Extreme Heat and Super Heat Low in Eastern Washington

Tomorrow should be a record-breaking day in eastern Washington with temperatures surging above 105F in a number of locations, accompanied skin-cracking low humidities and even moderate winds.

The forecast surface temperatures for tomorrow are simply stunning, with the Columbia Basin being ground zero for the warmth (the white areas are above 104F!),

The map of relative humidity at the same time shows some locations getting down to around 10%—extraordinarily low.  Seattle will be dry….but no where as arid.

The eastern Washington/Oregon heat is associated with a feature known as a thermal or heat low, something made clear by the sea level pressure map at that time.   Warm air has less density than cooler air, which contributes to the low sea level pressure.  Look closely and you will see the pressure lines will be close together  over eastern Washington.  Such large pressure differences will produce stong wins, in this care strong easterly winds.

With extreme warmth, low humidities, and strong winds, the USDA Forest Service HOT-DRY-WINDY wildfire index will be very high.  Brian Potter, a wildfire expert at the Forest Service, told me that he gets very worried when the index gets over 600…which it does in several locations tomorrow.

Let’s hope there is no fire ignition by a scattered thunderstorm or an inattentive human.

A major marine push will occur late Friday and Saturday morning, which will cool eastern Washington over the weekend, but could stoke up any fires.   This is the time we have to be careful folks.


K-12 Outreach Idea

With kids being forced to learn online  by COVID (which is a not-ideal for most), I was thinking that some might enjoy some educational weather related online videos.   Such as:

1.  What are clouds made of?

2.  How to identify clouds and what do they tell you about the weather?

3.  How to be your own weather observer (set up an inexpensive weather station)

Probably would direct it to grades 4-8.

… material like that.  Might Seattle or one of the other school districts be interested in such material?  Would be easy to work up,

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