Red Sun = Alberta Fire Smoke Overhead

Did you see it last night and this morning?  A very reddish sun, similar to late summer and early fall when we see smoke from forest fires.  I first saw it during sunset last night, then happened to be briefly awake at 6:03am this morning when the sun came over the hill.  My wife mentioned the red color as well.

Check out the early morning visibile image (7:30am):

There is a fairly obvious swath of smoke from Southern British Columbia down into the Central Valley of California…do you see it?

We ran a story about “the worst forest fires ever” in Central Alberta the last few days.  And you can find more information online.  But how did the smoke move south?  Check out the ECMWF 500mb (about 18,000′) map from Tuesday, valid Tuesday night, about 36 hours previous to the smoke appearance overhead:

You can see the cool upper level low over us.  Note how the flow goes north through Wyoming, Montana, Alberta, then part of the flow swings back west into British Columbia, and some swings back south over the West Coast into the upper low again.  Basically you can just follow the lines.  Looking at this map it seems quite likely that some of that smoke was temporarily pulled down into the Pacific Northwest.

Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen

151 Responses to Red Sun = Alberta Fire Smoke Overhead

  1. pappoose in scappoose says:

    New post

  2. pappoose in scappoose says:

    Can’t believe Cliff Mass actually talked about weather on his weather blog yesterday.

    http://cliffmass.blogspot.com/2011/05/why-does-midwest-us-get-so-many-severe.html

  3. pappoose in scappoose says:

    822 AM PDT TUE MAY 24 2011

    THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN PORTLAND HAS ISSUED A

    * FLOOD WARNING FOR THE COLUMBIA R AT VANCOUVER.
    * FROM THIS AFTERNOON UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE.
    * AT 8 AM TUESDAY THE STAGE WAS…15.9 FEET / MSG CFS.
    * FLOOD STAGE IS 16.0 FEET AND FLOOD FLOW IS MSG CFS.
    * MINOR FLOODING IS FORECAST.
    * FORECAST…THIS RIVER IS FORECAST TO RISE ABOVE FLOOD STAGE AROUND 12 PM TUESDAY…AND IS EXPECTED TO CREST AT 16.0 FT AROUND 4 PM TUESDAY.
    * IMPACT…ABOVE 16 FT…FLOODING IN LOCALIZED AREAS BEGINS BUT IMPACTS ARE MINOR.

  4. Runrain says:

    That weather discussion reads pretty nasty in the short and long term. Tomorrow is going to be quite bleak. A lot of clouds and showers for the long term and snow levels below the passes a couple of times. Is the vegetable growing season now approaching terminal status given the long term outlook?

  5. bgb41 says:

    5/23/2011 Oregon (All) Temperature Summary

    Warmest:
    High:70 at Blalock( 280 ft) & CW3932 Central P(1290 ft)
    Low: 54 at Heppner Jct.(312 ft)

    Coldest:
    High:33 at HOWARD Mt Howard(8150 ft)
    Low: 20 at DESCHUTES PORTAB (5100 ft )

    Largest Diurnal Change: 34 degrees
    DESCHUTES PORTAB (54/20 ) (5100 ft )

    Heaviest Rainfall:
    0.57″ at Scappoose Indust(52ft)
    0.57″ at KE7QYU-13 La Gra(2795ft)

    • bgb41 says:

      Looking at the REGIONAL MAX/MIN TEMP AND PRECIPITATION TABLE from Portland, it shows “M” for the rainfall data for Scappoose.

      http://www.wrh.noaa.gov/mso/textproduct.php?pil=RTP&sid=OR

      However I have verified that two cloudbursts occurred there this afternoon producing 0.57″. One hit around 1:30pm and then the other around 3:00pm. As these showers moved across southern clark county they weakened quickly only producing about a tenth in those areas.

      Here are the Scappoose hour obs from today:
      http://www.wrh.noaa.gov/mesowest/getobext.php?sid=KSPB&table=1&banner=off

      I was driving into Orchards around 2:00pm and saw very black clouds to my west which were those cloudbursts.

    • pappoose in scappoose says:

      Those showers were intense. Was expecting some hail with those as well but didn’t see any.

    • Punxsutawney (aka HIOPHIL) at work by Sunset High elev ~280' says:

      Brian,

      Was it you that mentioned what the number of days below 60 this month that we needed to set a new record for least number of days of 60 or above through the end of May? I think it was 8.

      Anyway it looks like PDX has a good chance of getting the 8th day this month in the next few days, probably tommorow.

      KHIO had this record in the bag by the 3rd day this month and has gone on to blow this record away. More on that later this month.

    • bgb41 says:

      Yes, PDX needs 9 days in the 50’s to break the record.

      Right now we stand at 7.

    • Punxsutawney (aka HIOPHIL) at work by Sunset High elev ~280' says:

      Thanks,

      We need two more then. I think there’s a decent chance of that the next 5 days.

  6. Derek Hodges says:

    The next week overall will be pretty wet. But also it could be showers and sunbreaks which can be fun if we get hail or lightning. I hope so.

    Secondly the 18z does show a pretty spactacular extended period with what would certainly be lots of 70s and 80s.

    • Jesse-Orchards says:

      00Z completely takes the warm extended away.

    • Derek Hodges says:

      Doesn’t surprise me really but I still think at some point the change will be pretty quick to warm.

    • Jesse-Orchards says:

      It’s bound to come at some point, even if this Summer is coolish we won’t be in the upper 50s and low 60s the whole time.

    • Derek Hodges says:

      Very true. The question when it warms up will be will it just warm up to summer time low cloud temps or “real” summer? My feeling has been that eventually we will get some real summer heat but its hard to say this year. On the other hand it wouldn’t really suprise me if we end up very much like last year. What do you think?

    • Jesse-Orchards says:

      Summer is a tough call. I think it may be cooler than average overall, but perhaps not as murky/gloomy as last year.

  7. Timmy_Supercell (Klamath Falls @ 4200') says:

    Current death toll is at 116 people for Joplin, MO. Complete tragedy, looks just like Tuscaloosa did on April 27th.

    And in reply to a few comments, yes, more populated areas are being hit these days, and more often as well. Question is: “How come?”

    Rotten luck or a precursor for more to come?

    • Timmy_Supercell (Klamath Falls @ 4200') says:

      Secondly, construction should re-consider putting any of these buildings back on its spot. Not to sound mean, but what did these areas look like 200 years ago? Corn fields. There is a reason why it was just like that. Because they get tornadoes, giant hail, and flood weather anually.

    • Andrew Johnson says:

      200 years ago there probably wasn’t really anything in that part of Missouri. And they will rebuild because its a city of 50,000 people and the people have to live somewhere. There is risk associated with living anywhere, there is risk associated with being alive. We live on the west coast, our houses could be destroyed in an earthquake, but we build anyways in the hope that there won’t be one or that if there is our house will survive. I agree people shouldn’t built in a perennial floodplain, but not to build because of a tornado or hail threat? We’d have to abandon most Central and Southern United States.

  8. Mike near Clackamas Town Center says:

    Coming in August the old NCEP site will be decomissioned and this is the new link to the NCEP.

    http://mag.ncep.noaa.gov/NCOMAGWEB/appcontroller

  9. Rookie says:

    Rob – any chasers in putnum county ohio? Got a friend there. Tornado warning.

  10. Flood Watch just issued for the Columbia River near Vancouver, 15.7ft (crest is 16ft).

  11. Rob "Wrath" S.E. Portland says:

    Mesoanalysis
    As of 2 PM

    Upper Air Analysis
    850Mb: +3c
    500Mb: -25c

    Thermodynamics
    SBCAPE: 100J/kg
    SBCAP: 0 to -25 CIN
    MUCAPE: 100J/kg
    LIFTED INDEX: +1 to +2
    MID-LEVEL LAPSE RATES: 6.5C/km
    CONVECTIVE TEMP: 54

  12. Rob "Wrath" S.E. Portland says:

    Some heavy showers on radar now near Banks and Yamhill. Time to take a look at Mesoanalysis.

  13. Muxpux says:

    A guy I work with is from the Joplin area, his dad is helping in the search and rescue effort. He just texted saying he found a body. It’s pretty rough for him, having to call and text friends and family to see if they’re all okay…

  14. Mike (Orchards 255') says:

    The people in Joplin are currently under a severe t-storm warning. As if they need any more bad weather.

  15. Jory (Sandy & Downtown Portland) says:

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/travelnews/8531669/Volcanic-ash-plunges-town-into-darkness.html

    Check out this video from a town near to that volcanic eruption in Iceland yesterday.

    WoW… VERY DARK indeed!

  16. Kyle From Silverton says:

    Are we looking at a higher then average chance of tornados for the valley for later spring/early summer leading up to the *big one*?

  17. Pete says:

    View from helicopter of Joplin tornado’s path of destruction. Staggering. http://bit.ly/juFJed

  18. Runrain says:

    We have nothing to complain about in the NW after seeing the destruction in the middle of the country this year. So no one should feel too bad about the fact that in about a month days will start to get shorter again. OK?

  19. Mike near Clackamas Town Center says:

    😯

    • Mike near Clackamas Town Center says:

      I guess the user wouldn’t let me show the video away from Youtube

  20. Mike near Clackamas Town Center says:

    How come tornado’s have been hitting very populated areas lately? The death toll in the Joplin Tornado stands at 89 😦

  21. Punxsutawney (aka HIOPHIL) at work by Sunset High elev ~280' says:

    KHIO has yet to have a day that was above the daily average this month!

    Even the three warm days last week came in below average. No wonder my grapes barely have any leaves on them. Average of -4.8 degrees below the average temp Month to Date at KHIO.

    Both PDX and KHIO logged another sub 60 day yesterday. More than 10 degrees below average on the highs. I also ended up with 1/4″ of rain at my place as it started pouring around 4pm and lighter rain continued through about 8pm.

  22. bgmike says:

    Severe thunderstorm in Joplin again this morning

  23. bgb41 says:

    5/22/2011 Oregon (All) Temperature Summary

    Warmest:
    High:74 at Ontario Municipa(2188 ft)
    Low: 53 at Rufus(185 ft) & CW6568 Charlesto(38 ft) & Meno(98 ft)

    Coldest:
    High:35 at Timberline Lodge(6001 ft)
    Low: 21 at DESCHUTES PORTAB (5100 ft )

    Largest Diurnal Change: 40 degrees
    CABIN LAKE (63/23 ) (4560 ft )

    Heaviest Rainfall:
    0.57″ at KB7DZR Joseph(3984ft)

  24. bgb41 says:

    Here is a graphic showing the top 5 most and least 70 degree days by June 1st in the last 62 years at PDX

    If we don’t hit 70 the rest of May, this will be a new record low of (6) days.

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