Drought continues; Yellowstone fires could become more frequent; 90L set to develop

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 3:58 PM GMT on July 27, 2011

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Southern Drought Continues

Temperatures continue to soar into triple digits in the Southern Plains this week, and are expected to remain well above average for at least the next month. High air temperatures and low humidity (because of the low soil moisture) will continue to maintain drought conditions in the South unless we see some Gulf-landfalling tropical cyclones—a good remedy for a such an extreme drought.

This year's drought in the South is unprecedented by many definitions. Last year at this time, 0% of the contiguous U.S. was in exceptional drought. Last week, the exceptional drought region covered 11.96%. The area of contiguous U.S. in exceptional drought conditions has never been this high since the Drought Monitor record started in 2000. The highest it had been before June of this year was 7.85% in August of 2002.


Figure 1. Temperature anomaly (difference from average) in degrees Celsius for the period July 1 through July 25 (top) and soil moisture anomaly in millimeters (bottom) on July 25 (from the Climate Prediction Center).

In late June, the U.S. Department of Agriculture designated 213 counties in Texas (84% of the state) as primary natural disaster areas. As I mentioned yesterday, the Texas drought and wildfires are one of the nine billion-dollar disasters of 2011 so far. The National Climatic Data Center estimated that this event had cost up to $3 billion as of June 16. This number is surely rising every day that the South doesn't see rain.

New study concludes Yellowstone wildfires could become more frequent

In a study published this week by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers have concluded that global warming could have a serious impact on the severity and frequency of wildfires in the Yellowstone region (an area where the states of Montana, Idaho, and Wyoming come together). Historically in this region, fewer than 5% of wildfire occurrences account for 95% of the total area burned. But in a global warming scenario, they found that fire activity could become more severe and more frequent, causing the ecosystem to change dramatically.

Using climate conditions and historical fire data from 1972 to 1999, it was possible to link certain environmental thresholds (temperature, humidity, etc) to past wildfire events. Then by employing the output of various climate models, fire frequency can be forecast well into the future. Figure 2 illustrates the result from one of the climate models they used in the study, and the upward trend of fire activity over the next 100 years. In 1988, a particularly hot and dry year, 36% of the park burned. The study uses this year as a baseline to compare future events.


Figure 2. Figure 2B from the manuscript. Observed burn area (blue line) median of predicted area burned (black dotted line), and ranges (light and dark orange) aggregated over the Yellowstone area defined by the study by Westerling et al. (Source).

What was once a low-probability event could become a high-probability event by mid-century. Fires that have only happened every 100 to 300 years in the past could now be occurring every 30 years in the future. The results of this research has implications for sub-alpine forests across the globe. Warming temperatures and decreasing humidity will lead to more wildfires, and will cost billions of dollars to fight them, if we choose to do so.

Invest 90L

90L has moved west overnight and looks ripe to develop today. While the upper level circulation (500 mb) is very much displaced, the lower level circulation looks strong and coherent through the system's mid-levels (850 and 700 mb). Thunderstorm activity continues to organize, and it appears that a surface circulation is developing. Moisture remains high in the system (around 4.5 g/kg specific humidity) and wind shear should be somewhat favorable as it crosses through the Gulf of Mexico. In terms of track, the statistical models have generally been favoring a Brownsville landfall scenario, but the dynamical models have been inching north over the past day or so. The HWRF is in line with the ECMWF deterministic today, with landfall near Corpus Christi.



The Hurricane Hunters have a mission scheduled for 18Z today (2pm EDT) to investigate whether or not 90L has a closed surface circulation. If it does, given the amount of organized convection and moderate wind speeds (around 34 mph in the latest invest update), the Hurricane Center will probably call this system at least Tropical Depression Four.

If 90L develops this afternoon, I will have another update to look at track and intensity forecasts.

Angela

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3 out of 4 Atlantic storms have gone straight to TS status this year.
Member Since: June 29, 2009 Posts: 13 Comments: 5315
Hurry someone call the governors of Gulf states to evacuate.a td is in the gulf.
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1674. Gorty
Quoting Tazmanian:



yes


Does look like a TS. Look at that center! Watch out when that thing gets away from land!

http://www.weather.com/maps/news/julynonactive/gu lfofmexicosatellite_large.html
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1673. 7544
Quoting tatoprweather:
Ok, so we have TD4/TS Don.

I see everybody is waiting for a 5:00 pm advisory.

Meanwhile.....the system SW of the CV islands is huuuuuuuuuuge. Maybe dry air kills it but, it is huuuuuuuuuuuge.


looks ;like a small spin going on not in full view yet
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Quoting AtHomeInTX:


Orange County here. But hubs works in Groves so i kinda count? Lol. Still watching this one. :)
I'm actually going to Nerdland tomorrow...
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Quoting cg2916:


29 knots, 33 mph. But it is still preliminary.
oh ok I thought you were reading line F.099 degree 33 kts
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It's windy and rainy. Must be from the wave approaching PR.
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Anyone else notice this

Last FTP fix
AL, 90, 2011072718, , BEST, 0, 223N, 873W


PRELIMINARY RECON = 22.1333N 86.8167W
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Quoting JoltyJacob:
Alright, in other news, so, Progressive, what are your thoughts on the 2pm ECMWF? ^_^.




hello JFV and POOF you go
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LOL...

I Though it gets Crowded when Florida is threatened by a Storm....

Well im sure the Blogger's from Texas take the Cake...

The WU Server is Crashing due to the Influx of Traffic from Texas.
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1666. angiest
Quoting TXHolly:


I remember that one, too. Can you believe my husband and I still tried to get to work that morning....didn't get very far before we found lots of road flooding.


Somehow, I do not remember Humberto at all. It must not have even given us rain in Katy.
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Quoting washingtonian115:
According to Taz post we have Don?



yes
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33 kt = 38mph....Don maybe in 15min
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Quoting cg2916:


Oh, I was looking at a different place in the report.
No, you're right, I just changed my post, lol. It was 29kts.
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1661. fmbill
Navy site has it as TS Don

Link
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1660. Titoxd
Quoting Tazmanian:




Link



down be low last line

Interesting... RBT has it only as a TD
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navy site has 04L.DON
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According to Taz post we have Don?
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1657. TXHolly
Quoting txbullseye:
I am remembering Humberto in 2007...we went to bed expecting a small Tropical Storm and woke up at 3:00 in the morning to a Cat 1 Hurricane slamming my neighbors siding into my bedroom wall. I have learned to stay prepared here in Southeast Texas just in case...for the safety of my family.


I remember that one, too. Can you believe my husband and I still tried to get to work that morning....didn't get very far before we found lots of road flooding.
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I leave, and we get Tropical Storm Don. Considering the pressure is already at 1001MB, this will make a serious run at hurricane status.
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32807
1655. Patrap
18z Early Cycle NHC model tracks
Invest90
Statistical/Simple Models (CLIPER,BAMs,LBAR,other Statistical Models)


Dynamic Models (More sophisticated models)







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1654. cg2916
Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
Not the final vortex, that one's preliminary. (Think of it as an interlude to the official vortex, if you will).

Plus, it was 33kts not 33mph.


Oh, I was looking at a different place in the report.
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Quoting angiest:
Is this no longer a valid ftp site for ATCF? ftp://ftp.tpc.ncep.noaa.gov/atcf/stext/



i go to this site evere day and its the right info
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1652. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
159

URNT12 KNHC 272032

VORTEX DATA MESSAGE AL902011

A. 27/20:01:40Z

B. 22 deg 08 min N

086 deg 49 min W

C. NA

D. 29 kt

E. 336 deg 26 nm

F. 101 deg 34 kt

G. 329 deg 25 nm

H. EXTRAP 1001 mb

I. 22 C / 313 m

J. 26 C / 348 m

K. 16 C / NA

L. NA

M. NA

N. 12345 / 01

O. 0.02 / 3 nm

P. AF300 01DDA INVEST OB 09

MAX FL WIND 34 KT NW QUAD 19:49:40Z

SLP EXTRAP FROM BELOW 1500 FT

;


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Quoting cg2916:


Only 33 mph.


33kt not 33mph
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Here's the finished vortex:

000
URNT12 KNHC 272032
VORTEX DATA MESSAGE AL902011
A. 27/20:01:40Z
B. 22 deg 08 min N
086 deg 49 min W
C. NA
D. 29 kt
E. 336 deg 26 nm
F. 101 deg 34 kt
G. 329 deg 25 nm
H. EXTRAP 1001 mb
I. 22 C / 313 m
J. 26 C / 348 m
K. 16 C / NA
L. NA
M. NA
N. 12345 / 01
O. 0.02 / 3 nm
P. AF300 01DDA INVEST OB 09
MAX FL WIND 34 KT NW QUAD 19:49:40Z
SLP EXTRAP FROM BELOW 1500 FT
;
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AL, 90, 2011072718, , BEST, 0, 223N, 873W


PRELIMINARY RECON = 22.1333N 86.8167W
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Quoting Hawkeyewx:
I wonder whose idea it was to turn off rapid scan on the NASA site :(


NHC, they only requested 10 hours
Link
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Quoting cg2916:


Only 33 mph.


33 kt
Member Since: May 27, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 4438
1646. cg2916
Quoting GTcooliebai:
that's knots


29 knots, 33 mph. But it is still preliminary.
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1645. angiest
Is this no longer a valid ftp site for ATCF? ftp://ftp.tpc.ncep.noaa.gov/atcf/stext/
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Quoting Titoxd:


link? ATCF running best track only has it as a TD...




Link



down be low last line
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Quoting RitaEvac:


Be careful, it may not be as pretty as you think


Where is this storm(90L) predicted to make landfall at this time?
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Be another VDM yet probably, that was just preliminary.
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Quoting cg2916:


Only 33 mph.
Not the final vortex, that one's preliminary. (Think of it as an interlude to the official vortex, if you will).
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Quoting cg2916:


Only 33 mph.
that's knots
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1639. angiest
Quoting cg2916:


Only 33 mph.


At the center. Plenty of TS winds elsewhere.
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Quoting Matt74:
Same here. good to see another mid county person on here.


Orange County here. But hubs works in Groves so i kinda count? Lol. Still watching this one. :)
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1637. OUSHAWN
Quoting txalwaysprepared:
wishfully wanting it (90L) to come to SETX. RAIN RAIN RAIN!!!


Hey there stranger!
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.
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1635. cg2916
Quoting Cotillion:
000
URNT12 KNHC 272027
VORTEX DATA MESSAGE AL902011
A. 27/20:01:40Z
B. 22 deg 08 min N
086 deg 49 min W
C. NA
D. 29 kt
E. 345 deg 28 nm
F. 099 deg 33 kt
G. 327 deg 25 nm
H. EXTRAP 1001 mb
I. 22 C / 313 m
J. 26 C / 348 m
K. 16 C / NA
L. NA
M. NA
N. 12345 / 1
O. 0.02 / 3 nm
P. AF300 01DDA INVEST OB 09
PRELIMINARY, DO NOT RETRANSMIT
MAX FL WIND 33 KT NW QUAD 19:49:40Z
SLP EXTRAP FROM BELOW 1500 FT


Only 33 mph.
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Quoting txalwaysprepared:
wishfully wanting it (90L) to come to SETX. RAIN RAIN RAIN!!!


Be careful, it may not be as pretty as you think
Member Since: July 14, 2008 Posts: 2 Comments: 9685
This Storm will be a blessing for Texas. The people along the coast need to go inland about 10 miles for a day and then come back to fix whatever is broken. Thats what Insurance is for. The rain is badly needed!
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Link
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Quoting Cotillion:
000
URNT12 KNHC 272027
VORTEX DATA MESSAGE AL902011
A. 27/20:01:40Z
B. 22 deg 08 min N
086 deg 49 min W
C. NA
D. 29 kt
E. 345 deg 28 nm
F. 099 deg 33 kt
G. 327 deg 25 nm
H. EXTRAP 1001 mb
I. 22 C / 313 m
J. 26 C / 348 m
K. 16 C / NA
L. NA
M. NA
N. 12345 / 1
O. 0.02 / 3 nm
P. AF300 01DDA INVEST OB 09
PRELIMINARY, DO NOT RETRANSMIT
MAX FL WIND 33 KT NW QUAD 19:49:40Z
SLP EXTRAP FROM BELOW 1500 FT


PRELIMINARY, DO NOT RETRANSMIT
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
000
URNT12 KNHC 272027
VORTEX DATA MESSAGE AL902011
A. 27/20:01:40Z
B. 22 deg 08 min N
086 deg 49 min W
C. NA
D. 29 kt
E. 345 deg 28 nm
F. 099 deg 33 kt
G. 327 deg 25 nm
H. EXTRAP 1001 mb
I. 22 C / 313 m
J. 26 C / 348 m
K. 16 C / NA
L. NA
M. NA
N. 12345 / 1
O. 0.02 / 3 nm
P. AF300 01DDA INVEST OB 09
PRELIMINARY, DO NOT RETRANSMIT---
MAX FL WIND 33 KT NW QUAD 19:49:40Z
SLP EXTRAP FROM BELOW 1500 FT

They did it again, though...
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still no vortex....
Member Since: May 27, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 4438
I wonder whose idea it was to turn off rapid scan on the NASA site :(
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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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