Unusual Heat and Dry Weather Triggers Forest Fires (Photo Credit: Tropical Tidbits)
In midst of some of the worst California fires in recent memories, our friends from across the Atlantic have been dealing with similar conditions recently and throughout the summer. Portugal has a very similar climate to California, they are both coastal landmasses, influenced by large oceans, and typically have a wet and dry season. The problem this summer in Portugal has been the extreme heat and the aridity accompanied with high winds which create the fire conditions we so often see and hear about along the western United States.
The beginning of October in Portugal featured above normal temperatures and dry conditions, a “loaded gun” setup for fires to develop. The only thing missing was breezy winds. Unfortunately, hurricane Ophelia decided to spin up in the Atlantic at this time and track close enough to bring stiff sustained winds to the region without the benefit of moisture, making for a worst-case scenario. A country that went through the deadliest forest fire in its history four months ago, with 64 losing their life, are mourning as around 40 more met their demise this October.
Some relief developed after Ophelia’s passing, as a cold front moved through the country providing some moisture and cooler temperatures. This pattern has not lasted as the recent trend features more of the same, a summer type pattern with a ridge over head for the next few days, drier than normal conditions (PWAT anomalies), and temperatures well above average (temperature anomalies), all arranged in order chronologically above. The first image presents the 500mb height pattern on November 1st, which keeps warm dry weather in western Europe throughout this time. The next image is for the same time period, November 1st, which shows the precipitable water anomalies, a measure of how dry the air is compared to average with brown colors meaning below average. The third photo presented is the temperature anomalies, red being well above normal temperatures for this time. All of these ingredients will continue to present a forest fire risk across Portugal.
This pattern will be watched by GWCC throughout the rest of October and beyond. Stay up to the date on the latest fire weather news here!
©Forecaster Joe DeLizio
While the remnants of hurricanes occasionally affect the British Isles, Hurricane Ophelia is going to be much stronger than the average United Kingdom (U.K.) storm. As of early this Sunday morning, Ophelia, still a category 2 hurricane (Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale), was forecast to become extra-tropical before land-falling in Ireland on Monday. Still, Ophelia, with a large storm force wind field (winds 39 to 73 miles per hour)…To read the full story, click here - http://www.weatherworks.com/lifelong-learning-blog/?p=1423
© 2017 H. Michael Mogil
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Hurricane Ophelia Threatening Northwestern Europe (credit: NWS National Hurricane Center)
DISCUSSION: As we continue to watch Hurricane Ophelia spin over the eastern Atlantic Ocean, there continue to be increasing concerns regarding the future of this evolving tropical cyclone. Over the next couple of days, Hurricane Ophelia will be undergoing a process known as extra-tropical transition within which Ophelia will lose many critical tropical characteristics (including but not limited to) losing the tropical cyclone's signature warm-core low and shifting towards a cold-core low. However, despite various thinking across social media, this does not necessarily mean that Ophelia will lose a substantial amount of core intensity. Rather, during a typical process of extra-tropical transition, a tropical cyclone can often maintain a relatively large percentage of its maximum intensity just prior to undergoing extra-tropical transition.
In looking to later in the weekend and on towards Monday, the latest intensity and track forecast has Hurricane Ophelia impacting Ireland by Monday morning and afternoon. In all likelihood, this storm will deliver strong/gusty winds as well as fairly heavy rainfall to much of Ireland before heading further north on towards the northern British Isles. Thus, many people living across far NW Europe will soon be at risk from incoming impacts projected from an evolving Hurricane Ophelia.
To learn more about other high-impact weather events occurring across Europe, be sure to click here!
©2017 Meteorologist Jordan Rabinowitz