June 12, 2024

More Rain for the Northwest is Good News for Wildfires

After a very pleasant dry spell, another rainy period is ahead for the western side of the region and the Cascades on Friday and Saturday.   And there is no hint of heat waves in our future.

Today and Thursday will be partly sunny, with highs in the upper 60s to low 70s in the west, with the Columbia Basin being about 10F warmer.   Typical June weather.

But on Friday, an upper-level low-pressure area (or trough) will be moving in (see below for 8 PM Friday), bringing clouds, showers, and cooler temperatures.

Such features have been persistent this spring.

The forecast 24-h precipitation total ending 5 PM Friday shows showers in the west, with the heaviest precipitation along the coast.  Eastside dry.

The next 24-h (ending 5 PM Saturday) is quite wet in the West, particularly over the western slopes and crest of the Cascades.  

Perhaps not the best day for a Cascade hike.


As the system passes through, the region will dry out on Father's Day (Sunday), except for a band of Puget Sound from the Puget Sound convergence zone and over northeast Washington.


The predicted temperatures for Seattle (below), show a substantial cool-down over the weekend (about 10F below normal on Saturday), but warming to near-normal conditions (low 70s) next week.   Again, add about 10F for the Columbia Basin.


All the gnashing of teeth and predictions about summer drought and wildfire by certain media outlets does not appear to be well-founded.  

Below is the latest one-week predicted significant fire potential by the Northwest Interagency Coordination Center, which is responsible for region wildfire prediction.  Green indicates below-normal potential.   Looks favorable.


The most skillful extended forecast is by the European Center and their latest guidance predicts COOLER than normal conditions for the next month over most of the region (see below)


Of course, we have the challenge of July 4th, where crazy people shooting fireworks start many fires. often in dry grass.  Hopefully, the grass will be moist this year.


14 comments:

  1. While the west side of the Cascades has done quite well on rainfall lately, the eastern slopes have not, especially northern sections where it has been quite dry this spring. The current fire well up lake above Lake Chelan is an indicator of this dry period and much of the east slope area could quickly go into high fire danger if warm temperatures return after this current cool period.

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    1. Wxman.... The Chelan fire has little to do with dry periods. It rained the week before. These is a grass fire on a steep south-facing slope that was started by a house fire. As you may know, such slopes facilitate fire growth..cliff

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  2. Sounds unfounded to put water restrictions on irrigators as well. Happening all across the NW by water resource managers.

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    1. With Keechelus and Kachess reservoirs at 53 and 57 percent of capacity for the Yakima River Basin, I would say water rationing is very well founded.

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  3. Back East their baking in 90+ weather for days on end. At some point this summer will get ours, what goes around comes around.

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    1. Oh that's a scientific observation, "what goes around comes around". Tim, what must it be like to live in your negative world. I am glad I see things differently.

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    2. I feel as though it must be horrible, with a 'doom and gloom' worldview all the time. I guess that's what MSM (King5) and sources like the CPC get you.

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    3. In most cases that is true and we will have hot weather here this summer , I don't remember the last time seattle didn't have 90+ weather during the summer months and I been here for 45 years.

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    4. The data at this site shows summers with 90 degree days in the last 70 years. https://weatherspark.com/h/s/913/1951/1/Historical-Weather-Summer-1951-in-Seattle-Washington-United-States#Figures-Temperature

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    5. 7 times below 90 inthe last 50 years , once in the last 10 , but it's all relevant to where you live in Seattle .

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  4. This spring has been quite cool and with plenty of rainfall in western Whatcom County with BLI comfortably above both it's normal calendar and water year to date precipitation. In fact, this year's April-June period could easily end up colder than that of 2022.

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  5. King5 news said today expect a slightly above normal wildfire season for Washington and above normal temperatures this summer. I'm getting my AC ready this weekend.

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    1. I hope you analyze more than just this one source for both your news and weather. Personally I'd be more inclined to believe Cliff when he says it will be cool for the next few weeks, rather than King5's fear mongering. But you do you.

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  6. Cliff, there are no predictions about summer drought, our state declared a drought last fall. The state has even taken the extraordinary step of passing legislation several years ago to restrict HOAs from penalizing homeowners that replace grass with drought tolerant and fire resistant landscaping. Is an interesting time as even HOA boards are forced to accept zeroscaping strategies in the PNW.

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Please make sure your comments are civil. Name calling and personal attacks are not appropriate.

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