Arizona's fire danger to increase Saturday; Adrian hits Category 4

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 3:06 PM GMT on June 10, 2011

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The powerful winds that have fanned Arizona's massive Wallow fire into the state's second largest fire on record will remain relatively modest on Friday, and the forecast for Eastern Arizona calls for afternoon winds of just 10 - 15 mph. On Thursday, Luna, New Mexico, located about 50 miles northeast of the fire, had sustained winds that peaked at just 12 mph, with gusts to 22. These are the lightest afternoon winds the fire region has seen all week, though firefighting efforts were hindered by very low relative humidities that reached 5% on Thursday. Firefighters were able to make progress Thursday, and the Wallow fire is now 5% contained. Unfortunately, NOAA's Storm Prediction Center forecasts that critical fire conditions will return on Saturday and Sunday, with strong southwest winds of 15 - 20 mph, gusting to 35 mph. The return of critical fire conditions this weekend means that the Wallow fire will likely become Arizona's largest wildfire in history, a distinction currently held by the 2002 Rodeo-Chediski fire (732 square miles.) The Wallow fire has grown steadily from 300 square miles on Sunday to 603 square miles on Thursday--about 50% of the size of Rhode Island.


Figure 1. Smoke from Arizona fires, including the Wallow Fire, continued traveling toward the northeast on June 8, 2011. As the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on the Terra satellite acquired this natural-color image at 12:10 Central Daylight Time, thick smoke stretched from New Mexico and Texas northeastward to Illinois. Image credit: NASA Earth Observatory.

94L bringing heavy rains to the Bahamas
The large, disorganized tropical disturbance (94L) that brought heavy rains to Jamaica, Cuba, and Haiti early this week reorganized slightly overnight, and is now bringing heavy rains to the Bahama Islands. The storm killed at least 23 people in Haiti earlier this week, due to torrential flooding rains. Satellite-estimated rainfall amounts indicate 8 -10 inches of rain fell over Haiti's southwestern peninsula this week. None of the reliable computer models is showing development of 94L into a tropical depression, and NHC is giving the disturbance a 10% chance of developing by Sunday. Wind shear is a high 20 - 30 knots in the region between Cuba and South Carolina, making development unlikely. Elsewhere in the Atlantic, none of the reliable computer models is predicting tropical cyclone development over the next seven days.


Figure 2. Morning satellite image of Hurricane Adrian taken at 10:15am EDT June 10, 2011.

Annular Adrian becomes the first major hurricane of the Eastern Pacific hurricane season
Hurricane Adrian put on an impressive bout of rapid intensification Thursday, intensifying into the season's first major hurricane in the Eastern Pacific. Adrian is the globe's 6th Category 4 or stronger tropical cyclone of the year. Adrian is expected to remain far enough offshore the coast of Mexico to not pose a threat to that country. Gradual weakening is likely through the weekend, since Adrian will be tracking over cooler ocean waters. Adrian's decay will be slower than usual for a hurricane, since it has become what is called an annular hurricane. Annular hurricanes feature a large eye surrounded by a very thick eyewall, with no spiral rain bands. The very thick eyewall makes annular hurricanes resistant to weakening due to wind shear, dry air, or cool waters. Annular hurricanes are rare; only 3% of all Eastern Pacific tropical cyclones become annular, and 1% of all Atlantic ones.

A record 100-year flood on the Missouri River
The greatest flood in recorded history is occurring along sections of the Missouri River, which runs from Montana to St. Louis, Missouri. On Thursday, the river hit 28.0' feet at Williston, North Dakota, surpassing the record flood height set in 1912. The river is expected to continue to rise to 1.4' above the 1912 mark by Tuesday. This week, the Missouri River at Omaha, Nebraska surpassed the level set during the great 1993 flood, and the river's height is currently the 2nd greatest on record, 9' below the mark set in 1952. Water releases at the six flood control dams on the Missouri River are now at more than double their previous all-time highs; these dams were built between 1940 and 1964. This great 100-year flood on the Missouri River is just beginning, and is likely to cause major damage over the next few weeks.

Have a great weekend everyone, and I'll be back Monday with a new post.

Jeff Masters

Volunteers (dhennem)
Filling sandbags at the Hamburg, IA elementery school.
Volunteers
Albuquerque Smoke-Free for Now (olzab2)
Arizona's Wallow fire blankets Albuquerque in smoke for days, but we got a real "breather" at last on 6/8/11
Albuquerque Smoke-Free for Now
Sun Setting on Heavy Smoke (gilg72)
814 PM. Sun slipped down lower than the heavy clouds, but very heavy smoke. Almost didn't see it. Smoke comes from an over 100,000 acre fire in SW Az.
Sun Setting on Heavy Smoke

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Looks like the blob off Panama & Costa Rica earlier drifted WNW into Nicaragua & Honduras and now might might emerge off the Nicaragua/Honduras border with a possibility of moving ENE, hopefully so, we need more rain , its sizzling here!Link
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1578. Patrap
May be the one that came out of the south into the City proper was it.

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1577. bappit
Quoting Patrap:
Outflow boundary smorgasbord..


Cool. Is that seabreeze in there?
Member Since: May 18, 2006 Posts: 10 Comments: 5558
1576. bappit
gobbledigook
Member Since: May 18, 2006 Posts: 10 Comments: 5558
1575. Patrap
Outflow boundary smorgasbord..

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1574. Grothar
Quoting plywoodstatenative:


Broward is getting some good rain. Gro you have what looks like a Meso coming into your neck of the woods.



Wish you were right. See that big dry spot on the coast in North Broward. That's us. Not a drop. Are you getting anything?


Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 63 Comments: 23705
1572. Patrap
..the sound of 4 thousands fleas dying in the yard was moving.

I claim victory.
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Quoting Grothar:


Who do you think I am "Grasshopper? I know it is showing rainon the maps. But we haven't seen a drop here.


Maybe there was a drop in your backyard or something.

Just messin' with you Grothar :P
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Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Grothar:


Rain, where? It is cloudy, but not a drop here.


Broward is getting some good rain. Gro you have what looks like a Meso coming into your neck of the woods.
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My bad, double post.
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1567. Grothar
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:


Not even one? How do you know? Maybe it fell somewhere you couldn't see it.


Who do you think I am "Grasshopper? I know it is showing rainon the maps. But we haven't seen a drop here.
Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 63 Comments: 23705
1566. Grothar
Quoting Neapolitan:

Why are you asking him? I would think you'd remember... ;-)


Was that a shot? LOL
Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 63 Comments: 23705
1565. Levi32
Quoting alfabob:

There was cool air aloft to the N/NE, and this plume came in from the W/SW and basically pushed into it. But right before around mid-night on the 9th, the velocity of the plume seems to speed up and whips across the region where this occurred. I thought the tropopause was related to the maximum parcel level boundary where the convective equilibrium point is (of course over-shooting tops or something forced via kinetic energy can cross the boundary).

But basically what I'm saying is that there was the heat "plume" coming in from the west, which encountered the region with thunderstorms (cold air aloft), and was forced downwards. The dissipating thunderstorms were due to the dissipation of cooler air (and did not directly create the heat). So I guess it would depend on what is considered a heat burst based on the actual mechanisms involved.


Why would the warm plume suddenly sink upon encountering the cooler air? The plume is less dense than the environment. The boundary between the plume and the cooler region would be almost similar to a front, where the different air masses push each other around in the absence of a good mixing process.

Also, I still don't think the warm air moving overhead in the lower stratosphere would dissipate the thunderstorms. You're implying that the thunderstorms were being maintained by the temperature difference between the surface and the tropopause boundary, but it's the temperature down in the mid-troposphere that matters more in that department. A warming right at the tropopause would not collapse convection, especially when the storm over Kansas did not have cloud tops even close to that high up.
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Quoting Grothar:


Rain, where? It is cloudy, but not a drop here.


Not even one? How do you know? Maybe it fell somewhere you couldn't see it.
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Well since the "heat burst" conversation is over my head now, I decided to find some more information on the phenomena.
Here is interesting satellite imagery from an Amarillo TX heat wave.
Link
According to an AccuWeather article, Chris Burt wrote about several heat bursts events in his book, which includes a report of 188 degrees in Iran that liquified Asphalt.
Link
Another even more informative study from NWS Aberdeen, SD of a possible heat burst. I will post parts of this one.
Link

"HB events are often associated with atmospheric profiles characterized by nearly dry adiabatic profiles above a low level stable layer. This dry adiabatic profile allows the downward moving air that is initially cooler aloft to begin to accelerate downward and warm adiabatically. If the acceleration is strong enough aloft, the air may become positively buoyant before it reaches the surface, but it's momentum will allow it to penetrate the shallow stable layer, and arrive at the surface warm. This illistrates an important point about atmospheric stability that we discussed in our review of QG theory last fall - in an unstable atmosphere, small changes in density can result in large vertical responses. In the case of the HB, our response is downward, not up as in the synoptic cases we discussed."
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Quoting druseljic:
PcolaDan, you getting anything? Just getting teased here by car city!


Maybe 1/4 inch. There's still hope though.

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1561. Grothar
Quoting plywoodstatenative:
Finally rain in South Florida, something we can cool down with and hopefully put out that mess in the Everglades


Rain, where? It is cloudy, but not a drop here.
Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 63 Comments: 23705
PcolaDan, you getting anything? Just getting teased here by car city!
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Finally rain in South Florida, something we can cool down with and hopefully put out that mess in the Everglades
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Quoting Grothar:


They had moss in the Red Sea??? (Gotcha Shen)
True, now I cant fix it but then again I would never have caught it.
Member Since: September 9, 2007 Posts: 36 Comments: 4687
Quoting sammywammybamy:


Hmmm... how much shear is over it?


40 - 60 knots
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1555. Levi32
Quoting DEKRE:


That's what I thought, but there is no way to be sure - especially in the USA.


Very true lol.
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1553. DEKRE
Quoting Levi32:


1 bar, generally. 1 atm = 1.01325 bars.


That's what I thought, but there is no way to be sure - especially in the USA.
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1552. Levi32
Quoting DEKRE:


It is the temperature the air would reach if brought to normal pressure (1 bar or 1 atm ? - not quite sure, would have to look it up) by isentropic compression


1 bar, generally. 1 atm = 1.01325 bars.
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Quoting moonlightcowboy:
Someone flush a boat toilet out at 23n,57w? ;)


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1550. DEKRE
Quoting alfabob:
The tropopause images I have use the potential temperature which is different than the actual, but it states 386K and 273.13K is 0C.


It is the temperature the air would reach if brought to normal pressure (1 bar or 1 atm ? - not quite sure, would have to look it up) by isentropic compression
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1549. Levi32
Quoting Grothar:


Levi, I don't know if you got saw this link I posted earlier. Thought you might be interested in it. Some good stuff.


Link


Awesome! Thanks.

Quoting Tropicsweatherpr:
Levi, you may want to see this link of the Sahel rainfall from 1900 to 2010,very interesting I may say.

Link


I have that one bookmarked. I've often pondered what causes the very clear multidecadal cycle in Sahel rainfall. It's an intriguing subject of research.
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1548. Levi32
Quoting alfabob:

I agree that compression had to do with heating (as it must happen when increasing pressure), but obviously there was a large amount of heat to begin with which didn't form from a collapsing thunderstorm. The upper-level heat collapsed the thunderstorms and was forced to the surface due to cool air aloft, which would automatically force pressure to increase. So its really a matter of perspective, the difference is only the potential energy; which is derived from kinetic energy. If that kinetic energy wasn't there in the first place way up in the atmosphere, this wouldn't have happened.

So either that study posted a while ago is trying to hide the fact that this was caused by a large plume of upper-level heat or they didn't look very hard into possible coincidental similarities.


I'm still not understanding, because now you're saying that there is heat aloft, but then also cool air at the same time? Furthermore, the heat aloft that you are citing would only act to cap the convection at a defined height, not collapse it. Thunderstorms are capped by the stratosphere anyway. And finally, do you know for sure whether these conditions are unique? How do you know heat bursts don't usually have warmth above them in the lower stratosphere?
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Quoting Grothar:


They had moss in the Red Sea???

Why are you asking him? I would think you'd remember... ;-)
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Levi, you may want to see this link of the Sahel rainfall from 1900 to 2010,very interesting I may say.

Link
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1543. Grothar
Quoting Levi32:


100F air near the tropopause?


Levi, I don't know if you got saw this link I posted earlier. Thought you might be interested in it. Some good stuff.


Link
Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 63 Comments: 23705
1542. Grothar
Quoting ShenValleyFlyFish:
Mosses needs to cross it again.


They had moss in the Red Sea??? (Gotcha Shen)
Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 63 Comments: 23705
1541. Grothar
Quoting IceCoast:

Haha oh boy! Somehow I've never seen this skit before until last night as I'm a young guy, but it's pure comic genius.
Link


:) Really funny!
Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 63 Comments: 23705
1540. Levi32
Quoting alfabob:

Well I think the heat came from the pacific ocean and that area just happened to be the place where it was forced down to the surface due to cooler air to the NE. I'm sure that the downwards motion also produced some additional heating, but was not the source for the majority of it.


The tropopause images I have use the potential temperature which is different than the actual, but it states 386K and 273.13K is 0C. Pretty amazing plume of heat though; it seems that we go through these phases where the arctic goes into a more positive AO and these plumes begin to build up. Then they reach the polar region and begin to mix resulting in a warmer arctic, but at the same time the plumes disperse and the whole thing starts over again.


This is my point. Potential temperature is the temperature the air would be after adiabatic warming to the surface. In other words, compression. How can you say compression isn't what warmed the air?
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1539. emcf30
Quoting IceCoast:

Haha oh boy! Somehow I've never seen this skit before until last night as I'm a young guy, but it's pure comic genius.
Link


Thats a classic
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Quoting Grothar:


Twit!

Haha oh boy! Somehow I've never seen this skit before until last night as I'm a young guy, but it's pure comic genius.
Link
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Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:

what up in the red sea area
a lot of multi active shakers
Mosses needs to cross it again.
Member Since: September 9, 2007 Posts: 36 Comments: 4687
Skies look weird.....might be rain a-comin'.....
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Member Since: August 3, 2005 Posts: 10 Comments: 5458
Quoting CybrTeddy:
Great news for SFL, they really needed it.

Yes, but here in Naples, it was just another tease; here's a hastily thrown-together north-facing time lapse from the past hour:



Darn west wind...

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This is not weather related but interesting just the same.



Palfrey still swimming after near miss with shark
Posted on Sat, 06/11/2011 - 10:25 in Sports

(CNS): Update Sunday 3pm - International open water swimmer Penny Palfrey is still swimming, if a little more slowly after more than fifty miles and some 34 hours in the ocean. According to tweets from her team, Palfrey had a close encounter with a shark which was lured away by support crews and local fishermen. Palfry is now only a few hours away from completing the 68 miles world record marine journey from Little Cayman to Grand Cayman in the longest ever unassisted ocean swim. The British-Australian mother of three began her swim in Little Cayman in the early hours of Saturday morning and is hoping to reach Grand Cayman%u2019s East End by this (Sunday) evening.

The latest ETA for Palfrey to arrive at Morritts Tortuga is around 9pm.

Palfrey is being followed by a support team in Kayaks and boards to pull a shark shield -which only gives limited protection- as well as giving her food and water and to be ready for emergencies. They are also tweeting and giving live updates on the conditions and commentary on Palfrey%u2019s effort to break the world record.

Check back later today for updates on the rmarathon ocean swim.
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1532. emcf30
http://www.osdpd.noaa.gov/data/sst/anoma ly/2010/anomg.6.10.2010.gif
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Quoting Levi32:
30-day SST Anomaly forecast:



One word to describe that is Yikes!! To see the cooling and then the warming to the NW of the GOG, not a good combination for one who lives on hurricane alley.
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Quoting Grothar:


Twit!


Not nice.
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1529. Grothar
Quoting GeoffreyWPB:
Is Grothar back from his racket brawl? It''s in the 90's down there. I worry about him. You know how those seniors get when things don't go their way. You should of seen him after a bingo game didn't go his way.


Twit!
Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 63 Comments: 23705

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About JeffMasters

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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