For a more recent update on the California Wildfires and Hurricane Jimena, CLICK HERE
Whenever there is a disaster, reporters tend to go back to the old treasure chest of cliches. In the event of a tornado, one can always expect tired phrases such as “cars were tossed liked toys” or perhaps “homes reduced to kindling” and naturally, when it comes to people they are always left to “pick up the pieces of their lives.” The UK Telegraph has gotten some inspiration and provides a time-lapse photography photojournalism spread of the fires. And there are California Wildfire Photo Galleries from many sources. But, for the most part, the wildfires in California have resulted in journalists revealing their lack of creativity by returning to the attic of adjectives by telling us of the “tinder dry” conditions. I saw an anchorman described “howling winds” only to have the reporter on the scene say that there were not windy conditions normally associated with Southern California wildfires. However, it must be pointed out that local winds will increase around the fires..perhaps up to 30 mph simply from the fire itself creating the winds. Well, almost anytime there is a fire in Southern California, saying conditions are “tinder dry” would probably be accurate. See, the area does not get that much rain. That is why they write songs that say things like it “seems it never rains in Southern California.” The Los Angeles average rainfall is only about 14 inches. Los Angeles water sources includes about 30% from groundwater and the remains from other sources including the Colorado River.
The current fire season has been difficult and aside from the tragic loss in life and destruction of property and disruption to ecosystems, the fiscal cost to the state is going to make the financial crisis in California even worse. They are only 2 months into the fiscal year but have already spent nearly two thirds of the fire protection budget. Reports have a bit of encouragement as the big Station Fire is said to be 5% contained with a hope to have it 10% contained shortly. That means its still 90% out of control and some estimates reveal an expectation of it not being totally contained, not doused, for another two weeks.
The California Emergency Management Interactive Fire Map shows that there are other fires in California. There is a very large number of incident reports constantly being updated. But the Station Fire is the largest having grown to about 121,000 square acres by Tuesday evening. It continues to threaten the communications towers on top of Mt. Wilson and the FCC is setting out a plan to help should the towers be compromised. Weather conditions are not expected to change too much though I’ve seen that patchy fog is expected to start appearing in the next few mornings which leads me to believe that there will be an increase in the moisture content of the air. Temperatures are also forecast to back off. But, don’t expect much in the way of help from Hurricane Jemina.
Hurricane Jemina is losing some of its punch and will continue to do so. While news reporters have reveled in reporting it was a category 4 hurricane was heading toward Baja California, they didn’t mention too much that it was forecast to weaken. There is something called the California Stream. Its the opposite of the Gulf Stream in the Atlantic that Benjamin Franklin discovered is a natural current that transports warm water from around the Gulf of Mexico to up near England. The California Stream takes cold water from Alaska and transports it down the Pacific Coast of the US. Hurricane Jimena is running into some of that cold water off the west coast of Baja California. But, the structures in many areas of Baja California are pretty much substandard so even a hurricane with 100 mph winds will cause trouble. The exact track of the storm is a bit up in the air. But there is ridge in Mexico that seems to generally be in charge of the steering which means that the storm will eventually end up in northern New Mexico and probably whats left of it will get caught up in a front in the United States and make its way to the Ohio Valley or northern plains. It is improbable that the hurricane will turn toward Southern California. I suspect that the only thing it will do is maybe increase humidity levels a shade and cause the wind flow to take a more consistent northerly component.
HURRICANE JIMENA DISCUSSION NUMBER 17
NWS TPC/NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL EP132009
200 PM PDT TUE SEP 01 2009
EARLIER DATA FROM AN AIR FORCE RESERVE HURRICANE HUNTER AIRCRAFT
INDICATED THAT JIMENA WAS COMPLETING ITS EYEWALL REPLACEMENT
CYCLE…WITH THE INNER EYE DISSIPATING AND THE NEW EYE ABOUT
25-30 N MI ACROSS. THE AIRCRAFT DATA SUGGEST AN INTENSITY NEAR
115 KT AT THAT TIME. SINCE THEN…THE CLOUD TOPS NEAR THE CENTER
HAVE WARMED AND THE EYE HAS NOT CLEARED OUT. BASED ON THIS…IT IS
ESTIMATED THAT JIMENA HAS WEAKENED A LITTLE MORE…AND THE INITIAL
INTENSITY IS REDUCED TO 110 KT.
THE INITIAL MOTION IS 330/10. JIMENA IS FORECAST TO CONTINUE IN A
GENERAL NORTH-NORTHWESTERLY DIRECTION DURING THE NEXT COUPLE OF
DAYS BETWEEN A MID/UPPER-LEVEL LOW WEST OF THE BAJA PENINSULA AND A
MID-LEVEL RIDGE OVER NORTHERN MEXICO…WITH ALL THE TRACK GUIDANCE
REMAINING IN AGREEMENT WITH THIS SCENARIO. THE FORECAST BECOMES
LESS CONFIDENT FROM 72 HR ON DUE TO A LARGE SPREAD IN THE GUIDANCE.
THE GFDL AND GFDN STILL CALL FOR JIMENA TO TURN NORTHEASTWARD
ACROSS NORTHWESTERN MEXICO AND THE SOUTHWESTERN UNITED STATES. THE
REST OF THE DYNAMICAL GUIDANCE EITHER STALLS THE CYCLONE OVER
CENTRAL BAJA CALIFORNIA OR TURNS IT WESTWARD INTO THE PACIFIC.
THIS APPEARS TO BE DUE TO HIGHER PRESSURES DEVELOPING NORTH OF THE
CYCLONE…AND THE SYSTEM SHEARING APART AS STRONG UPPER-LEVEL
WESTERLY FLOW DEVELOPS. THE NEW FORECAST TRACK IS AN UPDATE OF THE
PREVIOUS THROUGH THROUGH 72 HR…AND THEN IS SLOWER THAN THE
PREVIOUS TRACK THEREAFTER. THE NEW TRACK IS JUST RIGHT OF THE
CENTER OF THE DYNAMICAL GUIDANCE THROUGH 72 HR…AND CLOSE TO THE
MODEL CONSENSUS THEREAFTER. THE NEW TRACK CALLS FOR LANDFALL ON
THE CENTRAL BAJA CALIFORNIA PENINSULA IN ABOUT 36 HR.
IT NOW APPEARS UNLIKELY THAT THERE WILL BE NOTABLE INTENSIFICATION
AT THE END OF THE EYEWALL REPLACEMENT CYCLE…AS JIMENA IS STARTING
TO MOVE OVER COOLER SEA SURFACE TEMPERATURES. A FASTER WEAKENING
SHOULD OCCUR AFTER LANDFALL…AND AN EVEN FASTER WEAKENING SHOULD
OCCUR WITH THE ONSET OF STRONG WESTERLY VERTICAL SHEAR IN ABOUT 72
HR. THE NEW INTENSITY FORECAST IS SIGNIFICANTLY LOWER THAN THAT OF
THE PREVIOUS ADVISORY…AND THERE IS A CHANCE THAT JIMENA COULD
WEAKEN MORE THAN FORECAST AFTER LANDFALL.
INTERESTS IN THE HURRICANE WARNING AREA ARE ADVISED THAT STRONG
WINDS WILL PRECEDE THE ARRIVAL OF THE CENTER BY SEVERAL HOURS…SO
PREPARATIONS NEED TO BE COMPLETED VERY SOON. REMEMBER NOT TO FOCUS
ON THE EXACT FORECAST TRACK SINCE DANGEROUS IMPACTS EXTEND SOME
DISTANCE FROM THE CENTER. THE FORECAST TRACK OF JIMENA IS ALMOST
PARALLEL TO THE COAST OF BAJA CALIFORNIA…AND SMALL DEVIATIONS
LEFT OR RIGHT OF THE TRACK COULD RESULT IN LARGE ERRORS IN BOTH THE
LOCATION AND TIMING OF LANDFALL.
FORECAST POSITIONS AND MAX WINDS
INITIAL 01/2100Z 21.9N 111.2W 110 KT
12HR VT 02/0600Z 23.3N 112.0W 105 KT
24HR VT 02/1800Z 25.2N 112.7W 95 KT
36HR VT 03/0600Z 26.5N 113.1W 85 KT
48HR VT 03/1800Z 27.6N 113.4W 55 KT…INLAND
72HR VT 04/1800Z 28.5N 113.5W 35 KT…INLAND
96HR VT 05/1800Z 29.5N 113.5W 25 KT…OVER WATER
120HR VT 06/1800Z 30.5N 113.5W 20 KT…REMNANT LOW