California fires could reach record levels in 2008

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

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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
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964. 0741
3:29 AM GMT on June 27, 2008
962. BajaALemt 3:28 AM GMT on June 27, 2008
Link
which one show gfs all way to afica??? the one i saw is only near usa
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963. BajaALemt
3:28 AM GMT on June 27, 2008
LOL ..I think you wanted the link to the BIG picture and not the little one, huh? *laffs*
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962. BajaALemt
3:27 AM GMT on June 27, 2008
Link
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961. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
3:25 AM GMT on June 27, 2008
later kman
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960. 0741
3:18 AM GMT on June 27, 2008
anyone have link to long range gfs? i seen the one that go untill july 8
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959. BajaALemt
3:17 AM GMT on June 27, 2008
nite Kman
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958. kmanislander
3:13 AM GMT on June 27, 2008
Well let's hope this is a calmer gentler season !!. My landscaping is just looking good again LOL

I'm out for tonight folks. Gnite all
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957. BajaALemt
3:06 AM GMT on June 27, 2008
We got a little taste of the upper right quad for Ivan in PCB. Looked out my front door and the sky was the sickliest color I've ever seen...then it got big, and black. I thought...WTH? When things started cracking and exploding I KNEW what it was and ran for my downstairs bathroom. The 'nader was alot worse than Ivan was (here).
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956. Patrap
10:05 PM CDT on June 26, 2008
I could see Ivans towers and curve from Nola here as she impacted to the East..was close.
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955. Patrap
9:59 PM CDT on June 26, 2008
Nothing like a right front Quad Kman

Nothing , like a eyewall to bring the Ol Adrenaline up to peak.

Elena in 85 was my Hairiest though.
Went thru her in Long Beach,Gulfport,Miss.

She dropped an EF-2 Twister that hopped over us,and slammed into the Public Shelter during the front side..High School Gym took the hit though,No injuries Luckily,but the Seabees went in during the EYE and got them folks out in Amtracks and to the Seabee Base right there on Pass Road.
sandcrab remembers that one.

We stayed at our Apt luckily.
Bumpy Backside..real Bumpy..
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954. BajaALemt
2:59 AM GMT on June 27, 2008
Man!! I'll bet they ARE! lol!! Maybe they just got up to pee? *laffs*
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953. kmanislander
2:54 AM GMT on June 27, 2008
Even in Ivan back in 04 Pat when we had no power and the island was underwater we followed how the wind was swinging in order to determine whether we were likely to get the eye or whether it had passed to the South.

As events transpired, the eye was only 20 miles South and we spent many hours within the NE eyewall when sustained winds were 150 MPH,something you only want to experience once in a life time !
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952. Patrap
9:55 PM CDT on June 26, 2008
LOL..they must be Lurking Baja..
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951. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
2:51 AM GMT on June 27, 2008
its like seeing rats leave a ship before departing the port listen to the rats dont go on ship its never going to make it the rats already know this thats why there leaving
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950. BajaALemt
2:49 AM GMT on June 27, 2008
Aaaaaaaah ok. They're back up.

*6/27/2008 0210 UTC:
*

The NSOF SATEPSPROD Servers SATEPSPROD 1, 2, 3 and 4 and the NSOF
SATEPSDIST Servers SATPESDIST 1-7 are receiving, processing and
distributing products. All systems appear to operating normally at
this time.

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949. Patrap
9:50 PM CDT on June 26, 2008
Thats a true as can be post Kman.

One had to rely on the ol wits and wind and skies back then.

During K in 05,after I lost TV at 0515,I had to go on the winds for the Storms movement ..

I knew where she was when I lost data when the Eyewall hit, but my winds were east ene then..then went to N then nw then w then finally sw by 2:30 Pm so I knew the eye tracked east of me .
But that kept us in the eyewall for 7-8 LONG hours.
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948. kmanislander
2:49 AM GMT on June 27, 2008
True. Nature's creatures can sense natural disasters. In fact the old timers of Cayman Brac speak of the crabs that came ashore before the hurricane by the thousands, climbing into the homes and so on. Eerie.

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947. BajaALemt
2:47 AM GMT on June 27, 2008
Aaaaaaaah ok Pat. I saw the east/west sats on the list but wasnt sure what all that was in what you just posted (the list of products affected followed what you posted and Im currently googling those to figure out what they all are *laffs*)
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946. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
2:44 AM GMT on June 27, 2008
something new it was coming but the old timers failed to pick up on the warning
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945. kmanislander
2:42 AM GMT on June 27, 2008
Many places had their equivalent of Audrey. In the Caymans we had the 1932 hurricane that brought 40 foot tidal waves ashore in Cayman Brac. Over 100 men women and small children lost their lives on that island, primarily from drowning due to storm surge and wave action coming ashore. My Mom remembers seeing bodies in trees.

Not something one wants to dwell on but a grim reminder of how treacherous it was in the early days without satellite and all the other early warning safeguards we have today.

Back then you only knew a hurricane was coming from the darkening sky and the plummeting barometer
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944. Patrap
9:44 PM CDT on June 26, 2008
Thanx for that info Baja!

..shared server stuff .


*
Details of the Outage:
*

*
*A reset of NSOF SATEPSPROD Servers SATEPSPROD 1, 2, 3 and 4 will be
performed at 1530 UTC/ 1130L

*Data Affected by the Outage:
*
All products running on SATEPSPROD 1, 2, 3 and 4 ( * see attached
product list)

*Date and Time of the Outage:
*
Thursday, 26 June 2008 at 1530 UTC/ 1130 Local

*Length of the Outage: *

Until Further Notice

*Contact Point for Questions: *

ESPC Operations OCL (Operations Crew Leader), 301-817-3880
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943. Patrap
9:38 PM CDT on June 26, 2008
Yes,,glad to hear that. I can remember folks still to this day talking in hushed words about the Night Audrey came,,Thats was my Mothers name ,she and Dad passed in 03
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942. Patrap
9:38 PM CDT on June 26, 2008
Hurricane Audrey 50th Anniversary
Memorial Service in Cameron, LA (6/27/07) NOAA Link
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941. sporteguy03
2:35 AM GMT on June 27, 2008
They fared well my relatives and survived, they passed on a few years back but they loved to tell stories of how back then there was no Jim Cantore or 24 hour News stations now you get a play by play.
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940. Patrap
9:32 PM CDT on June 26, 2008
Its was a scenario Not too Unlike Humberto in September last year..But a Much stronger Hurricane than that was at Landfall..by a Large margin.
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939. Patrap
9:31 PM CDT on June 26, 2008
Dr. Masters entry on the 50th Anniversary of Audrey a year ago Link

Lots of us did sg03,..hope they fared well.

In '57 she began with a roar
No one knew she was comin' ashore
Most people were asleep in bed
Not knowing they should have fled.

After the fury of the storm's huge eye
Families cried for members who did die
Lady Audrey would long be remembered
As the fateful day that Cameron surrendered
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938. sporteguy03
2:30 AM GMT on June 27, 2008
Thanks Patrap my math was a bit off, I had relatives who went through it.
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937. sporteguy03
2:29 AM GMT on June 27, 2008
yeah Kman it was sad because many thought it would hit later in the day but it hit earlier.
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936. Patrap
9:28 PM CDT on June 26, 2008
Well Im 48 and Audrey was in 1957, so thats 51 years ago I believe as My Parents told the story.Link
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935. kmanislander
2:28 AM GMT on June 27, 2008
932. sporteguy03 2:27 AM GMT on June 27, 2008
Hurricane Audrey came ashore 41 years ago in Cameron, LA

It's the exception that makes the rule
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934. BajaALemt
2:15 AM GMT on June 27, 2008
See Goes 11/12 Maybe this is why the images arent updated?

Link
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933. Patrap
9:27 PM CDT on June 26, 2008
The Shear Tilt and Value,simplified Link
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932. sporteguy03
2:26 AM GMT on June 27, 2008
Hurricane Audrey came ashore 41 years ago in Cameron, LA
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931. Patrap
9:25 PM CDT on June 26, 2008
Pacific Walker Circulation Link
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930. kmanislander
2:25 AM GMT on June 27, 2008
So long Chicklit

Have a good evening
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929. Patrap
9:24 PM CDT on June 26, 2008
Shear and temps Link
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928. Chicklit
9:23 PM EST on June 26, 2008
I'm off.
Thanks for keeping an eye on the skies!
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927. Chicklit
9:19 PM EST on June 26, 2008
I was just thinking that usually we see a lot more dust this time of year. Last image I saw it wasn't there. That means waters are heating up which may explain the strength of current waves. But K-Man is right--cape verde stuff usually happens later in the season. Wouldn't it be nice if we all got just a bunch of roving rain showers broken up by shear and westerlies?
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926. kmanislander
2:21 AM GMT on June 27, 2008
Currently 20 to 80 knots of shear between 11 and 20 N from Westerlies across the basin

Link
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925. kmanislander
2:18 AM GMT on June 27, 2008
History and climatology. The frequency of early season CV storms shows that the odds are against it happening next week for a variety of reasons, like shear strength in early July from the Westerlies that are still pretty far South
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924. Drakoen
2:16 AM GMT on June 27, 2008
922. kmanislander 2:15 AM GMT on June 27, 2008
The Cape Verde situation is interesting from the perspective of the strength of the waves exiting the W Coast of Africa. However, this is not the first year we have seen strong early season waves, and it will not be the first season that time and time again they will not develop.

A strong wave is but the seed. You need all the other ingredients for something to develop and climatology says that the middle of July on is when those other ingredients start to fall into place. Does not mean that something cannot spin up next week, just that the odds are very much against it, regardless of what the GFS says


How are the odds against it?
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923. kmanislander
2:16 AM GMT on June 27, 2008
920. Skyepony

Server problems
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922. kmanislander
2:10 AM GMT on June 27, 2008
The Cape Verde situation is interesting from the perspective of the strength of the waves exiting the W Coast of Africa. However, this is not the first year we have seen strong early season waves, and it will not be the first season that time and time again they will not develop.

A strong wave is but the seed. You need all the other ingredients for something to develop and climatology says that the middle of July on is when those other ingredients start to fall into place. Does not mean that something cannot spin up next week, just that the odds are very much against it, regardless of what the GFS says

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921. surfmom
2:10 AM GMT on June 27, 2008
i'm off=== Early AM tomorrow, want to sneak an early paddle in b/4 work at the barn. Nice when kids don't have school, I get to play on the blog and get daybreak at the beach.
Member Since: 18 juillet 2007 Posts: 30 Comments: 26536
920. Skyepony (Mod)
2:08 AM GMT on June 27, 2008
Only had a moment..What's up with the satalites views. SSD NOAA, Goes 12 WV, Nexsat nothing is updated.
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918. Chicklit
9:02 PM EST on June 26, 2008
Dr. Masters doesn't see anything happening in the next seven days. The Cape Verde situation is interesting, don't you think? Looks like low dust this year.
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917. surfmom
1:53 AM GMT on June 27, 2008
Press --Poor dear wife (my mate would sympathize too....but it surely beats other habits. My guys tease me all the time until...they need to know for one of their activities.

This past spring when we had all the crazy wind, we rearranged the line-up of the horses and changed some team strategy. With all the wind, the players could not yell out moves or plays to each other, especially on galloping horses. They knew it was going to be hurricane windy b/4 the game because I told them I saw it coming ( or you guys did ) they worked on their communication prior to the game --where as the other team wasn't prepared and relied on just their voices. We also picked the heavier, stronger over quickest horses that day as they have an advantage over the smaller quicker ones in high wind. My son's team prior prep. gave them an advantage and they won...after that they stopped teasing me....
Member Since: 18 juillet 2007 Posts: 30 Comments: 26536
916. Drakoen
2:02 AM GMT on June 27, 2008
Here's the latest NCEP ensembles from 18z.
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915. weatherblog
2:00 AM GMT on June 27, 2008
Kind of a stupid thought, but maybe the TCHP maps haven't been updated?
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914. Drakoen
1:58 AM GMT on June 27, 2008
Those winds should slacken as a longwave trough moves of the eastern seaboard pushing back the subtropical high. I don't think the increase in the trade winds is a long-term trend.
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Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.

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