California Fires Continue Expansion, Kill Two Firefighters; Hurricane Jimena headed North


California Wildfires

Modern Borate Bomber

Modern Borate Bomber

for an update on the california wildfires and hurriane jimena CLICK HERE

If I still lived where I did in my early years, I’d be out of a home. The Station Wildfire near Los Angeles is burning out of control and late Monday reports say that over 12,000 homes are threatened from Pasadena to La Crescenta. I used to go to the YMCA at La Crescenta and I recally once a big brush fire behind the our house. From the YMCA I could see the powerline standards that were behind our house and I remember my mother frantically picking me up from the Y and screaming at me to get into the car as I said, “did you see all of that smoke by our house?” We didn’t get evacuated but there were ashes raining down on our house like snow. All of the houses on our street had rock roofs. There were what we called Borate Bombers, which was the reddish chemical retardant that they put on fires. They roared over our house. I believe at that time Borate Bombers were old B-17 bombers. They don’t use them any more but I’m pretty sure that the red stuff that they drop is the Borax based Borate we always used to see.   I don’t think that when we lived there, La Canada was considered an “exclusive community.”

California WildfiresThe California Wildfire Interactive Map from the CA Emergency Management Agency shows that the Station Fire, as its known, started right by Angeles Crest Highway and has caused the death of two firefighters. I remember when they built that from a two lane road into a wide thoroughfare. It started kinda between Mt. Wilson and our house. Well, there aren’t any big winds so this thing is expanding in several directions. At the top of Mt. Wilson is a famous observatory that shows up in many movies. There are also a whole bunch of tv and radio towers and other transmission towers. I remember KTTV used to advertise that they transmitted “high atop Mt. Wilson.” The Mt. Wilson Observatory and the communications towers on Mt. Wilson are threatened. If they go down, it will be interesting to see what happens…it also may be dangerous as I suspect emergency communications depend on a relay at the top of the mountain.   There are also many fires in the state as outlined fire incident reports from the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.   The  fire story is making global news as the Times of India passed along the report of 2 fatalities from the fires. 

Hurricane Jimena 00:30Z Rainbow IR 09/01/09

Hurricane Jimena 00:30Z Rainbow IR 09/01/09

Hurricane Jimena Water Vapor Image 00:30 Sept 1, 2009

Hurricane Jimena Water Vapor Image 00:30 Sept 1, 2009

The region is extremely dry.   There may be some hope though in the form of Hurricane Jimena which is a powerful hurricane doing a rather odd thing.  It is approaching Category 5 status which is pretty rare for a storm off the Mexican Pacific Coast.  This guy has a central pressure on Monday afternoon of 931 mb.  That is pretty wild and very very unusual for a storm in this location.   It is not completely uncommon but not typical for a storm to also move north. It is expected to do so across Baja California and then continue into the Southwestern United States.   Now, when a storm does that, it rapidly loses its intensity so I would not expect it to bring drenching rains to  Southern California.  If you look at the water vapor image to te left, you can see all of the extreme dry air to the northwest of Jimena.  But, it could very possibly increase the general humidity levels which would be a help.    As we get toward the weekend a strong shortwave seems to want to show up in the flow on some of the models and move off the coast into the Los Angeles area.  That too may prove to be a help from Mother Nature. 

NHC Hurricane Jimena Forecast Track 5pm PDT Aug 31, 2009

NHC Hurricane Jimena Forecast Track 5pm PDT Aug 31, 2009

HURRICANE JIMENA DISCUSSION NUMBER  13
NWS TPC/NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL   EP132009
200 PM PDT MON AUG 31 2009

THE AIR FORCE RESERVE HURRICANE HUNTERS HAVE JUST COMPLETED THEIR
MISSION IN JIMENA…AND FOUND THAT THE HURRICANE WAS STRONGER THAN
PREVIOUSLY ESTIMATED. PEAK 700 MB FLIGHT-LEVEL WINDS WERE 149 KT
AND THE MAXIMUM SFMR-MEASURED SURFACE WINDS WERE 132 KT OVER THE
NORTHEAST QUADRANT. THE SFMR ALSO MEASURED 128 KT IN THE NORTHWEST
EYEWALL AND 125 KT IN THE SOUTHWEST PART OF THE EYEWALL. A MINIMUM
CENTRAL PRESSURE OF 931 MB WAS MEASURED BY DROPSONDE. THE CURRENT
INTENSITY IS ADJUSTED UPWARD TO 135 KT…AT THE VERY HIGH END OF
CATEGORY 4 STATUS. FLUCTUATIONS IN STRENGTH ARE LIKELY DURING THE
NEXT DAY OR SO DUE TO INNER CORE EVENTS…PRIMARILY EYEWALL
REPLACEMENTS. HOWEVER THE SHIPS MODEL INDICATES A GRADUAL DECREASE
IN OCEANIC HEAT CONTENT AND SOME INCREASE IN WEST-SOUTHWESTERLY
SHEAR DURING THE NEXT 36 HOURS. HOWEVER THESE ENVIRONMENTAL
INFLUENCES SHOULD NOT PREVENT JIMENA FROM MAINTAINING MAJOR
HURRICANE STRENGTH PRIOR TO LANDFALL. THE OFFICIAL INTENSITY
FORECAST IS A BLEND OF THE SHIPS AND LGEM GUIDANCE.

AFTER WOBBLING WEST-NORTHWESTWARD A FEW HOURS AGO…THE MOTION IS
BACK TO NORTHWEST OR 315/9.  THERE HAS BEEN LITTLE CHANGE TO THE
TRACK FORECAST PHILOSOPHY.  JIMENA IS LIKELY TO MOVE BETWEEN A
MID-LEVEL RIDGE OVER NORTHWESTERN MEXICO AND A MID- TO UPPER-LEVEL
CYCLONE JUST TO THE WEST OF THE BAJA PENINSULA.  THE U.K. MET.
OFFICE GLOBAL MODEL…LIKE THE ECMWF GLOBAL MODEL…PREVIOUSLY
WESTERN OUTLIERS…HAVE SHIFTED EASTWARD AND ARE NOW IN GENERAL
AGREEMENT WITH THE OTHER DYNAMICAL MODELS.  HOWEVER THE U.K. AND
ECMWF ARE STILL SOMEWHAT SLOWER THAN MOST OF THE GUIDANCE.  THE
OFFICIAL FORECAST IS SIMILAR TO THE PREVIOUS ONE AND ABOUT IN THE
MIDDLE OF THE DYNAMICAL TRACK MODEL SUITE.

NO CHANGES TO THE WATCHES AND WARNINGS ARE NECESSARY AT THIS TIME.
INTERESTS IN THE WARNING AREA SHOULD BE ADVISED THAT STRONG WINDS
WILL PRECEDE THE ARRIVAL OF THE CENTER BY SEVERAL HOURS…SO
PREPARATIONS NEED TO BE COMPLETED AS EARLY AS POSSIBLE.
ALSO…INTERESTS IN THE WARNING AREA ARE REMINDED…NOT TO FOCUS
ON THE EXACT FORECAST TRACK.  A HURRICANE IS NOT A POINT…AND
DANGEROUS IMPACTS EXTEND SOME DISTANCE FROM THE CENTER.  IN
FACT…THE AIR FORCE RECONNAISSANCE OBSERVATIONS SHOW THAT JIMENA
IS LARGER THAN PREVIOUS ESTIMATED.  MOREOVER…TRACK FORECAST
ERRORS CAN EASILY BE 50 TO 75 MILES IN THE 24 TO 36 HOUR TIME
FRAME.

FORECAST POSITIONS AND MAX WINDS

INITIAL      31/2100Z 18.5N 109.2W   135 KT
12HR VT     01/0600Z 19.6N 110.1W   130 KT
24HR VT     01/1800Z 21.6N 111.1W   125 KT
36HR VT     02/0600Z 23.6N 111.8W   115 KT
48HR VT     02/1800Z 25.5N 112.2W    85 KT
72HR VT     03/1800Z 27.8N 112.7W    50 KT…INLAND
96HR VT     04/1800Z 29.5N 113.0W    50 KT…OVER WATER
120HR VT     05/1800Z 31.0N 113.0W    30 KT…INLAND

$$
FORECASTER PASCH

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