California fires could reach record levels in 2008

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 9:42 PM GMT on June 25, 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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564. Drakoen
9:29 PM GMT on June 26, 2008
Bertha made landfall as a category 2 hurricane over North Carolina . Amazing it was able to make it that far west. Excellent poleward outflow and equatorward outflow.
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563. TheWeatherMan504
9:28 PM GMT on June 26, 2008
glad you feeling better caneaddict.
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562. ajcamsmom2
4:26 PM CDT on June 26, 2008
542. surfmom 3:57 PM CDT on June 26, 2008
Thanks...trying to focus on something else...just yelled at my poor hubby for not planning a trip to the beach for the kids and me...go figure...Okay, I guess I will clean the house...that always gets rid of stress...check ya'll later
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561. CaneAddict
9:21 PM GMT on June 26, 2008
Good early evening all!

I am back to blogging again, as I am able to tolerate the little pain that remains...had three separate operations and boy was that a hassle. Anyway i see that beginning next week the tropics will likely become active with possible capeverde development. I will issue my thoughts on the situation in a blog update later this evening on my web site.
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560. Drakoen
9:23 PM GMT on June 26, 2008
558. stoormfury 9:20 PM GMT on June 26, 2008
DraK in 1996 BERTHA formed almost the same area where the GFS is now hinting another Bertha will form and coincidentally the same date. have you any idea that the prvailing conditios now is similiar to what exist then
/

I don't know what the conditions were in 1996. You can read this report made by the TPC NHC:Link
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558. stoormfury
9:12 PM GMT on June 26, 2008
DraK in 1996 BERTHA formed almost the same area where the GFS is now hinting another Bertha will form and coincidentally the same date. have you any idea that the prvailing conditios now is similiar to what exist then/
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557. 69Viking
4:12 PM CDT on June 26, 2008
551. stoormfury

Makes the Blob SE of the Yucatan look even more impressive. Nothing may develop out of all this but it sure is interesting to watch the instability in the GOM!
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556. pottery
5:16 PM AST on June 26, 2008
nice link, stoormfury. thanks.
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555. atmoaggie
9:15 PM GMT on June 26, 2008
Drak, do all of those start out at ~5 degrees N?

Addendum: Ah, I see...closer to 8N.
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554. Drakoen
9:14 PM GMT on June 26, 2008
The thinking of the GFS is NW then WNW with weak subtropical ridge steering. Here are the NCEP Ensemble which are made by putting in slightly different variations in the atmospheric conditions.
NCEP
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553. 69Viking
4:04 PM CDT on June 26, 2008
Brief shower at the house today finally!! Hopefully a sign of things to come!
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551. stoormfury
9:09 PM GMT on June 26, 2008
great view of the g/mex carib and atl


Link
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550. atmoaggie
9:01 PM GMT on June 26, 2008
This is for EP 94 invest. I am really beginning to question the usefulness of the digital dvorak. 80 knots...sure.



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549. Drakoen
9:02 PM GMT on June 26, 2008
546. JFV 8:59 PM GMT on June 26, 2008
Hey Drak, what are your expectations and anticipations concerning potential tropical development in the Eastern Atlantic next week?


Moderate chance for development. The reliable GFS and ECWMF models are showing tropical cyclone development in the eastern Atlantic next week. The reduction in vertical wind shear, rising of the ITCZ with a favorable subequatorial ridge in the CATL, increase in the potential vorticity values, high humidity, and mjo enhanced vertical rising could lead to the formation of a Cape Verde storm.
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548. pablolopez26
9:04 PM GMT on June 26, 2008
Guys, guys, guys, its a weather forum!!

Geez, some people just take things a little too seriously...

Im sure most of you all are adults and know how to ignore said comments...

Anyways, im glad i found this site and look forward to seeing what the tropics have to offer this year!
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547. surfmom
8:57 PM GMT on June 26, 2008
A favorite quote of mine from my competitive running days was "The will to win means nothing w/out the will to prepare" it also applies to hurricane prep. Iwatched my neighbors like ants with boiling water pour on them run around in panic mode ...EACH YEAR makes me laugh..I think when are they going to get it????? your running out for kitty litter now???? Wives & husbands are short w/each other and the kids & critters just get more upset. Patrap has a good information on his blog for being prepared. Helping friends out after FRances & Jeanne I was able to fine tune our set-up. I saw that people that thought ahead, had supplies they sailed through it with a much better attitude and much less stress. (even though it was hellish)
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545. Nolehead
8:55 PM GMT on June 26, 2008
well put fury!!
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543. txalwaysprepared
8:56 PM GMT on June 26, 2008
SHAWN - I'm in LC.. Friendswood side. Not a drop here :(
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542. surfmom
8:51 PM GMT on June 26, 2008
hug and a hold to you ajcasmom --those pics/blogs probably set off your adrenalin switch and your trauma button. Try not going back there...it happened it is over, you'll be OK, just looking at those pics can set your body memories off --you don't need to do that to yourself. Put off the "think" till it matters...just a few days before. Focusing on it now is way to soon, there's nothing you can humanly do --so save your worry till just before. Odds are you get in and out AOK
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541. captainhunter
8:50 PM GMT on June 26, 2008
521. surfmom

You're so right. The only thing worse than dealing with the gnawing anxiety of an approaching storm is standing in long lines at Home Depot, gas station and grocery store wondering if you've waited too long or if there will be anything left.
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539. stoormfury
8:48 PM GMT on June 26, 2008
this thing has really gotten far and out of hand. it has been going on since morning. the guy has been caught embarrassed and found wanting. i think the respected persons on this blog has had their say and it is time to ignore this blogger and move on. stop making somebody more important than he desrves. PLEASE LET US GET BACK TO WEATHER
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538. Drakoen
8:51 PM GMT on June 26, 2008
523. atmoaggie 8:42 PM GMT on June 26, 2008
Yeah...accuse me of plagarism in an anonymous forum and see if I care. If it were untrue, I would likely say "OK, enjoy your opinion" and maybe use little button, depending on your tone.

Frankly, some of our bloggers seem to care a little too much what other commenters think of them. The truly quality bloggers here are the ones that seem like they couldn't care less about everyone else's anonymous opinion.

Hey Drak, is it your goal to impress every reader and make them all think you are a genius? Or, maybe you simply enjoy talking to others that are as intrigued and interested in tropical weather as you are? Yeah, I don't give a d@mn, either.


Ok, but i'm a little skeptical of what you are saying...
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537. TheWeatherMan504
8:49 PM GMT on June 26, 2008
530. surfmom 8:46 PM GMT on June 26, 2008
I'm under the impression he's a young kid...yes??? I believe
(and I am NOT sticking up for his inappropriate behavior and he should have consequences)

that he must have been totally humiliated, embarrassed and taught a major life lesson. only thing is that he's lost face and I believed this was one of his only playgrounds in life. But there can be NO excuses for threats and the sooner he gets that lesson the better. period (must be the mom talkin' now)


I think he is the same troll as yesterday that was making fun of JP and JM.......... Remember?
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536. ajcamsmom2
3:49 PM CDT on June 26, 2008
well, I tried to look back at the blogs from August 2005...just couldn't handle it...my stomach is sick and my head is spinning...I don't know how I will handle going back to the Coast in July...if I didn't have a court date...I would never go home...
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535. txalwaysprepared
8:47 PM GMT on June 26, 2008
525. Shawn - Well, I would like that ULL to move it's little butt. I NEED RAIN ;)
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534. atmoaggie
8:45 PM GMT on June 26, 2008
Drak, that is just a comparison of those who just enjoy our favorite subject vs those try real hard to show up others and seem to worry about what all of us here think of them. The latter always seem to be involved in a dust-up around here as if that personality type wears their feelings on their right mouse button. That's all.

I know which of 2 you are. (Dude, being dry...just like you.)
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533. TheWeatherMan504
8:46 PM GMT on June 26, 2008
528. Floodman 8:45 PM GMT on June 26, 2008
523. atmoaggie

Well put...most of us are here to learn (though some teach without even knowing it). This guy pulled some stuff verbatim from Crown without giving them their props and got yanked because someone caught him...LOL

He's here neither to learn, OR to teach...politics, that should be his field


No his "field" should be the jailyard for disturbing the public and threating murder.
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532. surfmom
8:46 PM GMT on June 26, 2008
Just garbage Drak, throw it away b/4 the flies come
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531. OUSHAWN
8:46 PM GMT on June 26, 2008
txalwaysprepared...it has been raining off and on all afternoon here in Clear Lake. What part of town are you in?
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530. surfmom
8:41 PM GMT on June 26, 2008
I'm under the impression he's a young kid...yes??? I believe
(and I am NOT sticking up for his inappropriate behavior and he should have consequences)

that he must have been totally humiliated, embarrassed and taught a major life lesson. only thing is that he's lost face and I believed this was one of his only playgrounds in life. But there can be NO excuses for threats and the sooner he gets that lesson the better. period (must be the mom talkin' now)
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529. txalwaysprepared
8:43 PM GMT on June 26, 2008
522. TS I think he just wants me house dry ;)
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528. Floodman
3:42 PM CDT on June 26, 2008
523. atmoaggie

Well put...most of us are here to learn (though some teach without even knowing it). This guy pulled some stuff verbatim from Crown without giving them their props and got yanked because someone caught him...LOL

He's here neither to learn, OR to teach...politics, that should be his field
Member Since: August 2, 2006 Posts: 10 Comments: 9922
527. Drakoen
8:44 PM GMT on June 26, 2008
523. atmoaggie 8:42 PM GMT on June 26, 2008
Yeah...accuse me of plagarism in an anonymous forum and see if I care. If it were untrue, I would likely say "OK, enjoy your opinion" and maybe use little button, depending on your tone.

Frankly, some of our bloggers seem to care a little too much what other commenters think of them. The truly quality bloggers here are the ones that seem like they couldn't care less about everyone else's anonymous opinion.

Hey Drak, is it your goal to impress every reader and make them all think you are a genius? Or, maybe you simply enjoy talking to others that are as intrigued and interested in tropical weather as you are? Yeah, I don't give a d@mn, either.


Where is this coming from???
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526. TheWeatherMan504
8:42 PM GMT on June 26, 2008
524. Floodman 8:42 PM GMT on June 26, 2008
514. TheWeatherMan504

You shouldn't be surprised...I read the backblog; he's feeling pretty threatened about now, and will likely need ot find a new venue for his "blog

hahahahhaahaha we should make an internet possy. lol
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525. OUSHAWN
8:40 PM GMT on June 26, 2008
518

Tx...I think the ULL in the western gulf has something to do with it...if I'm not mistaken. The flow around it is helping to shoot everything to the NE. That is also the major steering flow in the upper air pattern right now. That inverted trough has been hanging out as well. Ok, that just sounded so unprofessional...lol. You see, I'm learning as well. Maybe one of the more experienced bloggers on here can explain it better.
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524. Floodman
3:40 PM CDT on June 26, 2008
514. TheWeatherMan504

You shouldn't be surprised...I read the backblog; he's feeling pretty threatened about now, and will likely need ot find a new venue for his "blog"
Member Since: August 2, 2006 Posts: 10 Comments: 9922
523. atmoaggie
8:34 PM GMT on June 26, 2008
Yeah...accuse me of plagarism in an anonymous forum and see if I care. If it were untrue, I would likely say "OK, enjoy your opinion" and maybe use little button, depending on your tone.

Frankly, some of our bloggers seem to care a little too much what other commenters think of them. The truly quality bloggers here are the ones that seem like they couldn't care less about everyone else's anonymous opinion.

Hey Drak, is it your goal to impress every reader and make them all think you are a genius? Or, maybe you simply enjoy talking to others that are as intrigued and interested in tropical weather as you are? Yeah, I don't give a d@mn, either.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
522. TampaSpin
4:41 PM EDT on June 26, 2008
518. txalwaysprepared 4:39 PM EDT on June 26, 2008

God wants Texas dry......lol
Member Since: September 2, 2007 Posts: 178 Comments: 20439
521. surfmom
8:36 PM GMT on June 26, 2008
In agreement Captain --ask those of Frances, Jeanne, Charlie katrina ---now is the time to be ready. Then as you watch all your neighbors freaking out, you sit calmly (clamly) and watch the show. It makes such a difference to handle the event when you come from a place of prepared then those already exhausted from last minute prep. If you don't use the stuf....there's always next year. Children and animals fair far better as well when the environment (already in hell because of the 'cane) of the household is one of sound thinking
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520. TampaSpin
4:38 PM EDT on June 26, 2008
511. atmoaggie 4:34 PM EDT on June 26, 2008

It appears to me that if anything is there it is Due West of FT. Myers.
Member Since: September 2, 2007 Posts: 178 Comments: 20439
519. TheWeatherMan504
8:39 PM GMT on June 26, 2008
IM banned from his blog. LOL!!!
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518. txalwaysprepared
8:36 PM GMT on June 26, 2008
Can someone tell me why everything, the last few days, in the GOM has gone to Florida?
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517. NEwxguy
8:38 PM GMT on June 26, 2008
Don't feel bad Flood,I was left out also,
someone with way too much time on his hands.
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516. Nolehead
8:36 PM GMT on June 26, 2008
same here flood, oh well..i guess there's always tomorrow
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515. TerraNova
3:36 PM EST on June 26, 2008
514. TheWeatherMan504 3:36 PM EST on June 26, 2008
how do i report him to admin?

You can either flag his blog using the little "!" or send an email to WunderBlogAdmin.
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514. TheWeatherMan504
8:34 PM GMT on June 26, 2008
how do i report him to admin?
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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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