WeatherNation Blog

So. Cal. Wildfires Continue

Hello and happy Monday everyone. I hope you enjoyed your weekend… it sure went quick :(

The summer is going fast too, I can’t believe that today is the last day of August! Today is actually the last day of meteorological summer, which marks the three warmest months on the calendar (on average: June, July and August). Even though it is still technically summer, it certainly doesn’t feel like it. Many locations from the Upper Midwest to the Great Lakes are experiencing some of the coolest summer months on record. Take a look at some of these low temperatures recorded over the weekend across northern Minnesota and Wisconsin.

In other news, southern California is burning up! Wildfires continue to blaze just north of Downtown Los Angeles. The image below was captured by a high resolution NASA satellite of the smoke plumes billowing northward. Latest reports have the burnt acreage to 42,500 acres and only 5% contained. Unfortunately, 2 firefighters lost their lives this weekend after their vehicle tumbled down a hillside while driving through intense flames.


Some potential good news, hurricane Jimena (pronounced HE-MAIN-AH) could bring some beneficial rains to southern California as early as this weekend. One concern is that if this storm brings heavy rains, we could have mudslides, though, most models show the storm stalling over northwest Mexico. Here’s a look at the storm currently south of Baja California and below that is the various weather model computations:


The latest advisory from the National Hurricane Center has this storm as a Category 4 with sustained winds at 145mph with it making landfall on Wednesday as a Category 2 hurricane.

jimena-modelsp120i00The image above from NOAA shows the 5-day accumulated precipitation from hurricane Jimena making it as far north as southern California, but the 2″ to 4″ rain amounts looks to stay just south of the border.

OK, that’s it for now. We’ll have more tomorrow, so don’t forget to check back. In the meantime, poke around the HamWeather website. There’s a lot there – dig deep, you’ll find everything and anything a weather junkie (like myself) could want.

Have a good Monday and enjoy the last day of summer…

Watching the tropics and wildfires in California

Danny is taking his last few breaths. He’s transitioning into a non tropical area of low pressure, losing his tropical characteristics. In fact, the area of low pressure entering the northern New England states will absorb Danny. However, this doesn’t mean we’ll be free and clear of his impacts. Dangerous rip currents and choppy waters will continue from the mid Atlantic into the Northeast coast.  Heavy rain is expected, especially along the coast along with gusty winds. The main threat here will be flooding.

Tropical Systems

While Danny takes his exit, a new area of interest has raised a few eyebrows in the Atlantic. It doesn’t look promising yet, but a cluster of thunderstorms originating from the Cape Verde Islands is marching its way west. Right now, there’s a low chance for development over the course of the next 48 hours. If this system continues to march its way towards the west, we may be seeing a problem. The warmest water temperatures stretch from the north coast of South America into the Lesser Antilles. If this system enters this region, it could easily organize itself further. For now, it remains messy. We’ll continue to monitor the system.

Let’s change the subject…

California is having serious problems with wildfire–nothing new to the state, of course. A ridge has dominated the Southwest for the past few days and this has resulted in extremely dry, extremely hot weather. Los Angeles is skyrocketing into the 100s today. The good news is that the winds haven’t really been a big problem. I’m hopeful that winds will remain light in the LA area tomorrow, but the low humidity is tough to fight. A growing wildfire north of Los Angeles has spread rapidly. As of today’s mid afternoon hours, it has taken over 9 square miles. Evacuations continue. This ridge will dominate the region for the next few days, so little relief is in sight for our brave firefighters.


Is Danny Even A Tropical Storm?

A Tropical Storm is defined as having winds between 39-73 mph.  As of Friday afternoon, Tropical Storm Danny had winds barely topping 40 mph…a fairly weak Tropical Storm at best.  In fact, the National Hurricane defines a Tropical Cyclone as ‘a warm-core non-frontal synoptic-scale cyclone, originating over tropical or subtropical waters, with organized deep convection and a closed surface wind circulation about a well-defined center.  Once formed, a tropical cyclone is maintained by the extraction of heat energy from the ocean at high temperature and heat export at the low temperatures of the upper troposphere. In this they differ from extratropical cyclones, which derive their energy from horizontal temperature contrasts in the atmosphere (baroclinic effects).’

Now, Danny did originate in tropical waters a few hundred miles northeast of the Turks and Caicos Islands but, currently, this storm lacks any deep convection.  The storms and strongest winds associated with Danny are displaced well to the northeast of the center of circulation…i.e a very disorganized storm at this time.  To make matters worse for Danny, he is fighting for survival with an approaching trough across the Great Lakes as well as an upper low in the Southeast that is nudging Danny further east.  This upper low over Georgia almost has a more tropical look to the it’s circulation than Danny does!

Visible Satellite.  You can almost pick out a faint circulation in the clouds with T.S Danny.  Over Alabama and Geogia the clouds are taking on a small circulation due to the upper level low.

Visible Satellite. You can almost pick out a faint circulation in the clouds with T.S Danny. Over Alabama and Georgia, the clouds are also taking on a small circulation due to the upper level low.

Danny will still create high surf along the East Coast and a Tropical Storm watch is still in effect for Cape Hatteras, N.C.  The official forecast for Danny is shown below.

Tropical Storm Danny Track and Intensity Forecast

Tropical Storm Danny Track and Intensity Forecast

Kristin Clark

Meteorologist, WeatherNation

Soaking Rains In The Plains

Moderate to heavy rain has been falling across northern Missouri and Illinois as well as eastern Iowa.  An already saturated ground couldn’t hold the 2″+  amounts some areas received this morning.  Flash flood warnings are posted for the areas most prone to high water…especially in eastern Iowa.  Doppler radar rainfall estimates exceed 4″ just west of Davenport and Muscatine.  The stubborn rain is being caused by a stalled frontal boundary over the Central Plains.  Rainfall was enhanced by a wave of low pressure riding along the front today.

The forecast is for the front to move southeast throughout today and eventually move across the Northeast in the form of a warm front on Saturday.  As a result, I expect a rainy weekend in the East.  Not to mention the East Coast potentially getting brushed by Tropical Storm Danny.

Interior sections of the Northeast will get down into the mid-30′s tonight resulting in areas of frost for the Adirondack Mountains and northern Maine.  We could also see some frost this weekend in the upper Midwest behind a cold front.  An early fall-like airmass will move in and temperatures will be stuck in the 50′s and 60′s.  Sweater weather!

In the West it is the opposite.  Southern California and Arizona are hot, hot, hot!  Dewpoints are very low resulting in dangerous fire weather.  Wildfires have broken out 5 miles north of Azusa, CA which is northeast of downtown Los Angeles.  About 600 acres have already burned and this is a 140% increase from yesterday.  As of today, the fire was 10% contained.

We’ll keep you posted…

Kristin Clark

Meteorologist, WeatherNation


We Have Danny!

Welcome Tropical Storm Danny.  The winds have exceeded 39 mph this morning, therefore, making Danny the fourth named tropical cyclone of the season.

crb_clirThe convection surrounding the center circulation is rather disorganized at this time.  Better organization is forecasted, though, due to an increasing low shear environment, ample atmospheric moisture and bathwater sea surface temperatures.

Those with interested in the Bahamas and along the Atlantic Coast should be abreast of this developing storm since some forecast models want to bring it very close to shore.  There is one model in particular (the CMC shown below) that wants to bring the storm almost up the Delmarva Peninsula.

Model Storm Tracks

Model Storm Tracks

The good news is that it looks like the East Coast will avoid a direct hit from Danny thanks to an approaching trough and cold front from the west.  This will help keep Danny just offshore…if the timing is right.

Hurricane activity typically peaks during August and September so it’s almost like the season has only just begun.  Stay tuned.

Kristin Clark

Meteorologist, WeatherNation

August 2009
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