All Weather News

Quicksand Alert, Spreading Wildfires

18 Aug 2012, 12:01 pm

Tempting New Beaches

New beaches appearing due to abnormally dry conditions along the Mississippi are tempting swimmers and boaters but experts say it is a dangerous situation.

AP Photo/Robert Ray

Here’s more from the Washington Post: “A lack of rain in the United States’ midsection in recent months has reduced water levels in some of the nation’s biggest rivers, exposing sandbars that experts warn could be deadly quicksand. Rivers such as the Mississippi and Missouri are typically low in August, but this year’s drought has them at their lowest point in decades. The sandbars that are revealed look like beaches, inviting boaters, fishermen and hikers to venture out. Experts agree that can be a very bad idea. Steve Barry, emergency management chief for the Corps of Engineers office in Memphis, Tenn., said the exposed sand looks dry on top but it is really saturated mud. Combined with the undercurrent of water in the fast-moving rivers, that creates a true danger.”

Diagram from: http://www.unmuseum.org/quicksand.htm.

Fire Potential

Photo from: http://www.oregonlive.com/pacific-northwest-news/index.ssf/2012/08/firefighters_are_holding_the_l.html

Dry, stormy conditions in the Northwest make for a dangerous combination that could lead to explosive fire growth.  High temperatures yesterday around the Pacific Northwest climbed into the upper 90s and near 100 in many spots.  Today it is quite a bit cooler but storm threat is higher and with not much moisture in the atmosphere, there could be dry lightning.  That can ignite the wildfires, which would then be spread by the gusty winds also accompanying those thunderstorms.  Some communities are already preparing for the worst.

More details from Reuters: “All told, the fires have charred more than half a million acres across Idaho, Washington, Oregon and California, destroying homes and outbuildings, forcing hundreds of people to evacuate ahead of the flames and killing a young firefighter. In Idaho, authorities advised some 1,000 residents around the central communities of Featherville and Pine to prepare to evacuate on Wednesday as a blaze that has consumed more than 63,000 acres raged just miles from the two towns. “We’re adopting a posture that it’s not if it’s going to hit Featherville and Pine, but when,” Elmore County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Gary Walker said, adding that the early warning is designed to prevent “a big, mass confusion once we have to get people out of there.”The Trinity Ridge fire that threatens Featherville and Pine erupted after a utility terrain vehicle caught fire on August 3. Strong winds sent flames racing across parched grasslands and sagebrush and into tinder-dry pine forests, federal fire information officer Brandon Hampton said.”

Red Flag Warnings in effect for the areas most likely to be affected by these conditions.

From the National Weather Service:

...LIGHTNING EVENT ON SATURDAY AND SATURDAY NIGHT HAS THE
POTENTIAL TO START NEW FIRES...

.ISOLATED TO SCATTERED THUNDERSTORMS ARE EXPECTED TO SPREAD
ACROSS ALL OF WESTERN WASHINGTON TODAY WITH ONLY SMALL AMOUNTS OF
RAINFALL. LIGHTNING IS EXPECTED TO AFFECT THE COAST AND OLYMPIC
PENINSULA IN THE MORNING AND EARLY AFTERNOON...THEN THE LIGHTNING
THREAT WILL EXPAND EAST TO THE CASCADES BY LATE AFTERNOON AND
EVENING...POSSIBLY LINGERING OVER THE CASCADES THROUGH THE NIGHT.
GIVEN VERY DRY FUEL CONDITIONS... LIGHTNING HAS THE POTENTIAL TO
START NEW WILDFIRES.

State Fair Forecast

On a lighter note, it’s start fair season.  State fairs popping up all around the Midwest, Ohio Valley, and the Northwest.  Most the these areas are enjoying some sunshine and a little break from the heat.

Iowa State Fair

Photo from: http://www.desmoinesregister.com/article/20120809/ENT/308090008/Datebook-Best-Bets-Aug-9

Des Moines: Slight chance of a few scattered showers today but its only 77!  If you can dodge the rain, it’s a comfortable day.

Missouri State Fair

 

Photo From: http://thinkoutsidethebarn.com/mda/2010/06/grownativefair.html

Sedalia: Plenty of sun with highs in the upper 80s.  Lather on the sunscreen.

Kentucky State Fair

Photo from: The Kentucky State Fair Board

Louisville: Clear and calm and not that hot! Highs only in the low 80s, much cooler than average.  Slight chance of showers tomorrow so today is probably the nicer day of the weekend.

Idaho State Fair

Photo From: http://www.visitidaho.org/photos/view/?id=6384

Boise: Very hot!  Up to 99 today.  Carry along a bottle of water.

Illinois State Fair

Photo From: http://www.destination360.com/north-america/us/illinois/illinois-state-fair

Springfield: Doesn’t get much better than this!  Upper 70s and sunshine to go along with those mild temperatures.

Enjoy the weekend!

Meteorologist Gretchen Mishek

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