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Official Death Valley Global Cooking Thread
« on: July 30, 2015, 06:10:21 PM »
Kick-off article from Iran.

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Iran city hits suffocating heat index of 154 degrees, near world record

By Jason Samenow July 30 at 4:59 PM

Wherever you live or happen to travel to, never complain about the heat and humidity again.

In the city of Bandar Mahshahr (population of about 110,000 as of 2010), the air felt like a searing 154 degrees (67.8 Celsius) today, factoring in the humidity.

Its actual air temperature was 109 degrees (42.8 Celsius) with an astonishing dew point temperature of 90 (32.2 Celsius). (If you use NOAA’s calculator, that actually computes to a heat index of 159 degrees).

Bandar Mahshahr sits adjacent to the Persian Gulf in southwest Iran where water temperatures are in the 90s. Such high temperatures lead to some of the most oppressive humidity levels in the world when winds blow off the water.

The highest known heat index ever to be recorded, according to weather historian Christopher Burt, is in the 155-160 degree range. In his book Extreme Weather, Burt says Dharhan, Saudi Arabia, also on the Persian Gulf, logged a heat index of around 155-160 degrees on July 8, 2003. Its air temperature was 108 degrees, with a dew point of 95.

This week, on top of the humidity, a punishing heat wave has engulfed the Middle East.

Today, Baghdad soared to 122 degrees (50C) – though the dew point was a lowly 44 given its desert environs. That combination produced a heat index of 115 – the dry air taking a slight edge off the blistering temperatures.

[Think it’s hot here? Iraq declared a 4-day heat holiday for temps over 120 degrees]

(Credit to AccuWeather’s Anthony Sagliani for posting Iran temperature information on Twitter)
Jason is currently the Washington Post’s weather editor. A native Washingtonian, Jason has been a weather enthusiast since age 10.
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Break out the bikinis, it's warming up fast.


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http://www.wunderground.com/blog/JeffMasters/february-smashes-earths-alltime-global-heat-record-by-a-jawdropping

February Smashes Earth's All-Time Global Heat Record by a Jaw-Dropping Margin

By: Jeff Masters and Bob Henson , 7:46 PM GMT on March 13, 2016

 
 

On Saturday, NASA dropped a bombshell of a climate report. February 2016 has soared past all rivals as the warmest seasonally adjusted month in more than a century of global recordkeeping. NASA’s analysis showed that February ran 1.35°C (2.43°F) above the 1951-1980 global average for the month, as can be seen in the list of monthly anomalies going back to 1880. The previous record was set just last month, as January 2016 came in 1.14°C above the 1951-1980 average for the month. In other words, February has dispensed with this one-month-old record by a full 0.21°C (0.38°F)--an extraordinary margin to beat a monthly world temperature record by. Perhaps even more remarkable is that February 2015 crushed the previous February record--set in 1998 during the peak atmospheric influence of the 1997-98 “super” El Niño that’s comparable in strength to the current one--by a massive 0.47°C (0.85°F).


Figure 1. Monthly global surface temperatures (land and ocean) from NASA for the period 1880 to February 2016, expressed in departures from the 1951-1980 average. The red line shows the 12-month running average. Image credit: Stephan Okhuijsen, datagraver.com, used with permission.

An ominous milestone in our march toward an ever-warmer planet
Because there is so much land in the Northern Hemisphere, and since land temperatures rise and fall more sharply with the seasons than ocean temperatures, global readings tend to average about 4°C cooler in January and February than they do in July or August. Thus, February is not atop the pack in terms of absolute warmest global temperature: that record was set in July 2015. The real significance of the February record is in its departure from the seasonal norms that people, plants, animals, and the Earth system are accustomed to dealing with at a given time of year. Drawing from NASA’s graph of long-term temperature trends, if we add 0.2°C as a conservative estimate of the amount of human-produced warming that occurred between the late 1800s and 1951-1980, then the February result winds up at 1.55°C above average. If we use 0.4°C as a higher-end estimate, then February sits at 1.75°C above average. Either way, this result is a true shocker, and yet another reminder of the incessant long-term rise in global temperature resulting from human-produced greenhouse gases. Averaged on a yearly basis, global temperatures are now around 1.0°C beyond where they stood in the late 19th century, when industrialization was ramping up. Michael Mann (Pennsylvania State University) notes that the human-induced warming is even greater if you reach back to the very start of the Industrial Revolution. Making matters worse, if we manage to stabilize emissions of carbon dioxide at current rates, we are still committed to at least 0.5°C of additional atmospheric warming as heat stored in the ocean makes its way into the air, as recently emphasized by Jerry Meehl (National Center for Atmospheric Research). In short, we are now hurtling at a frightening pace toward the globally agreed maximum of 2.0°C warming over pre-industrial levels.

El Niño and La Niña are responsible for many of the one-year up-and-down spikes we see in global temperature. By spreading warm surface water across a large swath of the tropical Pacific, El Niño allows the global oceans to transfer heat more readily into the atmosphere. El Niño effects on global temperature typically peak several months after the highest temperatures occur in the Niño3.4 region of the eastern tropical Pacific. The weekly Niño3.4 anomalies peaked in mid-November 2015 at a record +3.1°C , so it’s possible that February 2016 will stand as the apex of the influence of the 2015-16 El Niño on global temperature, although the first half of March appears to be giving February a run for its money. We can expect the next several months to remain well above the long-term average, and it remains very possible (though not yet certain) that 2016 will top 2015 as the warmest year in global record-keeping.

Lower atmosphere also sets a record in February
Satellite-based estimates of temperature in the lowest few miles of the atmosphere also set an impressive global record in February. Calculations from the University of Alabama in Huntsville show that February’s reading in the lower atmosphere marked the largest monthly anomaly since the UAH dataset began in late 1978. UAH's Dr. Roy Spencer, who considers himself a climate change skeptic, told Capital Weather Gang earlier this month, “There has been warming. The question is how much warming there’s been and how does that compare to what’s expected and what’s predicted.” The satellite readings apply to temperatures miles above Earth’s surface, rather than what is experienced at the ground, and a variety of adjustments and bias corrections in recent years (including an important one just this month) have brought satellite-based readings closer to the surface-observed trends.


Figure 2. Anomalies (departures from average) in surface temperature across the globe for February 2016, in degrees Centigrade, as analyzed by NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies. Image credit: NASA/GISS.

Arctic leads the way
Figure 2 shows a big factor in the February result: a superheated Arctic. As shown by the darkest-red splotches in the figure, large parts of Alaska, Canada, eastern Europe, and Russia, as well as much of the Arctic Ocean, ran more than 4.0°C (7.2°F) above average for the month. This unusual warmth helped drive Arctic sea ice to its lowest February extent on record in February 2016. The tremendous Arctic warmth was probably related to interactions among warm air streaming into the Arctic, warm water extending poleward from the far northeast Atlantic, and the record-low extent of Arctic sea ice. Ground Zero for this pattern was the Barents and Kara Seas, north of Scandinavia and western Russia, where sea ice extent was far below average in February. Typically, the Norwegian archipelago of Svalbard--which includes the northernmost civilian settlements on Earth--is largely surrounded by ice from early winter into spring. This winter, the edge of the persistent ice has stayed mostly to the north of Svalbard, which has helped an absurd level of mildness to persist over the islands for months. Air temperatures at the Longyearbyen airport (latitude 78°N) have been close to 10°C (18°F) above average over the past three-plus months. This is the single most astounding season-long anomaly we’ve seen for any station anywhere on Earth. (If anyone can beat it, please let us know and we’ll add it here!)


Figure 3. Daily temperatures (in Celsius, °C) for the past year at the Longyearbyen Airport, Svalbard, Norway, located at latitude 78°N. The black line shows the seasonal average; blue and red traces show the day-to-day readings. The darker blue and red line shows the 30-day running average, which was 10.2°C (18.4°F) above normal in February. Thus far in March, the anomaly (not shown here) has been even larger, close to 12°C (22°F). Image credit: Norwegian Meteorological Institute.

February's heat had severe impacts
It has long been agreed upon in international climate negotiations that a 2°C warming of the Earth above modern pre-industrial levels represents a "dangerous" level of warming that the nations of the world should work diligently to avoid. The December 2015 Paris Climate Accord, signed by 195 nations, included language on this, and the Accord recommend that we should keep our planet from warming more than 1.5°C, if possible. Although the science of attributing extreme weather events to a warming climate is still evolving (more on this in an upcoming post), February 2016 gave us a number of extreme weather events that were made more probable by a warmer climate, giving us an excellent example of how a 2°C warming of the climate can potentially lead to dangerous impacts. And, as we have been repeatedly warned might likely be the case, these impacts came primarily in less developed nations--the ones with the least resources available to deal with dangerous climate change. According to the February 2016 Catastrophe Report from insurance broker Aon Benfield, three nations suffered extreme weather disasters in February 2016 that cost at least 4% of their GDP--roughly the equivalent of what in the U.S. would be five simultaneous Hurricane Katrinas. According to EM-DAT, the International Disaster Database, these disasters set records for the all-time most expensive weather-related disaster in their nations' history. For comparison, nine nations had their most expensive weather-related natural disasters in history in all of 2015, and only one did so in 2014. Here are the nations that have set records in February 2016 for their most expensive weather-related natural disaster in history:


Vietnam has suffered $6.7 billion in damage from its 2016 drought, which has hit farmers especially hard in the crucial southern Mekong Delta. This cost is approximately 4% of Vietnam's GDP, and beats the $785 million cost (2009 USD) of Typhoon Ketsana of September 28, 2009 for most expensive disaster in their history. In this image, we see a boy holding his brother walking across a drought-hit rice field in Long Phu district, southern delta province of Soc Trang on March 2, 2016. Image credit: STR/AFP/Getty Images.


Zimbabwe has suffered $1.6 billion in damage from its 2016 drought. This is approximately 12% of their GDP, and beats the $200 million cost (2003 USD) of a February 2003 flood for most expensive disaster in their history. Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe on February 5, 2016 declared a 'state of disaster' in many rural areas hit by a severe drought, with more than a quarter of the population facing food shortages. This photo taken on February 7, 2016 shows the fast-drying catchment area of the Umzingwani dam in Matabeleland, Southwestern Zimbabwe. Image credit: Ziniyange Auntony/AFP/Getty Images.


Fiji suffered $470 million in damage from Category 5 Cyclone Winston's impact in February. This is approximately 10% of their GDP. The previous costliest disaster in Fiji was Tropical Cyclone Kina in January 1993, at $182 million (2016 USD) in damage. In this image, we see how Category 5 winds can completely flatten human-built structures: Fiji's Koro Island received a direct hit from Winston when the storm was at peak strength with 185 mph winds. Image credit: My Fijian Images and Jah Ray.

One other severe impact from February's record heat is the on-going global coral bleaching episode, just the third such event in recorded history (1998 and 2010 were the others.) NOAA's Coral Reef Watch has placed portions of Australia's Great Barrier Reef under their "Alert Level 1", meaning that widespread coral bleaching capable of causing coral death is likely to occur. Widespread but minor bleaching has already been reported on the reef, and the coming month will be critical for determining whether or not the reef will experience its third major mass bleaching event on record.


Figure 4. Annual mean carbon dioxide growth rates for Mauna Loa, Hawaii. In the graph, decadal averages of the growth rate are also plotted, as horizontal lines for 1960 through 1969, 1970 through 1979, and so on. The highest one-year growth in CO2 was in 2015, at 3.05 ppm. The El Niño year of 1998 was a close second. The estimated uncertainty in the Mauna Loa annual mean growth rate is 0.11 ppm/yr. Image credit: NOAA’s Greenhouse Gas Reference Network.

Last year saw Earth’s highest-ever increase in carbon dioxide
Despite efforts to slow down human emissions of carbon dioxide, 2015 saw the biggest yearly jump in global CO2 levels ever measured, said NOAA last week. The annual growth rate of atmospheric carbon dioxide measured at NOAA’s Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii jumped by 3.05 parts per million during 2015, the largest year-to-year increase since measurements began there in 1958. In another first, 2015 was the fourth consecutive year that CO2 grew more than 2 ppm, said Pieter Tans, lead scientist of NOAA's Global Greenhouse Gas Reference Network. “Carbon dioxide levels are increasing faster than they have in hundreds of thousands of years,” Tans said. “It’s explosive compared to natural processes.” The last time the Earth experienced such a sustained CO2 increase was between 17,000 and 11,000 years ago, when CO2 levels increased by 80 ppm. Today’s rate of increase is 200 times faster, said Tans. In February 2016, the average global atmospheric CO2 level stood at 402.59 ppm. Prior to 1800, atmospheric CO2 averaged about 280 ppm.

The big jump in CO2 in 2015 is partially due to the current El Niño weather pattern, as forests, plant life and other terrestrial systems responded to changes in weather, precipitation and drought. In particular, El Niño-driven drought and massive wildfires in Indonesia were a huge source of CO2 to the atmosphere in 2015. The largest previous global increase in CO2 levels occurred in 1998, which was also a strong El Niño year. However, continued high emissions from human-caused burning of fossil fuels are driving the underlying growth rate. We are now approaching the annual peak in global CO2 levels that occurs during northern spring, after which the value will dip by several ppm. It is quite possible that the annual minimum in late 2015 will for the first time fail to get below 400 ppm, as predicted by Ralph Keeling (Scripps Institution of Oceanography) last October. To track CO2 concentrations at Mauna Loa and global CO2 concentrations, visit NOAA’s Greenhouse Gas Reference Network and the Keeling Curve website (Scripps).

For more on Saturday’s bombshell report, check out the coverage from Andrew Freedman (Mashable), Eric Holthaus (Slate), and Tom Yulsman (Scientific American/ImaGeo). We’ll have a follow-up post later this week on NOAA’s global climate report for February and for the Dec-Feb period, along with a roundup of all-time records set in February at major stations around the world.

Jeff Masters and Bob Henson

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Greenland was hotter than New York City last week
« Reply #2 on: June 15, 2016, 03:37:16 PM »
Greenland!  The New Miami Beach!

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http://grist.org/climate-energy/greenland-was-hotter-than-new-york-city-last-week/

Greenland was hotter than New York City last week
By Katie Herzog on Jun 15, 2016 4:01 pm


Greenland, the Arctic nation that is basically one huge ice cube, is feeling rather balmy lately.

The island experienced the highest temperatures ever recorded on June 9, when air temperature in Nuuk, the capital city, soared to 75 degrees. While that may seem like no sweat, the average high for this time of year between 1961 and 1990 was just 44 degrees, and even Greenland’s hottest month rarely broke 50.

But that was then. That record-breaking day in June was hotter in Nuuk than it was in New York City, while a heat wave in April saw warmer weather in Greenland than in Boston.

All this hot air caused Greenland’s sea ice, which is the size of Texas, to begin thawing nearly six weeks before normal this year. The rapid melting of over 12 percent of the ice sheet was so unusual in April that Danish Meteorological Institute scientist Peter Langen said they “had to check that our models were still working properly.”

It’s a bad omen of what’s to come as climate change ramps up: Scientists predict that if the Greenland ice shelf melted entirely global seas would rise by more than 20 feet.

Granted, Greenland has a lot of ice, and melting all of it could take a few hundred years. By then, Greenland — and most coastal areas — will be gone for good.
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'Rare, dangerous' heat headed to parts of Western US
« Reply #3 on: June 17, 2016, 06:58:43 PM »
Consider the evaporation rate off Lake Mead!  :o

RE

http://www.ajc.com/ap/ap/top-news/rare-dangerous-heat-headed-to-parts-of-the-western/nrhfS/

'Rare, dangerous' heat headed to parts of Western US
6:55 p.m. Friday, June 17, 2016 | Filed in: News

No Break in Brutal Heat for the Southwest
Weather Channel

LOS ANGELES — It's a dry heat, Phoenix residents like to say about Arizona's hot weather. That bravado may vanish as the thermometer flirts with 120 degrees this weekend.

Phoenix won't be alone in the oven. A strengthening ridge of high pressure lifting out of Mexico is on course to also scorch other parts of Arizona and Southern California, bringing potentially record-shattering temperatures.

Though accustomed to triple digits, the upcoming heat spell is a rarity in Phoenix, a desert metropolis of 1.5 million people, raising concerns of heat stroke.
"Rare, dangerous" heat headed to parts of the Western US photo
Glendale Fire Department firefighter Chris Greene, right, gets a case of water from service worker Edi Marroquin, left, from the dozens of cases of water at the Glendale Fire Department Resource Center as they prepare for the record-setting heat predicted for the weekend Thursday, June 16, 2016, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

Temperatures are predicted to hit 118 degrees in Phoenix on Sunday and peak at 119 degrees Monday. Such heat is "rare, dangerous and deadly," according to a National Weather Service warning.

"This is extreme even for our standards," said Matthew Hirsch, a weather service meteorologist in Phoenix.

The hottest day on record in Phoenix occurred June 26, 1990, when the thermometer reached 122 degrees.
"Rare, dangerous" heat headed to parts of the Western US photo
Glendale Fire Department firefighter Chris Greene carries a case of water as he walks past dozens of cases of water at the Glendale Fire Department Resource Center in preparation for record-setting heat expected over the weekend and into next week Thursday, June 16, 2016, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

Extreme heat is likely to become more common, scientists say, blaming man-made greenhouse gas pollution.

"We should anticipate more and more of this extreme heat, and we're getting to feel it firsthand. It is what global warming looks and feels like," University of Arizona climate scientist Jonathan Overpeck said in an email.

During heat waves, people should watch for signs of heat exhaustion and heat stroke, including high body temperature, dizziness and nausea. If untreated, heat stroke can lead to disability or even death.
'Rare, dangerous' heat headed to parts of Western US photo
This Tuesday, June 14, 2016 photo Leo Block, left, Matari Phason, center, and Brian Juarez, right, push part of a shipment of 20,000 water bottles donated by Yellow Cab of Phoenix to Central Arizona Shelter Services, Arizona's largest homeless shelter, to help prepare for the summer heat in Phoenix, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ryan Van Velzer)

Health experts say even a difference of a few degrees outside can cause the body temperature to spike, potentially affecting the brain and other organs. The elderly, babies and those with health problems are especially vulnerable because they can't cool down as fast.

Between 2006 and 2010, some 3,000 Americans died from heat-related illnesses, according to government statistics.

"No one needs to die in a heat wave, yet we do have deaths. They're all preventable," said Kristie Ebi, a professor of global health at the University of Washington.
'Rare, dangerous' heat headed to parts of Western US photo
This Tuesday, June 14, 2016 photo Mike Mcfarland, a volunteer at Redeemed Outreach Center, passes out free water bottles and bread to people who walk by in downtown Phoenix, Ariz. The center of is one of 50 water cooling stations setup up around Maricopa County to help people stay cool in the summer heat. (AP Photo/Ryan Van Velzer)

Earlier this month, a swath of the West Coast sweltered under heat warnings that forced sporting events to start in the evening and festivals to ditch some of the usual pomp and circumstance. Phoenix experienced its earliest recorded 115-degree day on June 4.

On Friday, the agency that operates California's wholesale power system said it's preparing for the heat and may ask residents to voluntarily conserve power to prevent rotating outages.

Death Valley, California, which bills itself as the hottest place on the planet, is expected to live up to its reputation. Temperatures are predicted to exceed 120 degrees next week, according to government forecasters.

Las Vegas is expected to see temperatures up to 112 for the weekend. By the middle of next week, the high pressure ridge is expected to shift toward the Four Corners region — southwestern Colorado, southeastern Utah, northeastern Arizona and northwestern New Mexico, which will likely see above-normal temperatures.

As in previous heat waves, those living in high heat zones are urged to limit outdoor activities this weekend and to seek shelter in air-conditioned buildings. People should also stay hydrated and drink plenty of water.

June is typically the warmest — and driest — month for desert Southwest states. This toasty period is followed by the monsoon season marked by dust storms, flash floods and lightning.

Until then, "it's just plain hot. There are no other words," said Kelly Redmond, deputy director of the Western Regional Climate Center in Nevada.

It's bound to get hotter in the future, researchers say. A recent study by the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Colorado calculated that summers across much of the globe later this century could be warmer than any summer experienced so far if current emissions continue.
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Re: Official Death Valley Global Cooking Thread
« Reply #4 on: June 20, 2016, 01:56:12 AM »
Go Long on Shorts & Bikinis.

RE

http://www.nbcnews.com/news/weather/crews-fighting-southwest-wildfires-prepare-excessive-heat-n595201

Deadly heat wave hits southwest U.S.

By Joshua Berlinger, CNN

Updated 3:43 AM ET, Mon June 20, 2016
Heat wave and wildfires spread across U.S. southwest

Heat wave and wildfires spread across U.S. southwest 01:20

(CNN)A lethal, record-setting heat wave has hit the southwestern United States.
So far four people have been killed in Arizona.
At least three large wildfires are burning in the region, covering an area larger than Paris.

And over 30 million people are under heat warnings or advisories.
It's the hottest start to summer ever in three states -- California, New Mexico and Arizona -- according to CNN Meteorologist Pedram Javaheri.
And Monday could see even more record-high temperatures.
Phoenix set a new daily record Sunday, reaching 118 degrees Fahrenheit, according to the National Weather Service.
It was so hot there, a Mesa Airlines flight to the city had to be diverted back to Texas, the airline said.
The highest temperature recorded on Sunday in the United States was just two degrees warmer in nearby Glendale, Arizona, the NWS said.
Seven areas in western and central New Mexico broke heat records in addition to 14 places in California -- where Palm Springs, Thermal, Indio and Borrego all saw temperatures 117 degrees or higher.
The following map from the National Weather Service shows the parts of the United States are currently under heat advisories (pink areas face excessive heat warnings, while areas in orange face heat advisories.)
Source: National Weather Service
Two hikers -- a woman from out of state and a man from Europe -- died Sunday in Arizona's Pima County due to the heat according to Sheriff's spokeswoman Courtney Rodriguez.
In nearby Phoenix, a 28-year-old female died Sunday, Larry Subervi, a Phoenix fire spokesman said. And a day earlier, a 25-year-old man died, he said.
Three large fires are raging in New Mexico, Arizona and California:

    Dog Head Fire in New Mexico: 17,891 acres burned and 9% contained as of Sunday night
    Cedar Fire in Arizona: 12,140 acres burned and 40% contained as of Sunday afternoon
    Sherpa Fire in California: 7,893 acres burned and 51% contained as of Monday morning

Much of the current heat wave can be attributed to a so-called heat dome -- a pattern that can lead to record-setting temperatures and heat waves -- according to CNN Meteorologist Rachel Aissen. A heat dome occurs when air is capped by the upper atmosphere in the same location: The air hits the cap and returns to the surface, continuing to heat it like a convection oven.
Royal Navy ships lose power because of warm seas

CNN's Joe Sutton and CNN Meteorologists Pedram Javaheri and
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Offline azozeo

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Re: Official Death Valley Global Cooking Thread
« Reply #5 on: June 20, 2016, 03:49:49 AM »
Go Long on Shorts & Bikinis.

RE

http://www.nbcnews.com/news/weather/crews-fighting-southwest-wildfires-prepare-excessive-heat-n595201

Deadly heat wave hits southwest U.S.

By Joshua Berlinger, CNN

Updated 3:43 AM ET, Mon June 20, 2016
Heat wave and wildfires spread across U.S. southwest

Heat wave and wildfires spread across U.S. southwest 01:20

(CNN)A lethal, record-setting heat wave has hit the southwestern United States.
So far four people have been killed in Arizona.
At least three large wildfires are burning in the region, covering an area larger than Paris.

And over 30 million people are under heat warnings or advisories.
It's the hottest start to summer ever in three states -- California, New Mexico and Arizona -- according to CNN Meteorologist Pedram Javaheri.
And Monday could see even more record-high temperatures.
Phoenix set a new daily record Sunday, reaching 118 degrees Fahrenheit, according to the National Weather Service.
It was so hot there, a Mesa Airlines flight to the city had to be diverted back to Texas, the airline said.
The highest temperature recorded on Sunday in the United States was just two degrees warmer in nearby Glendale, Arizona, the NWS said.
Seven areas in western and central New Mexico broke heat records in addition to 14 places in California -- where Palm Springs, Thermal, Indio and Borrego all saw temperatures 117 degrees or higher.
The following map from the National Weather Service shows the parts of the United States are currently under heat advisories (pink areas face excessive heat warnings, while areas in orange face heat advisories.)
Source: National Weather Service
Two hikers -- a woman from out of state and a man from Europe -- died Sunday in Arizona's Pima County due to the heat according to Sheriff's spokeswoman Courtney Rodriguez.
In nearby Phoenix, a 28-year-old female died Sunday, Larry Subervi, a Phoenix fire spokesman said. And a day earlier, a 25-year-old man died, he said.
Three large fires are raging in New Mexico, Arizona and California:

    Dog Head Fire in New Mexico: 17,891 acres burned and 9% contained as of Sunday night
    Cedar Fire in Arizona: 12,140 acres burned and 40% contained as of Sunday afternoon
    Sherpa Fire in California: 7,893 acres burned and 51% contained as of Monday morning

Much of the current heat wave can be attributed to a so-called heat dome -- a pattern that can lead to record-setting temperatures and heat waves -- according to CNN Meteorologist Rachel Aissen. A heat dome occurs when air is capped by the upper atmosphere in the same location: The air hits the cap and returns to the surface, continuing to heat it like a convection oven.
Royal Navy ships lose power because of warm seas

CNN's Joe Sutton and CNN Meteorologists Pedram Javaheri and

It was still 105 degrees at 6:00 p.m. last eve on the patio. No direct sunlight, just air temp. Whew ....
I heard it got up 115 here in my town yesterday. We're at 3800' elev. So the river cities, Havasu & Bullhead
must have tipped the 125 mark yesterday. They're both at 400' elev.
Oh, let the sun beat down upon my face
And stars fill my dream
I’m a traveler of both time and space
To be where I have been
To sit with elders of the gentle race
This world has seldom seen
They talk of days for which they sit and wait
All will be revealed

Offline JRM

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Break out the bikinis, it's warming up fast.


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Just thinking of a steamy, sizzling game of volleyball with this gal got me all heated up.  Think I'll have a nice cold shower now. 
My "avatar" graphic is Japanese calligraphy (shodō) forming the word shoshin, meaning "beginner's mind". --  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shoshin -- It is with shoshin that I am now and always "meeting my breath" for the first time. Try it!

Offline Eddie

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Re: Official Death Valley Global Cooking Thread
« Reply #7 on: July 07, 2016, 07:00:30 PM »
I gave the pigs a shower. Only 99 here, but heat index of 108 with the high humidity.

I spray them down good with the hose. They have learned to enjoy being hosed off. I didn't stop by yesterday, and they were SO glad to see me show up with fresh food today after work. ( They have automatic feeders, which weren't completely out, but that doesn't seem to matter.) I am their security blanket.Their wallowing in the mud turns them from white to black. I'm going to have to move them again in a week or two. I need more electric fence.
What makes the desert beautiful is that somewhere it hides a well.

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The Great CA BBQ
« Reply #8 on: August 18, 2016, 02:39:24 AM »
CA is having a bad year.

We're not even at the height of the fire season yet.

RE

http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-blue-cut-fire-20160816-snap-story.html

 Homes burn, thousands flee as out-of-control brush fire chars more than 25,600 acres in Cajon Pass
Raw Video: Blue Cut fire


Raw video from Blue Cut fire near the Cajon Pass.
Paloma Esquivel, Angel Jennings, Shane Newell

An explosive brush fire that ripped through canyons and flatlands in the Cajon Pass in less than a day continued to ravage hillsides and reduce homes to ash and rubble Wednesday, leaving even veteran firefighters bewildered.

“It hit hard, it hit fast — it hit with an intensity that we haven’t seen before,” San Bernardino County Fire Chief Mark Hartwig said.

By Wednesday evening, the Blue Cut fire had charred 25,626 acres and was only 4% contained, according to Melody Lardner, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Forest Service.

The official measurement of the fire was about 4,400 acres fewer than reported earlier in the day, a discrepancy that authorities attributed to more precise mapping of the burn area.
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Despite the downgrade in size, officials said the blaze remained menacing and unruly, racing up Lone Pine Canyon and toward Highway 2, where the ski resort town of Wrightwood, population 4,525, was under threat.

Marc Peebles, a spokesman for the San Bernardino County Fire Department, likened the blaze’s activity Wednesday to an energetic child eluding his parents at the mall.

“It has been running all day,” he said.

With winds fanning the blaze, officials were concerned it could decimate Lytle Creek, a tiny mountain community along the wildfire’s southwestern flank that was under mandatory evacuation.

Structure-protection engines are stationed in Lytle Creek and Wrightwood. More than 1,580 firefighters were attacking the inferno “with everything they can from the air and the ground,” Lardner said.

More than 80,000 people in the county’s rural communities have been forced to flee. An unknown number of homes were destroyed.

The blaze’s small containment line was centered around Old Cajon, where the fire broke out Tuesday morning.

Officials are bracing for an immense tally of devastation from a fire fed by strong winds, parched tinder and triple-digit heat.

“There will be a lot of families that will come home to nothing,” Hartwig warned.

On Wednesday, the remote region was an ominous version of itself. Brilliant flames of red, gold and copper licked at skies choked with smoke. Multiple helicopters whirred in darkness as bulldozers razed paths below.

Summit Inn, a historic diner along Route 66 once frequented by Elvis Presley, had become indistinguishable rubble. Charred skeletons of buildings and cars dotted the area. A cargo train sat idle on tracks, abandoned by its engineer.

A spokesman for the U.S. Forest Service said assessment teams and cadaver dogs would be sent to homes and structures along Highway 138.

“The fire came so quickly,” said Chon Bribiescas. “We want to make sure nobody was left behind.”
As night falls, the fire marches toward Angeles Crest Highway with dozens of homes in its path
As night falls, the fire marches toward Angeles Crest Highway with dozens of homes in its path

It's been 13 years since the area was struck by fire, leaving the hills and mountains a mix of dead brush and new growth.

The conditions on Tuesday were ripe for a fast-moving fire, officials said. The Cajon Pass, acting as a funnel, sent winds that raced up to 30 mph to help the blaze jump Interstate 15, said Michael Wakoski, battalion chief of the San Bernardino County Fire Department and incident commander of the Blue Cut fire.

Firefighters had difficulty navigating the steep slopes while the flames chewed through the rugged terrain, Wakoski said.

Six county firefighters were trapped Tuesday by walls of flame while defending homes and evacuating residents in Swarthout Canyon, officials said. They were treated for minor injuries and have returned to the field, officials said.

No other injuries have been reported.

In addition to Lytle Creek,  Lone Pine Canyon, Wrightwood and Swarthout Canyon, mandatory evacuations were ordered for Baldy Mesa, Old Cajon Road and West Cajon Valley, fire officials said.

But the closure of Highway 138 and Interstate 15 — two key thoroughfares in the area — clogged traffic and made it difficult for residents to leave.
Blue Cut fire explodes, scorching thousands of acres

Mary Grass, 74, and her husband left their Phelan home Tuesday as smoke and flames tore through the area. After dropping their horse off at a friend’s house in Hesperia, they headed to Victorville to spend the night.

They have already seen television footage of neighbors’ residences destroyed.

“Just wondering about our house now,” Grass said.

Others couldn’t bear to leave.

“I stayed just in case there’s a chance that I can do something to save my house,” said Joe Knowlton, who watched the flames from his porch in Wrightwood.

Knowlton, 49, said he watered his property and was standing guard with his 14-year-old son. If an ember fell nearby, at least he’d be around to stamp it out, he said.

“That’s the difference between the house going up in flames or not,” he said. “I don’t mind sticking it out.”

This year alone, California has been besieged by wildfires that have scorched hundreds of homes and killed eight people — all before autumn, when the state’s traditional fire season begins and the Santa Ana winds come into play.

The onslaught of fires has taxed fire departments and left little time for rest. Some firefighters were working up to 36 hours straight, said Peebles, the San Bernardino County Fire Department spokesman.

“These guys are going from fire to fire,” he added.

Such fires are a sort of “new normal,” said Char Miller, an expert on wildfires and national forests at Pomona College.

“We’re in the fifth year of drought and we’re starting to see the consequences of that,” he said.

Aerial fights against intense blazes can only do so much, Miller said. “You need boots on the ground.”

That’s a tall order as firefighters face temperatures that aren’t likely to cool until Friday, said Philip Gonsalves, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in San Diego.

Crews won’t be able to rely on any nighttime humidity to recover either, he said.

The dozens of residents who made their way to Sultana High School in Hesperia found themselves fearing the worst and taking stock of the best.

“You can’t worry about your things,” said Anthony Botello, 48, who left his home with just a handful of clothes and his wedding band. “It’s your life that you have to value.”
Homes burn near Cajon Pass as wildfire forces thousands to seek shelter: 'It seems so final'
Homes burn near Cajon Pass as wildfire forces thousands to seek shelter: 'It seems so final'

Nearby, Osuna Rosa sipped coffee on a cot and retraced the past day’s events.

The 53-year-old hospice nurse was at work in the High Desert on Tuesday morning when she noticed smoke.

The southbound Interstate 15 was closed. She tried an alternate route along Summit Valley Road, but found it clogged with traffic.

After Rosa failed to get a hotel room, she found herself in tears.

Then, a motel employee pointed her to the shelter. In the dimly lighted gymnasium, she managed to get a few hours of sleep, still dressed in her blue hospital scrubs.

paloma.esquivel@latimes.com

angel.jennings@latimes.com

shane.newell@latimes.com

Esquivel reported from Lytle Creek; Jennings from San Bernardino; Newell from Hesperia. Times staff writers Ruben Vives in Wrightwood and Sarah Parvini, Matt Stevens, Matt Hamilton and Corina Knoll in Los Angeles contributed to this report. Photographers Gina Ferrazi and Irfan Khan contributed to this report from Phelan.
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Siberia might as well be where the world begins to end.
« Reply #9 on: August 31, 2016, 05:31:30 PM »
http://grist.org/briefly/siberia-might-as-well-be-where-the-world-begins-to-end/

Spoiler Alert

REUTERS/Vladimir Pushkarev/Russian Centre of Arctic Exploration
Siberia might as well be where the world begins to end.

Already a bleak place, the northern Russian region is looking much bleaker of late. It is warming at twice the rate as the rest of the world, with sometimes deadly, sometimes bizarre consequences.
1. Massive sinkholes

As the frozen ground warms up, dozens of craters have formed, including one mile-long, 300-foot-deep sinkhole. Researchers are afraid to get close to the craters for fear of methane geysers shooting off.
2. Methane unleashed

We don’t want to watch methane literally bubble up from under the grass. And we certainly don’t want the billions of tons of carbon stored in Arctic permafrost — which contains more than twice what’s in the atmosphere today — to be unleashed. Some scientists fear that alone could raise global temperatures by 0.7 degrees Celsius.
3. Smallpox, anthrax, and who knows what else

Warming temperatures have resurrected centuries-old anthrax spores that were dormant in Siberian permafrost, sickening 72 nomadic herders and killing one child. Experts predict that smallpox could also make a comeback as frozen burial grounds thaw.

Legend has it that “Siberia” comes from an indigenous word for “sleeping land.” Now, that land is waking up with fury.
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2-Square-Mile Fire Forces Evacuations in Southern California
« Reply #10 on: September 26, 2017, 12:46:52 AM »
A few more McMansions go to the Great Beyond.

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https://www.usnews.com/news/best-states/california/articles/2017-09-25/250-acre-wildfire-forces-southern-california-freeway-closure

2-Square-Mile Fire Forces Evacuations in Southern California
A wildfire in Southern California has grown to more than two square miles, forced the shutdown of two lanes of a major freeway and spurred the evacuation of dozens of homes.


Sept. 26, 2017, at 12:09 a.m.

2-Square-Mile Fire Forces Evacuations in Southern California

CORONA, Calif. (AP) — A wildfire in Southern California had surged to more than two square miles Monday night, forcing the evacuation of about 1,000 people from suburban canyon homes and spurring the shutdown of two lanes of a major freeway.

The blaze began about 1 p.m. in Corona along the Riverside and Orange county lines, where two eastbound lanes of State Route 91 were closed and commuters were facing serious traffic backups.

Corona fire officials have called for evacuations of about 1,000 residents of an estimated 300 homes. The blaze is also burning into the cities of Anaheim and Chino Hills, authorities said.

Intense flames could be seen creeping down hills and burning at the edges of several neighborhoods where ashes were raining down. There were no immediate reports of damage to homes.

Cora Angeles, 66, prayed and cried as she sat in a park car after frantically fleeing from the flames that raged toward her home. She was able to leave with only important documents, clothes and her 12-year-old granddaughter.

"We don't know what's going to happen," Angeles told the Los Angeles Times. "At least we know we're going to be alive."

Aerial shots from news helicopters showed a large building that looked like a warehouse that was fully engulfed in flames, but it wasn't immediately clear what it was.

A huge plume of smoke could be seen over much of Orange County, including Angel Stadium in Anaheim, where a large crowd was watching the Angels play the Chicago White Sox.

Conditions were favorable for the overnight firefight, with temperatures dipping into the 60s and humidity above 20 percent.
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Devastating wildfire sweeps into Ventura, burning homes, at least one dead
« Reply #11 on: December 05, 2017, 01:51:32 AM »
http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-school-fire-20171204-story.html

L.A. Now California: This just in
LOCAL L.A. Now
Devastating wildfire sweeps into Ventura, burning homes, at least one dead


Strong winds were pushing the blaze in a southwest direction toward the cities of Santa Paula and Ventura, leading to new evacuations of homes north of Foothill Road in Ventura and reports of power outages.
Alene Tchekmedyian, Jaclyn Cosgrove and Ruben VivesContact Reporters

A fast-moving, wind-fueled wildfire swept into the city of Ventura early Tuesday, burning homes and forcing thousands to evacuate.

The extent of the losses were unclear, but fire officials said there was little they could do stop the flames being pushed by wind gusts of 50 mph.

"The prospects for containment are not good,” said Ventura County Fire Chief Mark Lorenzen at a press conference. “Really mother nature is going to decide.”

The fire had burned at least 10,000 acres. But fire officials expected it would rip through at least 50,000 acres in the mountains between Santa Paula and Ventura.
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The destruction comes in what was already the worst year on record for wildfires in California. In October, more than 40 people died and more than 10,000 structures were lost when fires swept through wine country.

One person was reported killed in a traffic accident on a road closed due to the fire. At least two buildings have been destroyed and more than 1,000 homes in Ventura and Santa Paula were evacuated.

More than 260,000 customers in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties were without power. As of 12:30 a.m. Tuesday, a Southern California Edison spokeswoman did not know when power would be restored.

Strong winds were pushing the blaze in a southwest direction toward the cities of Santa Paula and Ventura. Firefighters were dealing with numerous spot fires as a result of the difficult conditions.

After midnight, residents just outside the evacuation zone wondered whether they should pack up and leave. Taylor Penny, 24, and her neighbor Eric Chen, 31, stood in the road of their neighborhood just south of Foothill Road.

For the past hour, they’d watched the flames ebb and flow along the nearby hills. Chen said the flames seemed to be lessening, but Penny remained worried as they stood in the wind and cold.

The power in the neighborhood was out, and Penny said they had limited access to information about where the fire was because their cellphones had poor reception.

Watching the wind feed the flames on the hillside, the two discussed whether they should flee. Penny’s roommate had already left. “I just hope we’re all right,” she said. “That’s it.”

The blaze started in the foothills near Thomas Aquinas College in Santa Paula, a popular hiking destination, and grew wildly to more than 15 square miles in the hours that followed — consuming vegetation that hasn't burned in decades, Ventura County Fire Sgt. Eric Buschow said.

Shortly after 10 p.m. Monday, Richard Macklin, a Ventura County fire engineer, was on the phone with a news outlet when his fire station in Santa Paula — the command center for the incident — went dark.

“We have power now,” Macklin said about 10:20 p.m. “I got lights, I don’t know how they’re providing it.”
Brutal Santa Ana winds fuel dangerous Ventura County wildfire, force grounding of choppers

Authorities were evacuating homes east of Dickenson Road, north of Monte Vista Drive along Highway 150 and south of the college in Santa Paula and homes north of Foothill Road in Ventura. The fire was burning on both sides of the highway.

“We’re really just trying to catch it around the edges and just pinch it off as quickly as we possibly can,” said Ventura County Firefighter Jason Hodge, adding that crews are dealing with 25 to 50 mph winds. “That’s what’s driving this fire. So it’s a challenge, but everybody’s out there working hard and will be through the night.”

Santa Paula resident Fabian Mauricio, 31, was playing basketball in Los Angeles when friends began texting him about a fire in his neighborhood. He called his parents, who tried to downplay the blaze to keep him from worrying. But when he checked photos and videos online, he saw a raging inferno.

As his parents packed important documents, clothing and their two dogs, they told him to stay put.

“I’m worried, but there’s nothing I can really do,” said Mauricio, who trained in a fire academy. “It is kind of helpless not being able to be there, help or do anything about it.”
Fire map
  (Los Angeles Times)

Since shortly before 7 p.m., firefighters were in place to protect homes along Highway 150 just north of Santa Paula, said Ventura County Fire Capt. Stan Ziegler. Within an hour, the fire grew from 50 to 500 acres.

Evacuation centers were opened at Nordhoff High School at 1401 Maricopa Highway in Ojai and at the Ventura County Fairgrounds at 10 W. Harbor Blvd. in Ventura.

Four helicopters were to begin making water drops after crews determined that it was safe to fly as the blaze grew rapidly. But about 9:30 p.m., two helicopters were forced to land at Santa Paula Airport due to 50-mph winds. “Waiting for winds to slow down so we can get back in the fight,” officials said on Twitter.

“It’s always difficult and somewhat dangerous to fly at night, so depending on different conditions and the geographic challenges is how they evaluate whether or not they can operate at night,” Hodge said.

Ventura County Fire staffed an extra 100 or so firefighters in anticipation of strong winds that triggered a red flag warning in Los Angeles and Ventura counties. Weather officials said those regions could see wind gusts of 50 to 70 mph Monday night into Tuesday.

The blaze was reported about 6:25 p.m.

“This is exactly what we have prepared for,” Ziegler said. “This is not a surprise by any means.”
RAW: Fast-moving brush fire explodes in Ventura County
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RAW: Fast-moving brush fire explodes in Ventura County
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alene.tchekmedyian@latimes.com

Twitter: @AleneTchek

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

UPDATES:

1 a.m.: This article was updated with information from Southern California Edison and an interview with a resident outside the evacuation zone.

12:05 a.m.: This article was updated with information about power outages and an interview with a Santa Paula resident.

11:10 p.m.: This article was updated to reflect two structures have been destroyed.

10:35 p.m.: This article was updated with information about power outages.

10:25 p.m.: This article was updated with a larger acreage number and new evacuations.

10:10 p.m.: This article was updated with more information about the emergency response to the fire.

9:40 p.m.: This article was updated with a larger acreage number.

9:10 p.m.: This article was updated with more information from fire officials.

8:55 p.m.: This article was updated with a new acreage number.

8:15 p.m.: This article was updated with information about evacuations.

7:55 p.m.: This article was updated with a new acreage number.

This article was originally published at 7:10 p.m.

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SoCal Inferno
« Reply #12 on: December 05, 2017, 09:51:35 AM »
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2017/12/05/out-of-control-southern-california-brush-fire-grows-from-50-to-25000-acres-in-7-hours/?utm_term=.b830128053ea

Out of control’ Southern California fire explodes overnight, forcing tens of thousands to flee
By Travis M. Andrews, J. Freedom du Lac and Mark Berman December 5 at 11:39 AM


1:04
A ferocious wildfire threatens thousands of homes in Southern California
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Fast moving wildfire engulfed an estimated 25,000 acres in less than seven hours in Southern California’s Santa Barbara and Ventura counties on Dec. 5. (Amber Ferguson, Victoria Walker/The Washington Post)

An explosive brush fire raced through Southern California with ferocious speed Tuesday, spreading from about 50 acres to an estimated 45,000 acres in a matter of hours, forcing tens of thousands of residents to flee.

Named the Thomas Fire, it began in a canyon near Santa Paula, about 65 miles northwest of downtown Los Angeles. By 4 a.m. Pacific time, the fire had advanced into the city limits of Ventura, with a population of more than 100,000, emergency officials said.

“The prospects for containment are not good,” Ventura County Fire Chief Mark Lorenzen said a news briefing overnight. “Really, Mother Nature’s going to decide when we have the ability to put it out.”

The cause of the fire was not known Tuesday morning, Lorenzen said.

The fire — which had grown to cover an area roughly the size of Washington, D.C. — quickly displaced scores of people as it began to chew through the region.

At a briefing early Tuesday, Lorenzen said 27,000 people had been evacuated, and “almost none of them know the status of their homes.” There was also “a high possibility” that more areas would be evacuated, Lorenzen warned.
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At least 150 structures were destroyed by the fire, Lorenzen said, though he added that this number is expected to increase in the coming days, noting that firefighters were not able to assess damage in most areas where the blaze had spread.

“The fire is still out of control and structures continue to be threatened throughout the fire area,” officials said in a predawn update. “Due to the intensity of the fire, crews are having trouble making access and there are multiple reports of structures on fire.”

Firefighters were also responding to another blaze that erupted further east, this one dubbed the Creek Fire. That fire was spreading north of downtown Los Angeles and had also expanded rapidly, stretching from 500 acres early Tuesday to 2,500 acres within hours.


As the Thomas Fire spread, the Ventura County Fire Department issued a dire warning early Tuesday, saying conditions were expected to worsen.

“Incident commander reporting winds are increasing, expect fire behavior to increase over the entire incident,” a department spokesperson tweeted.

While authorities had said overnight that one person was believed to have been killed in a car crash while trying to evacuate, they reversed course and said early Tuesday that no one had been confirmed dead. A fire department spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

A battalion chief was injured in a traffic accident on Monday night, and this person is expected to recover, Lorenzen said.

[Santa Ana winds sparked a critical wildfire threat in Southern California]

In the cities of Santa Paula and Ventura, evacuation notices were given to 27,000 residents as both places declared states of emergency. Multiple schools were closed Tuesday, and more than 7,500 homes are under mandatory evacuation, authorities said in a statement early Tuesday morning.

The National Weather Service reported that damaging winds and “very critical fire weather conditions” would remain Tuesday and return late Wednesday night into Thursday, warning that these condition could lead to “very rapid fire growth” and “extreme fire behavior.” The NWS issued a red flag warning for Ventura and Los Angeles, saying wind gusts between 50 and 70 mph are likely through Thursday.

Authorities had warned that a combination of strong winds and low humidity this week could increase the wildfire risk across Southern California. Cal Fire said it had moved resources from the northern part of the state to the south and prepared aircraft and fire equipment to respond.

Firefighters were also responding Tuesday to a brush fire in Los Angeles County. The Creek Fire broke out across the county’s foothills in an area northwest of Pasadena, according to the National Weather Service, and Cal Fire said it had grown to encompass 500 acres by sunrise on Tuesday.

A spokesman for the Los Angeles County Fire Department said on Twitter that the three-alarm blaze had prompted mandatory evacuations. Los Angeles city fire officials said the Creek Fire began outside the city before threatening parts of the Sylmar and Lake View Terrace areas.

Early Tuesday morning, officials said 500 firefighters were on the scene of the spreading Thomas Fire with more resources heading there, along with scores of law enforcement officers responding to help with evacuations and road closures.

Four helicopters were making water drops to fight the flames, but by 9:30 p.m. local time on Monday they were grounded after conditions were deemed unsafe to fly at night.

“It’s always difficult and somewhat dangerous to fly at night, so depending on different conditions and the geographic challenges is how they evaluate whether or not they can operate at night,” Ventura County firefighter Jason Hodge told the Los Angeles Times.

Choppers and fixed-wing aircraft “are expected to attack the fire at daybreak,” officials said in a statement.

The fire also caused outages throughout Santa Barbara and Ventura counties, leaving more than 260,000 people without power, Southern California Edison said in a tweet.

The blaze began Monday in the hills near Thomas Aquinas College in Santa Paula, the Los Angeles Times reported. It was first reported at 6:24 p.m. Pacific Time, Ventura County Fire Sgt. Eric Buschow told The Washington Post and has moved “unbelievably fast” since then.

A mixture of dry foliage from a continued drought, low humidity and sustained winds of more than 30 miles per hour throughout the evening led to its explosive growth, according to Buschow. Some outlets reported the winds exceeded 50 mph.

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SoCal Inferno- Ventura County under siege: 'It was like watching Rome burn'
« Reply #13 on: December 06, 2017, 04:37:45 AM »
Lots more pics at the LA Times website.

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http://www.latimes.com/local/california/la-me-ln-ventura-fire-scene-20171206-story.html

Ventura County under siege: 'It was like watching Rome burn'



LOCAL CALIFORNIA
Ventura County under siege: 'It was like watching Rome burn'
Thomas fire: Thousands of acres burn in Ventura County
Ruben Vives, Sarah Parvini and Jaclyn CosgroveContact Reporters

The reports started coming in a little after 9 p.m. Monday. A fire had erupted amid the oaks and scrub in the hills north of Santa Paula.

Located on the southern edge of the Sespe Wilderness, the blaze was named the Thomas fire for its proximity to Thomas Aquinas College. Within hours — its embers driven westward on the gusts of the Santa Ana winds — it had reached Ventura, a dozen miles away.

Mark Patterson, 58, and his wife, Linda, 59, woke to the sound of pounding on their front door. It was 1:15 a.m. No one was there, and at first they thought it was a prank. But then they could see flames leaping over the ridgeline to the north. Gathering with neighbors in the street, they kept vigil, and by 4 that morning, the hill was consumed.

Standing in their driveway, feeling the heat of the flames, they knew they had to evacuate. But first they drove to the church where Patterson is the lead pastor. It was safe, but there were more fires downtown, and the enormous apartment complex — Hawaiian Village, known for its views over the city to the ocean — was engulfed in flames.

“We’ve lived in Ventura for 19 years,” Patterson said. “We’ve had a couple fires, but nothing like this.”

The fire had taken Foothill Road as its path into the city. First burning through the dry leaves of the outlying avocado groves, it found new fuel in the homes built north of the 101 Freeway. Its glow brightened the night sky.

Jeff Jacobson and his daughters, Emma, 20, and Olivia, 16, began evacuating before midnight. Their single-story, ranch-style home on Island View Drive — its backyard with coastal views, the Channel Islands in the distance — was threatened.

Jacobson had considered staying, putting up a fight. He looked at his two grand pianos, one a prized 1937 Mason and Hamlin; they could be lost, he thought. But his daughters were insistent.

“Let’s leave,” they said. “Let’s leave.”
VENTURA, CALIF. -- TUESDAY, DECEMBER 5, 2017: John Bain and Brandon Baker take cover from the embers
John Bain and Brandon Baker take cover from the embers as they try to help stop a fire from burning a home in Ventura. (Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)

He could not ignore them. They loaded up a trailer and headed to the evacuation center at the Ventura County Fairgrounds.

In the past, wildfires have largely skirted downtown Ventura, burning through the wildlands that surround the smaller communities of Ojai and Santa Paula. But Monday night was different.

Power outages had left more than 260,000 residents in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties without power. Initial alerts from the Ventura County Fire Department reported nearly 31,000 acres consumed and 150 structures destroyed.

Firefighters set up their command post at the fairgrounds and began planning their offensive, but first they had to wait for daybreak.

To the east, stories were coming in: of neighbors in Camarillo banding together with garden hoses and spray nozzles to battle the onslaught of sparks; of a mother in Santa Paula who raced back through a police line to grab her daughter’s guitar (“It’s all she wanted”); of the crowds who had gathered to watch the black smoke and flames creep along a dry ridge near dozens of homes.

Winds ripped through bougainvillea, sending flames a hundred feet high into the sky. Some homes were spared, others destroyed, trees and chaparral left blackened and smoldering.

The land, said one resident, had not seen a fire in more than three decades, leaving this conflagration to eat its way through years of brush and debris.

At first light — the sky gray with smoke and ash — Scott Quirarte, a public information officer for the Ventura County Fire Department, delivered the news: miles of fire line and the frustration of having to wait until dawn to start full operations.
VENTURA, CALIF. -- TUESDAY, DECEMBER 5, 2017: Olivia Jacobson, 16, wipes her tears, as she looks on
Olivia Jacobson, 16, wipes her tears as she looks on at her family's home destroyed by the brush fire on Island View Drive in Ventura. (Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)

At 6 a.m., Heather Rhoades, 24, and her boyfriend Tyler Miller, 29, were evacuating Oak View with their family. They were driving down Highway 33 into Ventura, and flames covered the hillsides adjacent to highway. It was terrifying, Miller said, “like driving through the gates of hell.”

“All I saw was Ventura engulfed in flames,” Rhoades added. “All my friends’ houses were burning down. It was just scary.”

Heading the other direction were David Demshki and his wife, Christy Harris, who live in Oxnard and needed to rescue their three horses in Oak View.

Making that drive, Demshki said, “felt like you were going into fire.” The hills were “boiling” with flames and the sky glowed orange.

Just east of Highway 33 in Ventura, patients had been evacuated from Vista del Mar Hospital, an acute psychiatric facility, above downtown. Two buildings were destroyed, the facility left smoldering under the smoky sky.

Returning to Island View Drive, Jeff Jacobson watched flames flick out of his still-burning home. He could see one of two pianos, broken and charred, and he tried to hold back the tears as the memories flooded back, the treasured notes of Emma’s playing.

“So many things that are not replaceable, I don’t even know where to start,” Jacobson said.

By 8 a.m., winds were gusting to 40 mph and on the distant ridges, peaking at nearly 70. The ocean was mottled with whitecaps. More than 1,000 firefighters were on the scene, and by 10:30 Gov. Jerry Brown had declared an emergency.
VENTURA, CALIF. -- TUESDAY, DECEMBER 5, 2017: Georgia Crowley, 14, from left, Grace Combs, 15, Murie
Grace Combs, 15, from left, Muriel Rowley, 15, Olivia Jacobson, 16, Emma Jacobson, 19, Anna Niebergall, 20, and Sally Niebergall, 16, comfort each other as the Jacobson sisters watch their home burn in Ventura. (Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)

By some estimates, nearly a quarter of Ventura — 27,000 people — had been evacuated. Mansions off Foothill Road were engulfed in flames. The city was smudged by smoke, palm trees consumed by flames and Christmas decorations — including one inflatable snowman — darkened by soot.

On Main Street, power had been restored at Pete’s Breakfast House, where Gilberto Amaya went to work at the grill. As he scrambled eggs, owner Lindsay Timpson began making breakfast burritos — 800, she guessed — that her daughter would deliver to the firefighters on the hillsides above town.

Mary Tedesco and her husband, Steve, were helping. They got out of their home just in time to save their three dogs, but they lost two Harley-Davidsons and the irreplaceable mementos of their family: an heirloom cookbook and a father’s sergeant badge from World War II.

“I just try very hard not to let myself break down,” Mary Tedesco said. “You gotta stay strong.”

By early afternoon, the fire was at 45,500 acres. By late evening, it was more than 55,000 acres.

“We anticipate that number to grow,” said Capt. Stan Ziegler of the Ventura County Fire Department.

At the fairgrounds evacuation center, south of the 101, Robin Andersen was walking her dogs. After caravanning out of their neighborhood with her neighbors, the 62-year-old spent the night in her car along with her three dogs and two cats.

The city, she said, “looked like Armageddon.”

“I sat facing the fires, and it was like watching Rome burn,” Andersen said. “I cried. I love this city so much and it was overcome by flames.”

Greg Lindfors dressed up as Santa for the children who had been evacuated.

“I can’t help in the way firemen or the Red Cross does, but I can do this,” Lindfors said.

Most of the children he spoke with told him about the Christmas toys they wanted, he said. One boy just wanted a long hug.
 
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SoCal Inferno- Morning Commute in LA
« Reply #14 on: December 06, 2017, 05:25:38 PM »
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That's a LOT of expensive real estate going up in smoke.

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