Warm & Dry Weather To Continue, Fire Danger High Thursday/Friday

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While we’ve had some early storminess in September, it appears the current stretch of dry and warm weather will continue for at least the next 1.5 – 2 weeks as a large ridge in the western U.S. actually strengthens and supports troughing in the eastern U.S.

General pattern outlook for the next week or two.

General pattern outlook for the next week or two.

In the short term, a cold and deep trough pushing across the Pacific Northwest will slide into the Great Basin Thursday into Friday, significantly tightening pressure gradients over northern California. In addition to the tight pressure gradient, a 60 – 90kt jet will also blast portions of the region.

Late Wednesday night, winds should begin increasing in the mountains and valley, and by Thursday morning, portions of the valley and northern foothills/mountains could see some 25 – 35mph wind gusts. While not extremely strong, they are well strong enough to heighten fire danger as humidities drop due to the dry north flow.

Thursday evening things get real interesting. Winds in the valley remain about the same, while in the western slope of the sierra/northern foothills and especially canyons in this region a NE to SW barrier jet develops of the northern sierra and downslopes, creating potential for some very strong winds. 00z NAM indicates 850mb winds of 50 – 55kts in this region (also shaded in magenta in the map above) from Thursday evening into Friday morning. The strong downsloping/barrier effect could drive down some 40 – 50kt (45 – 55mph) surface gusts in favored regions. This would create a region of even more significant fire danger.

Wind gust forecast for Thursday into Friday.

Wind gust forecast for Thursday into Friday.

Apart from the couple days of wind and increased fire danger, it appears we’ll remain dry and seasonal to perhaps at times warmer than average for the next week or two. Not seeing any threat of precipitation in this time period, as expected with a ridgy pattern. Things can always change, though, models aren’t perfect.

We typically do see a system or two in October, usually towards the later part of the month. We’ll have to see if we follow the average yearly pattern, seeing how we’ve already seeing some exceptionally early fall-like systems.

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