All Weather News

Gordon Approaches the Azores, Fire Threat Continues in the US and Abroad

19 Aug 2012, 11:24 am

Hurricane Gordon

Hurricane Gordon approaches the Azores today.  Webcams in the Islands showing clouds are already streaming overhead and as the wind and rain will be increasing tonight.

Webcam from: http://www.azoreswebcams.com/sao-miguel-webcam-ponta-delgada/

Webcam from: http://www.azoreswebcams.com/sao-miguel-webcam-ponta-delgada/

 Webcam from: http://www.azoreswebcams.com/sao-miguel-webcam-ponta-delgada/

http://www.azoreswebcams.com/lagoa-populo-beach/

Latest enhanced imagery of Gordon:

Track of Gordon shows it heading towards Portugal by the end of the week but rapidly deteriorating as it encounters more wind shear, which will tear it apart.  If it reaches Portugal it will most likely have lost its hurricane status.

Only a handful of tropical cyclones have impacted the Azores in recorded history. Map shows the track the prior storms.

The island that Gordon will pass closest to is Santa Maria. Santa Maria hasn’t ever had a direct hit from a storm, although they have passed nearby and still have brought hurricane conditions to the island. From Wikipedia: “…Most of them were either extratropical or tropical storms when they impacted the region, although several Category 1 hurricanes have reached the Azores. The following storms have impacted the region while at Category 1 strength; Hurricane Fran in 1973, Hurricane Emmy in 1976 and Hurricane Gordon in 2006. Several tropical storms have hit the region, including; Tropical Storm Irma in 1978, Hurricane Bonnie in 1992 and Hurricane Erika in 1997. Storms that were extratropical when they impacting the region include Hurricane Tanya in 1995, Tropical Storm Ana in 2003 and Tropical Storm Grace in 2009. In addition, the 2005 Azores subtropical storm impacted the region in October 2005.

Considering the difficulty of traveling to the Azores, this isn’t a place that US tourists often visit.  (A quick flight search showed flights originating in the US were often routed through Amsterdam or Portugal and involve a couple days of air travel, not to mention thousands of dollars just for the flight).  So with that being said, most folks, myself included, are not all that familiar with these islands.  When I think of the Azores, the first thing that comes to mind is a meeting spot for foreign and American dignitaries. And they’ve picked a gorgeous spot!  Do a quick Google image search of the Azores and you’ll probably agree.  So here’s a little climate background: Air temperature changes very little over the annual cycle and remains mild but not hot year round (60s and 70s).

Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 16.0
(60.8)
15.8
(60.4)
16.3
(61.3)
17.1
(62.8)
18.6
(65.5)
20.9
(69.6)
23.6
(74.5)
24.8
(76.6)
23.8
(74.8)
21.2
(70.2)
18.8
(65.8)
17.0
(62.6)
19.49
(67.08)
Average low °C (°F) 11.5
(52.7)
11.1
(52.0)
11.6
(52.9)
12.1
(53.8)
13.4
(56.1)
15.5
(59.9)
17.7
(63.9)
18.7
(65.7)
18.1
(64.6)
16.1
(61.0)
14.1
(57.4)
12.6
(54.7)
14.38
(57.88)
Precipitation cm (inches) 11.17
(4.398)
10.86
(4.276)
9.96
(3.921)
8.52
(3.354)
5.96
(2.346)
4.85
(1.909)
3.26
(1.283)
5.69
(2.24)
9.63
(3.791)
12.4
(4.88)
12.95
(5.098)
13.63
(5.366)
109.05
(42.933)
Source: Instituto de Meteorologia, IP Portugal.[28]

Western Wildfires

Conditions are still favorable for high growth potential for the wildfires in the Northwest.  Dry thunderstorms will produce lightning and gusty winds but very little rain.  That creates in which fires are started and spread quickly.  The area under the highest threat for this type of behavior are under a Red Flag Warning.

From the National Weather Service:

THE RED FLAG WARNING IS NOW IN EFFECT UNTIL MIDNIGHT MDT TONIGHT.

* THUNDERSTORMS...SCATTERED THUNDERSTORMS WITH DANGEROUS
  LIGHTNING.

* OUTFLOW WINDS...GUSTY THUNDERSTORM WINDS UP TO 45 MPH.

Aerial photo of the Taylor Bridge Fire (near Ellensburg, in Central WA)

Photo From: http://www.columbian.com/news/2012/aug/18/lightning-heat-keep-wests-wildfires-going/

From the Washington Times: “The Trinity Ridge fire burning through timber grew 15 square miles overnight. High temperatures combined with low humidity and difficult terrain made it harder for the 1,082 firefighters assigned to the blaze. Fire spokeswoman Lisa Machnik said Saturday that three firefighters suffered ankle and knee injuries because of the rough terrain. In Utah, evacuations were ordered for two housing developments after three separate fires were reported near the Jordanelle Reservoir east of Park City.”

 Greece Fires

US is not alone in the wildfire fight. Greece has also been battling raging and damaging fires this weekend.

Photo from: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2190272/Chios-forest-Residents-flee-villages-firefighters-battle-massive-wall-flames-Greek-Island.html

From the Telegraph: “The fire started in the early hours of Saturday morning, with gale force winds pushing it southward. Billowing brown smoke choked the island, which lies northeast of Athens off the coast of Turkey, as 21 fire engines and dozens of volunteers battled the flames to prevent them from reaching the cluster of villages that traditionally produce the rare mastic tree resin, which only grows on Chios. The mastic resin is used as a natural chewing gum, a cooking spice and for pharmaceutical and culinary purposes. Scores of mastic orchards were destroyed, their melted resin forming white circles around the burned trees and putting at risk many islanders’ livelihood. More firemen and trucks arrived from all over the country on Sunday to help fight the flames, but the gale force winds made containing the fires, which difficult. Shortly after being appointed in June, the country’s Civil Protection Minister Nikos Dendias said Greece was not ready for the forest fire season and faced a shortage of aircraft.The government has requested the assistance of water-bombing aircraft from Spain and Italy to help with summer wildfires. “

Check back for more updates!

Meteorologist Gretchen Mishek

 

 

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