An extended fire season is unfolding for the Northwest.
AccuWeather.com will release its full Winter 2012-2013 Forecast to the general public during the first week of October, but the early indications are that below-normal precipitation will continue through the winter.
The normally dry weather pattern now will be exploited by a developing split in the storm track and further dryness over the fall and winter.
According to Long Range Weather Expert Paul Pastelok, "A split storm track seems likely moving through the winter with storms dropping southward along or east of the Continental Divide in Canada and storms rolling in from the Pacific into the Southwest United States."
Such a setup would leave areas west of the Divide from central British Columbia to northernmost California in a zone with little precipitation, above-normal temperatures and bouts of wind.
"There would be occasional pushes of cool air and a few storms farther south, but probably much less than average for the fall and winter," Pastelok said.
Wildfires are a way of life in the West during the late summer and fall.
According to Western Weather Expert Ken Clark, "The brush, which has been baking all summer, becomes extremely dry by September. Throw in the dry air masses which become more common during the autumn, along with increasing winds and you have the potential for a large number of fires."
The pine bark beetle has killed a significant number of trees. The dead trees are an additional fuel for the fires.
According to Canada Weather Expert Brett Anderson, "There has been an uptick of large fires in southern British Columbia in recent weeks in response to the building dryness."
A large ridge of high pressure, above normal temperatures and very dry air will continue to fuel the flames.
The pattern may be a sign of things to come not only in the short term, but for months.
If this is the case, little rain, warmth and wind will cause big problems for firefighters well through the autumn and into the winter.
See how far away severe thunderstorms are as we monitor the severe weather with these radar images.
Heavy rain returning to the northern Plains will generate a renewed flood threat for the Red River.
Mount Saint Helens has erupted several times since the destructive 1980 eruption, and likely will again in the future.
Seven homes have been red tagged, meaning do not occupy, and six others are under a voluntary evacuation order.
Though recovery continues from Superstorm Sandy, residents and homeowners on the Atlantic coast should prepare for another active season in 2013.
While there is a threat for a shower in spots in Baltimore, Md., today, it will not be a washout like the day of the Kentucky Derby.
Chicago, IL (1894)
Severe snow/rain storm; 9 vessels on Lake Michigan destroyed.
Mt. St. Helens (Washington) (1980)
Mt. St. Helens erupted; smoke plume rose to height of 80,000 ft. Visibility lowered to under a mile 400 miles downwind of the eruption. Five people died and over 2,000 had to be evacuated because of the mudslides and flooding that occurred when the snowpack melted. The cloud formed by the eruption reached the East Coast in three days and circled the world in 19 days.
Boston, MA (2007)
1.72 inches of rain, a record for the date (old record: 1.09 inches in 2002)