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No heat in sight along the West coast through the end of June, but fire threat looms

June 17, 2019; 11:33 AM

After last week started off with scorching, record heat in most places, this week will start off much more typical for June.

Looking ahead, constant troughs moving into the Northwest will really prevent any sizable ridge from setting up shop, which should prevent any more hot days along the West coast through the end of the month.

Temperatures are still running above average east of the Cascades early this week, but that will change later this week as a bigger trough arrives.

Pac NW Cooldown static

Dry weather will be in place for much of the week as well, although shower and thunderstorm chances will increase over the second half of the week in the Northwest as that trough moves into the area.

As things continue to dry out, we will have to be on guard for wildfires this week, with the biggest threat accompanying some wind in the Northwest Wednesday and Thursday. Any thunderstorms that develop will produce lightning that can ignite new fires.

The area of greatest concern will be east of the Cascades in Washington and Oregon. The threat will also be elevated into Idaho and Montana, although rain may help dampen the threat in some areas.

There have already been several notable fires in the West early in the young season:

- The Woodbury Fire burning east of Phoenix, which has grown to nearly 35,000 acres, continues to burn and is still estimated to be a couple of weeks from containment.

- The 243 Fire northeast of Yakima, Washington, burned over 20,000 acres earlier this month.

- There were also a few smaller but notable fires in California. The Sand Fire burned 2,500 acres in the Sacramento Valley, and there was the brush fire that stranded people at Magic Mountain outside of Los Angeles:

Even outside of the Northwest, a gusty breeze will try to develop as far south as northern Nevada and the northern Sierra from later Wednesday into Thursday.

Once that trough slides eastward, a more benign weather pattern will be the rule heading into the upcoming weekend, keeping things mostly dry. However, a potent vort max moving from Vancouver Island southeastward into Washington state could trigger some rain showers from the Olympic Peninsula over toward Seattle on Sunday. The showers may reach as far south as northern Oregon.

Early next week, the weather could have an interesting twist, as both the GFS and Euro are showing a big trough or large closed-off upper-level low near the West Coast.

Western Blog 6/17

An upper-level chart from the early morning run of the American model (the GFS) valid next Monday night, showing a large trough over the West. While the specifics are still fuzzy, an increase in mountain thunderstorms appears likely early next week with this system.

The weather impacts would not be tremendous from this, but it would likely lead to an increase in thunderstorms developing over the higher terrain. Temperatures may come down a few ticks as well but again, it would not be a huge impact.

There's still some uncertainty with that this far out, and the differences in the upper levels between this morning's two runs of the GFS show that well. The ensembles (a combination of several runs of the same computer model with some slight differences to start) do show a pretty notable trough, so that is worth mentioning.

It still looks like it will be difficult for a ridge to build along the West coast through the end of the month, which should prevent any abnormal heat.

The views expressed are those of the author and not necessarily those of AccuWeather, Inc. or AccuWeather.com

More Jordan Root


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