Thursday, July 4, 2019

British Columbia is About to Be Inundated

If you are heading north to a vacation in British Columbia, you might turn around.  It is going to be extraordinarily wet up there. 

Bad for outdoor fun, very good for suppressing wildfires.

You won't believe what I am about to show you.   First, here is the predicted total precipitation through 5 PM Saturday.  Cross the international border and you will get drenched, with some locations getting 2-5 inches.    And this is supposedly the dry season.


Next 72 hours (ending 5 PM Tuesday)?  Much more precipitation in the same east-west band. 

Amazing.  The north Cascades gets a piece of it, as does the northern Rockies.   But look offshore!  An area of rain is heading inland from the southwest, with the Oregon coast starting to get wet.  Will that system hit Washington?


How about the next period?   Here is the 48 h total ending 5 AM Thursday.  Western Oregon and Washington get wet, with roughly an inch of rain.    This event, plus what we have gotten so far, will make this one of wettest Julys in recent memory in western Washington.


What about other forecast systems?  They show the same thing.  Here is the difference from normal (the anomaly) of precipitation for the next 10 days from the highly skillful European model ensemble. 

Major wet anomaly over southern BC, with above normal precipitation extending over western Washington.  Wetter than normal as well over northern Idaho and Montana.

The implication of all this for the summer wildfire and smoke season  in the Northwest is substantial.   The surface over much of the region is moist and will remain so.  There is no hint of developing strong, dry offshore (easterly flow).  Objective measures of fire threat suggest low probabilities (see below).

It is becoming increasingly clear that this will be a very benign July for wildfires and smoke and the forecast models are suggesting that this moist situation will continue into August.   Thus, it is a bit frustrating that certain media outlets and some public officials are still suggesting that there will be an unusually severe wildfire/smoke threat this summer.    And enjoy the fourth tonight...should be dry here in Washington.



22 comments:

  1. This could turn on a dime. Hope not, I hate wildfires, especially when they aren't extinguished quickly

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  2. Now if the Cal earthquake wanders up here in the ring fire...

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  3. Can you just imagine how angry Jay Inslee is?!

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    Replies
    1. He's probably been bellowing "But you PROMISED me a huge wildfire season this year!" at Bill the Science Guy.

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    2. Burn restrictions and bans were put into place earlier than ever before as well as wildland firefithers and resources redistributed--yes it's have a big effect to reduce number of fires and how how quickly they are put out.

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  4. Wow! So confused... Just a couple days ago models were showing warm and dry next week! Was looking forward to that early July four corners high pressure to take over and really get summer started. Maybe a week behind?!?!

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  5. Replies
    1. They must love crow down there - they eat it every day.

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    2. The Seattle Times will never admit an error. Such is the "progressive" way.

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  6. Thank goodness! Maybe we can skip smoke season this year!

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  7. Cliff, in theory, on average if the global surface temperature is increasing we should have less ice, more water and more water vapor, which would in theory mean more clouds and rain long term, on a global scale. I'm sure this theory is over simplified, but is there not some truth to it?

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  8. I'm right here on the San Juan de Fuca Strait for the next ten days, and as for the rain, bring...it...on!

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  9. But what about the promise of fair weather in summer? We don't have enough doom and gloom days in a year?

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  10. Good for BC! As for what's in store for WA, I'll believe it when I see it. "Wettest July in recent memory" isn't saying much, when what we've seen in the last 2 or more years is zero, or pretty close. So far, I'm welcoming the more moderate temps; and would sure welcome more precip. What we seem to get a lot of these years is, as Sting would way, "heavy cloud but ... no rain."

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  11. The interior of BC has been very wet the past month or so which is great news because that's where most of the fires would occur. However the Vancouver area has been dry. Most of the showers have missed Vancouver and if you take away a couple hours of downpours in the early morning of June 27, there's been under an inch of rain over the past 30 days in the Vancouver area. A very dry period no doubt so hopefully some of that rain hits SW BC too but Vancouver usually gets very little rain in a reverse flow or upper low situation at this time of year , while the interior of BC gets hammered.

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  12. I’ve been in Vancouver since Thursday. It did drizzle a little yesterday, and it’s been gray Friday and Saturday. So, if that’s what you mean by “inundated” then okay. But seems a little too drastic to have cancelled plans to come to BC.

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  13. I find the "bring it on" attitude about weeks of rain in July bizarre.

    I'm home from China. I want to swim in mountain lakes and pick peaches off my tree, not sit inside and watch the rain and put on sweaters!

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    Replies
    1. Just do it anyway..swimming in the rain is wonderful. ��

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    2. Swimming in the rain in summer is awesome..you should give it a try. 😃

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  14. Are you saying that you'd rather have a summer of smoke inhalation and 90+ degree weather for days on end? Doesn't China have some of the worst air quality in the world? Sheesh.

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  15. I am tired of cloud cover. I am know counting the minutes for our brief perfect 6 week summer to begin. July 5th has come and gone..

    Not all of us are immigrants from California, and still actually enjoy a few weeks of summer, seeing actual mountains instead of the omnipresence of a grey ceiling.

    Second week of July is now looking dark. Plus the days start to get shorter also.. seconds only but, sunshine is sunshine. LOL.

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  16. So this didn't happen, but scientists can tell us what will happen 50 years from now...

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