006 Posts: 21 Comments: 3652
251. weathermanwannabe
9:54 AM EDT on June 26, 2008
On the lighting issue it is also good to see many athletic programs take it very seriously; I was at a Seminoles Football game last season and they did a "lightning delay of game" which lasted about 45 minutes; You could not see a cloud in the sky from the stadium, and, people were bitching, but, I'm certain that they were keeping an eye on local radar during the game and saw something that they did not like; Good for them in terms of the safety of the players and fans.......(one of the oldtimers in front of me was saying that he had been to every game for the last 10 years an he had never seen a lighting delay when it was not raining)....
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
249. Nolehead
1:51 PM GMT on June 26, 2008
what's the chances of anything forming in the BOC...are any of the models still saying if anything is going to form there??
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
248. NEwxguy
1:52 PM GMT on June 26, 2008
It still amazes me how people still run under a tree for safety in a thunderstorm,no matter how much the warning is put out there.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
247. TerraNova
8:53 AM EST on June 26, 2008
200. Weather456 7:42 AM EST on June 26, 2008
197. TerraNova 8:36 AM AST on June 26, 2008

Can I have a link to the web page where that map came from? TIA


Here 456: Link
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
246. surfmom
1:51 PM GMT on June 26, 2008
#205, great question Ninjagirl and great explanation, my weather lesson for the day - happy to say I understand that completely for a change
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
245. TheWeatherMan504
1:51 PM GMT on June 26, 2008
238. surfmom 1:47 PM GMT on June 26, 2008
still 17 inches under what we need in SWFL, considering sharing some of that weatherman?????


Sure, if it brings the price of orange juice down. jk. lol!

Member Since: 18 mai 2008 Posts: 2 Comments: 1042
244. TerraNova
8:51 AM EST on June 26, 2008
233. saintsfan06 8:43 AM EST on June 26, 2008
Thanks Ike

I am guessing that would mean NOLA will be getting lots of rain.


The GFS model shows some pretty nice rainfall along the northern gulf, with areas of Mississippi, Alabama, and the Florida Panhandle getting close to 3 inches in the next 48 hours. Louisiana/NOLA is looking at about an inch through a two day period.

48-hour Precipitation
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
243. IKE
8:51 AM CDT on June 26, 2008
241...I remember reading that on WMBB.com
Member Since: 9 juin 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
242. surfmom
1:47 PM GMT on June 26, 2008
re 202 - great illustration , especially since I have chickens
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
241. weathermanwannabe
9:47 AM EDT on June 26, 2008
235. surfmom 9:45 AM EDT on June 26, 2008...Ditto; we lost a six year old girl to a lighting strike last weekend at a State park west of Tallahassee (Toreya); she was with her grandparents, the lighting hit a large tree, and the "bolt" traveled through the root of the tree to where the little girl was standing....Quite the tragedy and people really need to "clear out" ASAP when they see the clouds approach or hear thunder in the distance.....Any delay can cost lives as this example shows............
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
240. IKE
8:47 AM CDT on June 26, 2008
235. surfmom 8:45 AM CDT on June 26, 2008
Patrap thanks for the review on lightening. Tuesday we had a young fisherman (28yrs) struck by lightening while fishing in the gulf. It was another what I call "out of the blue' situation. He is presently in a medically induced coma, was rescued by a passer-by.

The situation..I had been out that afternoon to get my paddling workout. I kept checking the skies east of me as I was watching an ominus build up of thunderheads to the east. My observation showed that those clouds were at 15-20 maybe more miles away. I heard no thunder. After my work out I sat for a while (not wanting to come home and be domestic) but I kept an eye on the build-up. Around 4:30 I just didn't like the build-up and thought the potential was there for a strike -so I left.

After losing a friend from a strike in similar conditions --I always error on the side of caution. This was another such event - now it happen at 9:00pm in the final light of the day. I don't know if there was a build-up of clouds from the gulf or this was from out east --never the less, If the set-up up is there, even with the sun shining you can get popped. It's never worth the extra hour in the sun, surfing, fishing or whatever. People really don't understand how far these bolts can and do travel.


Had a 21 and 17 year-old, brothers, fishing for snapper on Choctawhatchee Bay Sunday afternoon. Struck by lightning...it killed them. The 21 year-old was a father of a 2 month old baby.
Member Since: 9 juin 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
239. Tazmanian
6:48 AM PDT on June 26, 2008
94E




95E

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
238. surfmom
1:45 PM GMT on June 26, 2008
still 17 inches under what we need in SWFL, considering sharing some of that weatherman?????
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
237. IKE
8:44 AM CDT on June 26, 2008
233. saintsfan06 8:43 AM CDT on June 26, 2008
Thanks Ike

I am guessing that would mean NOLA will be getting lots of rain.


50% today...tomorrow....60% on Saturday.
Member Since: 9 juin 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
236. pspredicts
1:42 PM GMT on June 26, 2008
If you are looking for a weather radio? i found one a couple of years ago at home depot it has am/fm weather tv recharges when plugged in and if you dont have an inverter when the power is out you can hand crank it and get about five to ten minutes of play
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
235. surfmom
1:34 PM GMT on June 26, 2008
Patrap thanks for the review on lightening. Tuesday we had a young fisherman (28yrs) struck by lightening while fishing in the gulf. It was another what I call "out of the blue' situation. He is presently in a medically induced coma, was rescued by a passer-by.

The situation..I had been out that afternoon to get my paddling workout. I kept checking the skies east of me as I was watching an ominus build up of thunderheads to the east. My observation showed that those clouds were at 15-20 maybe more miles away. I heard no thunder. After my work out I sat for a while (not wanting to come home and be domestic) but I kept an eye on the build-up. Around 4:30 I just didn't like the build-up and thought the potential was there for a strike -so I left.

After losing a friend from a strike in similar conditions --I always error on the side of caution. This was another such event - now it happen at 9:00pm in the final light of the day. I don't know if there was a build-up of clouds from the gulf or this was from out east --never the less, If the set-up up is there, even with the sun shining you can get popped. It's never worth the extra hour in the sun, surfing, fishing or whatever. People really don't understand how far these bolts can and do travel.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
234. weathermanwannabe
9:37 AM EDT on June 26, 2008
Good Morning......Tropics quiet and here's hoping that the rain in the Gomex will keep pushing North and bring some rain to the Panhandle.....Looks like the "creep" of the Madsen-Julian oscillation towards the tropical Atlantic will make for nice couple of wet months for the SE (regardless of TS development) so that we can avoid any drought issues this Summer (unlike the Western US.........Amazing really how these patterns set up in different geographical regions of the US (drought vs. rain, etc.).....
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
233. saintsfan06
1:41 PM GMT on June 26, 2008
Thanks Ike

I am guessing that would mean NOLA will be getting lots of rain.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
232. IKE
8:39 AM CDT on June 26, 2008

229. saintsfan06 8:32 AM CDT on June 26, 2008
Where is the blob in the GOM going???


Most likely the northern GOM coast.
Member Since: 9 juin 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
231. surfmom
1:29 PM GMT on June 26, 2008
Good morning friends. Gulf of Mexico continues to have lake like conditions. The very conditions keeping us flat here, make for some nice chest high waves on the East Coast of FL this weekend...if you have gas $/carpool and you are desperate for waves that's where they will be.

I'm anchored on the west coast kids, critters and job --so I'm stuck paddling the buoys and waiting.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
230. Patrap
8:33 AM CDT on June 26, 2008

... lightning safety week...
... indoor lightning safety...

The week of June 22-28... 2008 has been designated by the National
Weather Service as lightning safety week. During this week... the
National Weather Service in Slidell will issue lightning safety
information each day.

Todays topic is indoor lightning safety.

A house or other substantial structure offers the best protection
from lightning. For shelters to provide adequate protection... they
must be well grounded. A structure can be grounded on the outside...
within the walls... or a combination of both. Many small... open
shelters on athletic fields... Golf courses... roadside picnic areas...
school yards... and elsewhere are designed to protect people from
rain and sun... but not from lightning. Shelters that do not contain
plumbing or wiring throughout or some other mechanism for grounding
are not safe. Carports... patio covers... and wooden... vinyl... or
metal sheds provide no protection from lightning and should be
avoided during thunderstorms.

Once lightning enters a building... it can travel through electrical
lines... phone lines... plumbing... and radio and TV reception systems.
Phone use is the leading cause of indoor lightning injuries in the
United States. In addition... lightning can travel long distances
in both phone and electrical wires... particularly in rural areas.

To protect yourself and your family... stay away from windows and
outside doors as these can provide a path for a direct strike to
enter a building. Do not lie on the Concrete floor of a garage as
it is likely to contain a wire mesh that can conduct electricity.
Avoid contact with plumbing. This includes washing your hands...
taking a shower or Bath... washing dishes... or doing laundry.

In addition to a direct strike... lightning generates electrical
surges that can damage electronic equipment some distance from the
actual strike. To the extent possible... unplug any appliances or
electrical equipment well before the thunderstorm threatens.
If you plan to be away from your home when thunderstorms are
possible... be sure to unplug unneeded equipment before you leave.
Member Since: 3 juillet 2005 Posts: 420 Comments: 127536
229. saintsfan06
1:31 PM GMT on June 26, 2008
Where is the blob in the GOM going???
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
228. BajaALemt
1:12 PM GMT on June 26, 2008
Morning folks...Lurking, perusing forecast soundings, maps, sats...lol.

NE!! ROFL ...I had to google that and I am laughing, shaking my head.

""Logic suggests the conditions exacerbated by climate change would increase the pool of potential recruits for terrorism," said Tom Fingar, deputy director of national intelligence for analysis." No WONDER the intelligence (I use the term loosely) got it (Iraq) wrong. Good lord *shakes head*
Member Since: 25 septembre 2007 Posts: 53 Comments: 8533
227. TheWeatherMan504
1:13 PM GMT on June 26, 2008
atlanta is in a drought because it gets alot of its rain from tropical systems that make landfall in florida,alabama,and louisiana.And we havent had any in 2 years.
Member Since: 18 mai 2008 Posts: 2 Comments: 1042
226. OUSHAWN
1:12 PM GMT on June 26, 2008
Does anyone know when the ULL in the GOM is suppose to move out? Until that happens there will be very little chance of anything happening out there.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
225. txalwaysprepared
1:13 PM GMT on June 26, 2008
I would gladly take some heavy rain around here!!

But it looks as if there is NO chance it's comnig to Texas :(
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
224. NEwxguy
1:11 PM GMT on June 26, 2008
other than the gulf the carribean and atlantic look really quiet,which is to be expected this time of year
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
223. TheWeatherMan504
1:06 PM GMT on June 26, 2008
wether or not the gom blob develops someone is going to get slamed by heavy rain.
Member Since: 18 mai 2008 Posts: 2 Comments: 1042
220. 69Viking
8:01 AM CDT on June 26, 2008
Good morning everyone! Just popped in to see what's going on. Seems the GOM Blob is trying but has little support so hopefully just a rain event. Still bone dry here in the FL Panhandle. Rain chances have lowered to 60% today and tomorrow, so far we've gotten the other 40%. Ok, have to run to an offsite location for work, back around lunchtime to check on the GOM Blob.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
219. NEwxguy
1:01 PM GMT on June 26, 2008
If any of you get the Tampa Tribune you should read the most ridiculous article that has ever been posted in the paper. "How global warming may lead to higher illegal immigration rates"

You'll laugh I promise

I'm already laughing without even reading it.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
218. FLWeatherFreak91
9:00 AM EDT on June 26, 2008
#217

You're right... It's highly unlikely that anything will form there today
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
217. Littleninjagrl
8:57 AM EDT on June 26, 2008
So, If i'm looking at post 197. correctly, Nothing will form becuase pressure is rising all around florida with the exception of that one spot where presure is falling....right?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
216. 69Viking
7:52 AM CDT on June 26, 2008
185. jphurricane2006

Make sure you get one that you can designate which county you live in. Check the features for the Standbye option.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
214. TheWeatherMan504
12:51 PM GMT on June 26, 2008

211. Littleninjagrl 12:51 PM GMT on June 26, 2008
Thanks to everyone else for the answers as well. You all are great.


your welcome.
Member Since: 18 mai 2008 Posts: 2 Comments: 1042

Viewing: 264 - 214

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23 | 24 | 25Blog Index

Top of Page

About

Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.

Local Weather

Overcast
67 ° F
Couvert