Saturday, September 5, 2015

Fire and Rain

Desert-like dryness, brush-fire threats, about to get doused.

Fire and Rain

0 comments

At 2 p.m., the relative humidity in Philadelphia was a bone-drying 19 percent, closer to what one expect in the Mojave rather than in a place so close to major bodies of water.

Combined with the winds, and stubbornly bare trees that are allowing the sun to dry out surfaces, conditions have been ripe for brush fires.

That’s about to change.

Humidities are due to build back up this afternoon, and some decent rains are expected after dark, perhaps a half inch or so as a storm cross the region from the Ohio Valley.

Then quite a wet pattern is forecast to set up next week, with rain possible at times Tuesday through Thursday.

So far this month rainfall has been about half of normal in Philadelphia, and elsewhere this has been an amazingly quiet period for severe weather. The two evidently are related.

The nation’s tornado numbers so far are way, way down, perhaps at record low levels, and not a single EF3, a twister with winds of at least 138 m.p.h. capable of tossing a mobile home, has been reported.

According to the Storm Prediction Center, in Norman, Okla., only 39 tornados were reported this month as of yesterday;  the April average in the previous three years was 350.

One factor has been cooler-than-normal sea-surface temperatures in the northwest Gulf of Mexico, said Dan Kottlowski, a meteorologist with AccuWeather.

In addition, he said, the tendency of those high-speed jet stream winds from the west to dive deeply in the United States has resulted in surges of dry air, such as the dryness experienced around here the last few days.

But the severe-weather season also is about to change – for the worse, said Kottlowski. The most violent tornado outbreak of the season is due this weekend, targeting areas such as northern Texas and Kansas.

Nothing like that is in the outlook for the Philadelphia region, but the Mojave times are over.

Inquirer Weather Columnist
0 comments
We encourage respectful comments but reserve the right to delete anything that doesn't contribute to an engaging dialogue.
Help us moderate this thread by flagging comments that violate our guidelines.

Comment policy:

Philly.com comments are intended to be civil, friendly conversations. Please treat other participants with respect and in a way that you would want to be treated. You are responsible for what you say. And please, stay on topic. If you see an objectionable post, please report it to us using the "Report Abuse" option.

Please note that comments are monitored by Philly.com staff. We reserve the right at all times to remove any information or materials that are unlawful, threatening, abusive, libelous, defamatory, obscene, vulgar, pornographic, profane, indecent or otherwise objectionable. Personal attacks, especially on other participants, are not permitted. We reserve the right to permanently block any user who violates these terms and conditions.

Additionally comments that are long, have multiple paragraph breaks, include code, or include hyperlinks may not be posted.

Read 0 comments
 
comments powered by Disqus
About this blog

Everyone talks about the weather, and here we write about it.

When we’re around and conditions warrant, we’ll keep you updated about what’s coming, but we will do our best always to discuss weather and climate developments in context and remind you that nothing in the atmosphere happens in a vacuum.

Tony Wood has been writing about the atmosphere for The Inquirer for 26 years.

Reach Tony at twood@phillynews.com.

Tony Wood Inquirer Weather Columnist
Also on Philly.com
letter icon Newsletter