I must take a little time explaining to my loyal readers why I have not been around for the last month. First, I am well and that is the good news. Second, because of some shifting of work schedules over the last month, my daily forecasting duties drastically changed. This left me with virtually no time to spend researching and writing my blog. I put a lot of pride in my blog and the information I give. I felt that I could not put the kind of time necessary to put up quality posts to the level that I expect and you have come to enjoy. However, it seems the long shift of duties has come to an end. Hopefully, you will see a much more regular posting schedule from me now.
Today, the talk continues to be about the big story of the summer, fires. One of the hardest-hit areas, the Pacific Northwest, continues to experience the brunt of the fires. Here is a map of the current large incident fires.
All these fires continue to produce a lot of smoke in the air from the Cascades on east. Weak flow aloft, plus nightly inversions, will keep a lot of smoke in the air all of this week extending east through Montana and Wyoming and even as far south as parts of Utah and Colorado.
There are some interesting statistics coming out of the fire season so far this year. Here is how this year, 2012, compares to previous years back to 2003 in the amount of fires and acres burned.
In that time this year has actually had fewer fires than any other over the last 10 years. However, the acreage burned is the second most with 2006 only slightly edging out this year, but in 2006, there were 44 percent more fires. Fewer fires, and in some cases far fewer fires, have burned an extraordinarily large amount of acres. In other words the fires this year have been huge in coverage.
There is still a lot of fire season to go. It will easily extend through much of October in the Southwest. In fact, the worst of the fires season comes with the Santa Ana winds of October/November across California.
As of the end of June there had been no named storms in the Eastern Pacific basin.
This is some serious and dangerous heat. Outdoor activity is just not at all recommended during the daytime.
A strong ridge of high pressure in the West brings the highest heat of the season so far to a large area.
Combine the cold with the wind and some precipitation and there is a real danger of hypothermia.
Any shower and thunderstorm can contain heavy downpours, heavy enough to cause temporary, low-lying ponding.
According to all long-range models, the warmest area in North America compared to average will be over the Northwest.