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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314. nash28
10:58 AM EDT on June 26, 2008
For you severe wx junkies, we have pretty good CAPE values today.
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313. TerraNova
9:54 AM EST on June 26, 2008
Its all part of the same group that runs wunderground,its not plagiarism, its all shared within the same company of which Jeff Masters is a cofounder

Crown Weather isn't part of the Weather Underground. It's a completely seperate site.
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312. TheWeatherMan504
2:54 PM GMT on June 26, 2008
thank you JP
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310. whirlwind
2:50 PM GMT on June 26, 2008
Patrap-

On the lightning subject:

There are a few individuals on here that say: 'Im turning off my computer because theres lighting going on'.
That will NOT protect your equipment. If its on or off does not matter. Its still plugged into the outlet. Thats the connection that lightning will travel if your building does get hit.

To be safe, unplug your computer from the outlet.
Really dont know where that stupid idea came from to turn it off. lol
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309. TerraNova
9:52 AM EST on June 26, 2008
Shear is dropping in the Gulf and in the Eastern Caribbean. Shear Tendency.

BBL
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308. TheWeatherMan504
2:49 PM GMT on June 26, 2008
if sheer is realy dropping then all we need is the ull to get out of the picture.
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307. melwerle
2:47 PM GMT on June 26, 2008
ok - lightning question since we were on the topic a while back...I had asked hubby this question and he looked at me as though I were out of my mind...i realize it's rather stupid but hey...here it goes...

I have a twenty two foot mast sitting on the garage floor...I have an art studio out there as well...and reason to worry when I'm out there in a storm? It wouldn't attract lightning since it's inside, right?

Ok ok ok ...stop laughing...dumb question but figured I'd ask...
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306. Tazmanian
7:48 AM PDT on June 26, 2008
thanks crownwx
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305. stoormfury
2:40 PM GMT on June 26, 2008
i have not been able to ascertain whether a system is trying to organised at the surface in the central Gulf of MEXICO. i know pressures have been dropping slightly and wind shear has also been on the decine. recent vis sat pics is hinting of a weak circulation. what will detemine what is happening is when the next QS becomes available. i have also tried to get ships reports out of the area but with no avail. i gues i will have to wait and see
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304. Stormchaser2007
2:45 PM GMT on June 26, 2008
Brother and sister....

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303. Tazmanian
7:45 AM PDT on June 26, 2008
sorry aquak9 you where right



now i feel like a jackass


sorry to to the others has well

you where all right


i take back what i said
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302. IKE
9:44 AM CDT on June 26, 2008
Yup...copy and paste!
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301. crownwx
10:43 AM EDT on June 26, 2008
And I agree....back to discussing the tropics!!...lol.
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300. LSU
2:39 PM GMT on June 26, 2008
My apologies above, I've corrected the link.
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299. crownwx
10:39 AM EDT on June 26, 2008
Taz: I am the owner, operator and webmaster of Crown Weather Services. Here is the link you asked for....proof: Link
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298. TheWeatherMan504
2:39 PM GMT on June 26, 2008
im sorry aqua i was wrong.

Lets get back yo the tropics.
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297. all4hurricanes
10:38 AM EDT on June 26, 2008

This is also from Crown Weather now I'm giving credit, happy everyone

12-99% chance of development the data no longer contradicts its forming
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296. extreme236
2:38 PM GMT on June 26, 2008
290. IKE 2:35 PM GMT on June 26, 2008 Hide this comment.
288. extreme236 9:34 AM CDT on June 26, 2008
I don't know what all the fighting is about over this blog...its clear it was plagiarized, I read it myself and checked the CrownWeather site and there is no doubt about it. Word for word copied. I'm not sure why Taz went ballistic about it though...

What blog? 2nd request?


That blog post by Tropicaldiscussion
Member Since: August 2, 2007 Posts: 19 Comments: 19234
295. IKE
9:37 AM CDT on June 26, 2008
292. LSU 9:37 AM CDT on June 26, 2008
Link

Blog from a few pages back.


Wrong link.
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294. Tazmanian
7:36 AM PDT on June 26, 2008
i will take back evere thing about what i said about aquak9


but 1st of all i want proof that means start showing me links Please
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293. captainhunter
2:32 PM GMT on June 26, 2008
Morning everyone. Don't get me wrong, we need the rain here in the panhandle and I'll certainly take it but does anyone else notice that it always seems to happen on the weekend? Hurricane landfalls too for that matter! LOL
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292. LSU
2:36 PM GMT on June 26, 2008
Link

Blog from a few pages back.
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291. MissBennet
2:24 PM GMT on June 26, 2008
228. BajaALemt Could you post the link to that article... I can't find it and I need a good laugh this morning.
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290. IKE
9:35 AM CDT on June 26, 2008
288. extreme236 9:34 AM CDT on June 26, 2008
I don't know what all the fighting is about over this blog...its clear it was plagiarized, I read it myself and checked the CrownWeather site and there is no doubt about it. Word for word copied. I'm not sure why Taz went ballistic about it though...


What blog? 2nd request?
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289. extreme236
2:34 PM GMT on June 26, 2008
The SSD site has that second area of disturbed weather in the EPAC labled as 95E...not on the Navy site though.
Member Since: August 2, 2007 Posts: 19 Comments: 19234
288. extreme236
2:31 PM GMT on June 26, 2008
I don't know what all the fighting is about over this blog...its clear it was plagiarized, I read it myself and checked the CrownWeather site and there is no doubt about it. Word for word copied. I'm not sure why Taz went ballistic about it though...
Member Since: August 2, 2007 Posts: 19 Comments: 19234
287. all4hurricanes
10:31 AM EDT on June 26, 2008

Two systems !!!

Notice when DR. Masters says there are no threat areas to discuss we blog all day about invests and African waves
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286. TampaSpin
10:31 AM EDT on June 26, 2008
284. pspredicts 10:31 AM EDT on June 26, 2008
the blob in the gulf seems to be getting strong appears to circulation around 90 and 25


I to am watching the blob but, i don't see anything happening. Shear is too high currently but, strange things have happened before.
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285. catastropheadjuster
2:26 PM GMT on June 26, 2008
JP- I checked it out to, and Aquak is right.
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284. pspredicts
2:28 PM GMT on June 26, 2008
the blob in the gulf seems to be getting strong appears to circulation around 90 and 25
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283. IKE
9:30 AM CDT on June 26, 2008

282. LSU 9:30 AM CDT on June 26, 2008
I can't believe you're still arguing this. Want proof? Go to Crown Weather and read the Tropical Discussion. Now go read the blog.

Word for word.


What blog????
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282. LSU
2:30 PM GMT on June 26, 2008
I can't believe you're still arguing this. Want proof? Go to Crown Weather and read the Tropical Discussion. Now go read the blog.

Word for word.
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281. IKE
9:28 AM CDT on June 26, 2008
Another dull season? Two cat 5's is dull?
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280. stormkat
2:22 PM GMT on June 26, 2008
good morning guys and gals just checking in to let you know i have the latest data that i reviewed and we are looking at the middle part of july before we have to even think about something forming in the tropics...it would not surprise me if we had another dull season...dr gray will definitely revise his forecast down and you guys will see a major change...ill be back around or a few days before july 15...you all have a nice day ill be watching but you can relax for now...stormkat
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279. IKE
9:27 AM CDT on June 26, 2008

277. pspredicts 9:26 AM CDT on June 26, 2008
surf mom you look pretty good !


Hey now.....lol.......
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277. pspredicts
2:26 PM GMT on June 26, 2008
surf mom you look pretty good !
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276. IKE
9:24 AM CDT on June 26, 2008
Shear decreasing and 10 knots near the north-central GOM....

CIMSS 1200UTC Shear Map
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275. IKE
9:23 AM CDT on June 26, 2008
Good luck between you mom and husband surfmom!
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274. surfmom
2:20 PM GMT on June 26, 2008
OK amigos - I am off now (embarrassed about my age LOL) got to get that run in so that I don't look my number.

Please -- everyone -- NO THROWING SAND IN THE SANDBOX TODAY -
Member Since: July 18, 2007 Posts: 30 Comments: 26536
272. TampaSpin
10:21 AM EDT on June 26, 2008
269. jphurricane2006 10:20 AM EDT on June 26, 2008

Who did this....??
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271. LSU
2:20 PM GMT on June 26, 2008
Did any of you even go to that site and look at the tropical discussion? It's a word for word copy, even down to the point where we're told there won't be another blog this week. There is 0 chance that the blogger wrote that himself.
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270. NEwxguy
2:20 PM GMT on June 26, 2008
plagiarism

Didn't see this coming,where did this come from?
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268. surfmom
2:15 PM GMT on June 26, 2008
Thank you regarding the word close outs. Sometimes here on the Gulf I loose all my confidence as a surfer --pearling after pearling --board just pitching --then I take a trip over to the other side and I'm like "I can surf, I can really surf...yoooo I can even walk the board" (longboarder) The power of the push in the Atlantic makes such a difference (even on those 2/3ft waves - which at 50 years old is a pleasure - less crash and burn)...eekkk am I that old....only in number NOT in spirit
Member Since: July 18, 2007 Posts: 30 Comments: 26536
267. surfmom
2:12 PM GMT on June 26, 2008
caught it, it's the fuel prices making also adding to those juice prices. also there are less and less orange groves left anymore ( due to the insane building that went on) When we first moved here I could bike to an orange stand and get it cheap and muy fresco....now that's just a past memory
Member Since: July 18, 2007 Posts: 30 Comments: 26536
266. TampaSpin
10:13 AM EDT on June 26, 2008
265. nash28 10:13 AM EDT on June 26, 2008
Taz. Take a pill. Aqua is right.


Nash i like you but, what are you saying.
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265. nash28
10:09 AM EDT on June 26, 2008
Taz. Take a pill. Aqua is right.
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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....
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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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