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.
Within the three-state area of Washington, Oregon and Idaho, there are 21 large fire incidents ongoing.
The water level on this massive reservoir had never been lower than what was reached on July 9.
It has been pretty hot of late in the interior Northwest but even hotter weather looks likely by Sunday and Monday.
It does not usually rain this time of year; when it does, this is usually how it happens.
This is the beginnings of the summer monsoon pattern that typically starts around the first week in July.
This third straight below normal rainfall season just put the final defining stamp on what has become a nearly statewide exceptional drought.