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Severe Weather Threat Enhances Fire Risk in Pacific Northwest

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Severe weather is fraught with its own set of risks: Large hail, severe winds and even tornadoes. But, the main concern for the severe weather in the Pacific Northwest, on Tuesday, is lightning.

Why? This summer has been incredibly dry for most of the West Coast. States like California, Oregon and Washington have been dealing with on-going drought conditions for months now. California, the state worst hit by this protracted drought, reports that this is one of the driest periods in the state’s history.

This drought has created tinderbox conditions for much of the West and wildfires have been raging for months.

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Any storms that develop the Tuesday afternoon will be “dry thunderstorms.” Meaning they aren’t likely to bring much in the way of rain, but they are more than capable of producing lightning. That lightning could, unfortunately, ignite more blazes in fire-weary states.

Strong outflow — or winds created by the thunderstorm — could act to fan the flames of any nearby fires, helping to more quickly spread them. The rapid spreading of the wildfires could be very problematic the men and women battling the blazes, the Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Okla. says, “This remains a dangerous situation for firefighters today.”

Due to the volatile mix of fuel, gusty winds and lightning, red flag warnings have been issued for a large part of the Pacific Northwest. This means conditions are favorable for wildfire development. If you live in these areas, outdoor burning is not prohibited in many locations.

The extended outlook doesn’t look much better in the West. While the chance for thunderstorms is likely to slightly wan, no steady, beneficial rainfall is forecasted in the next seven days. Couple that with drier air and gusty winds by the weekend and you’ve got a recipe for continued fire weather.

WeatherNation meteorologists will be keeping an eye on this for you.

Meteorologist Alan Raymond

One response to “Severe Weather Threat Enhances Fire Risk in Pacific Northwest

  1. Thank you, WeatherNationtv for having the courage to report smoke and fire. Other weather channels seem to think it might be unpatriotic or something.

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