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Rim Fire California's 7th Largest on Record, and is 23% Contained

By: Dr. Jeff Masters, 2:22 PM GMT on August 28, 2013

California's massive Rim Fire in Yosemite National Park continues to grow, but firefighters took advantage of less windy conditions on Tuesday and had attained 23% containment of the fire as of 9:20 am EDT on Wednesday. According to Inciweb, the Rim Fire has burned 187,000 acres. This ranks as the 7th largest fire in state history, and largest fire on record in the California Sierra Mountains, says wunderground's weather historian, Christopher C. Burt in his latest post, "The Worst Wild Fires in U.S. History". The Rim Fire will likely climb to be the 5th biggest fire in California's history by this weekend, but will have difficultly surpassing California's largest fire on record--the Cedar Fire in San Diego County of October 2003. That fire burned 273,246 acres (430 square miles), destroyed 2,820 buildings, and killed 15 people. California has had its driest year-to-date period, so it is no surprise that the state is experiencing an unusually large fire this summer. It would also not be a surprise if the state sees another huge fire this year, as peak California fire activity usually comes in September and October, during the end of the six month-long dry season, and when the hot, dry Santa Ana winds tend to blow.


Figure 1. California's Rim Fire as captured by a member of the International Space Station on August 26, 2013. Lake Tahoe is visible at the top, and smoke from the fire obscures the northern portion of Yosemite National Park, and streams into Nevada. Image credit: NASA.


Figure 2. Outbuilding and pickup truck burned by the Rim Fire. Image credit: USFS-Mike McMillan

Weather conditions over the next five days where the Rim Fire is burning are expected to near average, with high temperatures in the upper 80s to low 90s and moderate winds. Air quality alerts for smoke have been posted over portions of California and Nevada, and Reno, Nevada is under a dense smoke advisory. The dense smoke will result in unhealthy air quality in the city, and prolonged outdoor activities are being discouraged. Travel may be difficult due to reduced visibility less than five miles on some area highways.

Links to follow
Wunderground's weather historian, Christopher C. Burt's latest post, "The Worst Wild Fires in U.S. History".
Our wundermap with the fire layer turned on is a good way to track the fire perimeter and smoke plume.
Crane Flat webcam
Time lapse of the Crane Flat webcam for 8 hours on Tuesday.
Yosemite Fire Example of How Droughts Amplify Wildfires, August 26 post by Andrew Freedman of climatecentral.org

Tropical wave midway between Africa and the Lesser Antilles downgraded
A tropical wave that came off the coast of Africa on Sunday is midway between Africa and the Lesser Antilles Islands. This disturbance is moving westward at 10 - 15 mph, has a modest amount of spin, but has lost nearly all of the limited heavy thunderstorm activity it had. In their 8 am EDT Wednesday Tropical Weather Outlook, NHC downgraded the 5-day odds of formation of this disturbance from 30% to 20%. Wind shear is a moderate 10 knots over the system, but there is an area of dry air and dust from the Saharan Air Layer (SAL) to the north that is interfering with development. For the next few days, though, the wave will experience upward-moving air from a Convectively-Coupled Kelvin Wave (CCKW) that is moving eastwards across the Atlantic at 25 - 35 mph. This interaction may contribute to development. With the exception of the NAVGEM model, there is little support from the models for developing the disturbance during the next five days. The wave could spread heavy rains and gusty winds to the Lesser Antilles Islands as early as Sunday.

A tropical wave expected to emerge from the coast of Africa on Friday and track over the Cape Verde Islands is developed by the GFS and European models. This wave is expected to take a northwesterly track, and would likely not be able to make the long trek across the Atlantic to threaten North America or the Caribbean Islands.

Jeff Masters
Tahoe Sunset 3
Tahoe Sunset 3
Sunset over Lake Tahoe with smoke from the Rim Fire near Yosemite.
Rim Fire
Rim Fire
Camp Tuolumne spared
Rim Fire
Rim Fire
Robert Martinez Aug 21

Fire

The views of the author are his/her own and do not necessarily represent the position of The Weather Company or its parent, IBM.

Reader Comments

Quoting 1996. hydrus:
If that materializes, Florida will be hit..jmo..Good morning U.C.
Looks like a trough coming down doesn't it?
2002. Torito
Above-normal season: An ACE value above 111 (120% of the 1981-2010 median), provided at least two of the following three parameters are exceeded: number of tropical storms (12), hurricanes (6), and major hurricanes (2).

Near-normal season: neither above-normal nor below normal

Below-normal season: An ACE value below 66 (71.4% of the 1981-2010 median), or none of the following three parameters are exceeded: number of tropical storms (9), hurricanes (4), and major hurricanes(1).
Quoting 1997. Torito:


2004:225
2005:250
2006:79
2007:72
2008:144
2009:51
2010:165
2011:126
2012:133
2013 so far:8 LOL

Link
like 77 the year of no global cyclones
According to this we are just entering Octant 1, so something should materialize in the next couple of weeks, but don't hold your breath.

2005. LargoFl
SINE I HAVE A DAUGHTER AND GRANDAUGHTER I THINK THIS IS IMPORTANT HEALTH INFO FOR WOMEN....................ORLANDO --
A new study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute finds that drinking even one alcoholic drink a day in the years before a woman's first pregnancy can increase her risk of breast cancer later in life.

Other research has linked alcohol consumption to increased breast cancer risk, as well as finding that delayed childbearing can increase breast cancer risk.

But this new research is thought to be the first to focus on the effect of alcohol intake during the time frame between the start of menstruation and a first pregnancy.

One drink was defined as one bottle or can of beer, a 4-ounce glass of wine of a shot of liquor.

The study found increased the risk for proliferative benign breast disease, a risk factor for breast cancer. "The risk increased by 11 percent for every 10 grams a day of intake, about six drinks per week," said study author Dr. Ying Liu, an instructor of public health sciences at Washington University School of Medicine, in St. Louis. "These risk values were estimated as compared with nondrinkers."

The study was conducted by the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.
2006. Torito
Quoting 2003. KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
like 77 the year of no global cyclones


1983 was the lowest in the time frame between 1950-2012. Link
2007. ncstorm
000
NOUS42 KNHC 281436
REPRPD
WEATHER RECONNAISSANCE FLIGHTS
CARCAH, NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER, MIAMI, FL.
1035 AM EDT WED 28 AUGUST 2013
SUBJECT: TROPICAL CYCLONE PLAN OF THE DAY (TCPOD)
VALID 29/1100Z TO 30/1100Z AUGUST 2013
TCPOD NUMBER.....13-088 AMENDMENT

I. ATLANTIC REQUIREMENTS
1. NEGATIVE RECONNAISSANCE REQUIREMENTS.
2. OUTLOOK FOR SUCCEEDING DAY.....NEGATIVE.
3. REMARKS: MINOR MISSION CHANGE
A. THE GLOBAL HAWK NA872 WILL FLY A MISSION DEPARTING
WALLOPS AT 29/1100Z. AREA OF INTEREST IS AN EASTERLY WAVE/
CENTRAL ATLANTIC. MISSION DURATION IS
25.5 HRS. ALTITUDE 55,000 TO 65,000 FT. PATTERN WILL BE A
A N-S RACE TRACK WITHIN A BOX BOUNDED BY 18.0N 52.5,
8.0N 52.5W, 8.0N 42.5W, AND 18.ON 45.5W. ON-STATION DURATION
11.5 HRS. DROPSONDE TO BE DEPLOYED: 82

B. SUCCEEDING DAY: NA871 WILL FLY WITH A T.O. OF 30/1600Z
2008. hydrus
Quoting 1935. daddyjames:


Perhaps this is the "wiggle" in the room:

"If the shear remains highly variable, then the activity could be near the lower end of the predicted ranges. If the shear weakens further, which would be consistent with the expected climate patterns, then the activity could be near the middle or higher end of the predicted ranges."

See that there is still high sheer across the Northern Caribbean. Suppose the timing just has not been good for formation of storms.
I have noticed that this year the tropical waves are a bit closer to one another than other years, and when this happens, it prevents tropical formation as they fight for dominance. With the subsidence and SAL, the waves die before having the opportunity to strengthen, hence affecting the season to a significant degree...so far..
2009. VR46L
Quoting 1997. Torito:


2004:225
2005:250
2006:79
2007:72
2008:144
2009:51
2010:165
2011:126
2012:133
2013 so far:8 LOL

Link


I knew we were at 8 so far LOL ! the combined total is not of one decent Cat one Hurricane 1

Thanks for the facts !
2010. hydrus
Quoting 2006. Torito:


1983 was the lowest in the time frame between 1950-2012. Link
I remember that year well..very boring for us trackers..:)
Quoting 1994. MagicSpork:
Somebody can torch thousands of acres of forest by flicking a cigarette butt out of car window while going 70 MPH, but I can't get a fire started in my BBQ pit without using a gallon of lighter fluid. Boy Scout fail on me...


Spork, you need to put your BBQ on the sidewalk, drive by at 70, then flick a butt out the window.
I was in SoCal on vacation last week (Knott's Berry farm and Magic Mountain), and I was suprised at how hot it was. The mornings were awesome in the low to mid 60's, but it got hot really quick. I always had this perception of SoCal being in the high 70's all the time...Oh well, the Mountain views made up for it...
2013. LargoFl

















Quoting 2011. islander44:


Spork, you need to put your BBQ on the sidewalk, drive by at 70, then flick a butt out the window.


Well I DO live in Texas, so during the summer I normally just put the meat on the driveway and let it cook there...
2015. hydrus
Quoting 2003. KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
like 77 the year of no global cyclones
We did have Anita..What a nasty lookin cane..

Slow year tho..
Quoting 2008. hydrus:
I have noticed that this year the tropical waves are a bit closer to one another than other years, and when this happens, it prevents tropical formation as they fight for dominance. With the subsidence and SAL, the waves die before having the opportunity to strengthen, hence affecting the season to a significant degree...so far..
I think mom has a side dish of egg for everyone and we simply don't know what will happen or when
Quoting 2014. MagicSpork:


Well I DO live in Texas, so during the summer I normally just put the meat on the driveway and let it cook there...
lol
Quoting 1991. hydrus:
I believe it was a eyewall regeneration cyclone that was responsible for Katrina,s weakening before landfall, not cooler water. Patrap could explain better.
Eyewall replacement and shallower waters are responsible. Not as much warm water if the ocean is shallower. This is the case in most storms. However, had Katrina not undergo eyewall replacement all the way to landfall, I wouldn't doubt a high-end Category 4 landfall (down from 175 mph because of shallower water I explained above).
Good morning, weathergeeks! ;)

I see the shield is still up.

Thanks, Ritaevac, for posting this. Trouble.




Loop Current 8 years ago.




Loop Current today.
no hurricanes or tropical storm hitting the east coast for a long time..
2021. hydrus
Southern Louisiana had Hurricane Babe. Pat probably remembers this one..

This GOES satellite image from September 5, 1977 at 1230z shows Tropical Storm Babe inland in Louisiana. It was obtained from the National Hurricane Center satellite archive in Coral Gables, FL

Hurricane Babe was the second named storm and the first to impact the United States during the below-average 1977 Atlantic hurricane season. Forming out of a tropical wave on September 3, Babe began as a subtropical cyclone in the eastern Gulf of Mexico. The storm gradually intensified as it tracked westward. On September 5, the storm turned north and acquired enough tropical characteristics. Later that day, Babe intensified into a hurricane and attained its peak strength with winds of 75 mph (120 km/h) and a barometric pressure of 995 mbar (hPa; 29.38 inHg). Several hours later, the hurricane made landfall in Louisiana and quickly weakened. By September 6, Babe had weakened to a tropical depression and later dissipated early on September 9 over North Carolina.

September 3, 1977
Dissipated September 9, 1977
Highest winds 1-minute sustained:
75 mph (120 km/h)
Lowest pressure 995 mbar (hPa); 29.38 inHg
Fatalities None reported
Damage $13 million (1977 USD)
Areas affected Florida, Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia

Hurricane Babe produced minimal impact throughout its path in the United States. The most significant impact occurred in Louisiana where the storm caused $10 million (1977 USD; $37.9 million 2013 USD) in damage, mainly from crop losses. An additional $3 million (1977 USD; $11.4 million 2013 USD) in losses resulted from tornadoes spawned by Babe. Heavy rainfall in North Carolina, peaking at 8.99 in (228 mm) triggered flash flooding but little damage. No fatalities resulted from the hurricane. Unusually, a typhoon, also named Babe, existed at exactly the same time as Hurricane Babe.
Quoting 1997. Torito:


2004:225
2005:250
2006:79
2007:72
2008:144
2009:51
2010:165
2011:126
2012:133
2013 so far:8 LOL

Link


Why are you comparing an August total with seasonal totals?
2023. hydrus
Quoting 2018. Bluestorm5:
Eyewall replacement and shallower waters are responsible. Not as much warm water if the ocean is shallower. This is the case in most storms. However, had Katrina not undergo eyewall replacement all the way to landfall, I wouldn't doubt a high-end Category 4 landfall (down from 175 mph because of shallower water I explained above).
I too believe Katrina would have been a 4 or 5 if no ERC..Please pardon my cyclone error..You knew I meant CYCLE..:)
Quoting 1998. RitaEvac:
Katrina and Rita



That little spark in the BOC already has modeling... whatever it is. Is it a basin-jumper?
Quoting 2023. hydrus:
I too believe Katrina would have been a 4 or 5 if no ERC..Please pardon my cyclone error..You knew I meant CYCLE..:)


Probably right. Truth is, the category didn't much matter as SS hardly does devastation justice. If the scale accurately depicted devastation by category, Katrina would have been in double digits. ;)
Quoting 2002. Torito:
Above-normal season: An ACE value above 111 (120% of the 1981-2010 median), provided at least two of the following three parameters are exceeded: number of tropical storms (12), hurricanes (6), and major hurricanes (2).

Near-normal season: neither above-normal nor below normal

Below-normal season: An ACE value below 66 (71.4% of the 1981-2010 median), or none of the following three parameters are exceeded: number of tropical storms (9), hurricanes (4), and major hurricanes(1).
ACE
Quoting 2023. hydrus:
I too believe Katrina would have been a 4 or 5 if no ERC..Please pardon my cyclone error..You knew I meant CYCLE..:)
It really didn't matter, though... surge don't change much after peak strength. Storm surge is usually the most important factor in hurricane devastation (not always, as Andrew did most damage from winds I believe).
2028. hydrus
Quoting 2025. moonlightcowboy:


Probably right. Truth is, the category didn't much matter as SS hardly does devastation justice. If the scale accurately depicted devastation by category, Katrina would have been in double digits. ;)
This is true. Hard to imagine Katrina being worse than it was.
Quoting 2028. hydrus:
This is true. Hard to imagine Katrina being worse than it was.


50-75 miles west, and all levees would of gone I believe. Katrina would of been worse.
2030. hydrus
Quoting 2016. KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
I think mom has a side dish of egg for everyone and we simply don't know what will happen or when
I also think Mom is going to show some color around the globe for the foreseeable future...I will watch with great interest.
I hope we get invest soon!
2032. hydrus
Quoting 2029. RitaEvac:


50-75 miles west, and all levees would of gone I believe. Katrina would of been worse.
My biggest worry is when Rita became yet another cat-5, and was heading in the same general path as Katrina..I was thinkin ya got to be kidding me. It was like when we had Charley, and Ivan was forecast to hit us directly. A little finger jutting our of the Bermuda High was just enough to nudge Ivan further west away from us, and into the panhandle...Unbelievable
Hurricane/Typhoon Ioke is the ACE record holder for a single storm, believe his ACE was 81.

Excerpt from Dr. Master's blog "2006 in review: The global tropical cyclone season";

"Hurricane Ioke (a.k.a. Super Typhoon Ioke after it crossed the Date Line) was the strongest hurricane ever recorded in the Central Pacific, and remained at Category 4 or 5 strength longer than any tropical cyclone on record. Ioke spent 36 (33 consecutive) 6-hourly reports at that strength. The previous records were held by 2004's Hurricane Ivan with 33 (32 consecutive) and 1997's Typhoon Paka with 27 (25 consecutive) 6-hourly reports. The Accumulated Cyclone Energy (ACE) for this one storm was about 81--higher than the ACE index of 79 accumulated by all the tropical cyclones in the Atlantic 2006 hurricane season."
2034. hydrus
Unusual list of names for 1977..


Anita
Babe
Clara
Dorothy
Evelyn
Frieda
Grace (unused)



Hannah (unused)
Ida (unused)
Jodie (unused)
Kristina (unused)
Lois (unused)
Mary (unused)
Nora (unused)



Odel (unused)
Penny (unused)
Raquel (unused)
Sophia (unused)
Trudy (unused)
Virginia (unused)
Willene (unused)
Hurricane Babe...that's awesome. Imagine the reaction on social media if there was a Hurricane Babe today..."OMG hurricane BABE?! That's sooooooo sexist!"

We need more old school hurricane names:

Ethel
Gertrude
Bertha
Jebediah
Abraham
JeffMasters has created a new entry.
2038. ncstorm
the WPC is mentioning a formation of a triple point low in the latter part of next week around September 5 at Montana/Canada border..

could be a big severe weather event?

THE 06Z GFS HAS MADE A MAJOR ADJUSTMENT TO MOVE THE PACIFIC CLOSED
LOW MUCH FURTHER NORTH INTO CANADA. WHERE IT BECOMES UNIQUE IS IN
THE DEVELOPMENT OF A TRIPLE POINT LOW AND STRONGER CLOSED LOW
NORTH OF THE MT/CANADA BORDER DAY 7 THU 05 SEP. THE 00-06Z GEFS
MEAN/00Z NAEFS ENSEMBLE MEAN AND 00Z ECMWF ENSEMBLE MEAN ARE EACH
SLOWER THAN THE OPERATIONAL ECMWF/GFS IN MOVING THE CLOSED LOW
ONSHORE AND INLAND.
Quoting 2026. Neapolitan:
ACE


Dang... 2013 barely shows on this graph. Compare it to 2005. I guess we all here can say we have experienced both extremes. Well if things continue this way I guess we will. Season not over yet.
Comparing the up-to-date ACE with totals from previous seasons is completely meaningless. If we want to compare this season's activity so far we need to look at ACE through August 29. You may be familiar with the following graphic which is from Ryan Maue's website and displays ACE through August 25 for the 2012 season and the preceding 10 years.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic
The 2013 has undoubtedly been very inactive so far and in terms of ACE it's the least active since 2002. However, conditions are quite favourable for an extremely active September, while even the El-Niño-year 2002 was able to produce around 70 ACE units after that point. In fact, if we look at the graph for 2004, it can be seen that 200 ACE units can be generated within 30 days.

Therefore, I think it's just to early to jump to conclusions on the overall activity of this season. The possibility of an active season is certainly decreasing as we are progressing deeper into the season, however, remember that the Atlantic can produce hurricanes and major hurricanes very rapidly. The bulk of the season is still awaiting, and some very hyperactive seasons haven't had much more than 15 or 20 ACE units being generated at this point.
Quoting 1965. SouthernIllinois:

Won't ever forget that. And of course the look on Ray Nagin's face that Sunday afternoon before the storm made landfall....
One of my K memories is after the storm was over my girl (now my wife) and I were sitting in back yard listening to Nagin FREAK out about the feds and what not. The milky way was absolutely one of the most beautiful sights I have seen. And Blue Oyster Cult's 'Don't Fear the Reaper' was played over radio and has become our hurricane anthem. Tight community. Word of mouth was your news besides the radio. Never again will be too soon.
Quoting 1651. sar2401:

Scoot, did you miss page 1 of this story or is just an attempt to spin that only conservative groups engage in this practice?

"Last month, Gore's group launched a website that tips off users to climate news and encourages them to saturate readers' comments with scientific facts. For years, skeptics have filled comments with dismissive views of climate science to sow doubts about the consensus that fossil fuels are responsible for global warming dominating that space, according to the group."

Both sides are engaging in exactly that same behavior, using internet tools that allow them to essentially dominate any discussion, either pro or con.

Please read my comment again, it appears that you missed the specific line in my comment that directly addressed "Reality Drop," which is exactly what you claim I didn't address.

Nowhere in my comment did I indicate or suggest that "only conservative groups" engage in this behavior. I can guarantee you, however, that the majority of this comes from one side. Treating it as equal is very disingenuous.
Quoting 1651. sar2401:

Surely it can't have escaped your notice that we have at least five bloggers here that contribute almost nothing about day to day weather but start posting in a heartbeat when the first anti-AGW post hits.

Each person has their "thing" on the blog. Different people know more about different topics. I typically post more about severe weather, hydrology, radar meteorology, and climate science, because those are topics where my education or training allows me to comment.

These persons are actually different than what I am referring to, however, because several of the individuals I assume you are referring to can be verified as actual persons with actual names and actual lives and actual sources for their statements. This is in stark contrast to persons who use multiple fake accounts or computer algorithms to push from a script without reading or understanding an article.
Quoting 1039. Neapolitan:
One can't help but wonder just how many people have trouble with the definition of the word "could"... ;-)



eh, shoulda coulda woulda
I see we have the orange circle.....

Stateside wx is still quiet
At least football is back....till the wx wakes up.
In response to 2014.MagicSpork: I would like to share something someone from Arizona suggested for the cooking your steak bit. She said that rather than the driveway, the best method is to use the dashboard of your car. Faster grilling, and safer, too. Stay safe!
In response to 2005:LargoFL. What most people seem to miss, even though the Lactation Societies point it out regularly, is that a good deal of breast-feeding of your infant(s) will always prevent breast cancer. I think it has to be either two babies doing it for 3 months each, or 1 baby for over 6 months. Mothers like that have an astounding 0 rate of breast cancer.
Let's see how our record highs and lows are doing this year?

Last year, a few would post these number just about every day explaining how GW is impacting our U.S. temperatures. Odd to me that those same people don't find the need to post the numbers:)

YTD
Hi Max 8,440
Hi Min 13,785
Total = 22,225

Low Max 12,633
Low Min 8,810
Total = 21,443

Last YTD
Hi Max 29,464
Hi Min 26,198
Total = 55,662

Low Min 5,763
Low Max 4,469
Total = 12,232

Hmmmm? Not a lot of warming going on this year. Let's see how these numbers will be spun to be irrelevant when last year they were posted on here as quite relevant.


btw, how are the cancer sticks doin' for ya Mr. Scientist?