Friday, August 23, 2013

Do Clowns Taste Funny?

...the little boy asked the Cannibal...Sorry...

The light looks funny out my window this morning, I can't smell it but it's smoke from the 'Rim Fire' burning in the Sierra Foothills between Angels Camp and Yosemite National Park.

The NWS SFO/Monterey Office posted a photo to their Facebook Page that clued me in:

Tuesday August 20th Satellite View

Then along comes this tweet from @CAL_FIRE: "Over the past 24 hours over 3,400 lightning strikes in CA sparking over 40 new fires that burned over 350 acres. "

There's still a day or two more of this pattern and the Red Flag Warnings that go along with it.

The Rim Fire has blown up!  Smoke plagues everyone from Carson City to The Oregon border, down to the foothills and Sacramento Valley. There's what, eleven major fires burning in California today?

CalFire reports Friday: "Lightning fires have ignited or been detected for 9 consecutive days on National Forests in California"

The Red Flag Warnings are over, all the excitement will fade into Memoryland.

I really haven't had the heart (if that's the right metaphor?) to keep a running tally on the fires...I mostly ignored Twitter and only checked into the news to see fresh video...

I did look at the Interstate 80 webcams when Severe Thunderstorm Warnings were posted for Donner Summit. It rained so hard you could see sheets of rain on the webcam images!

Sheets of rain from Sugar Bowl's Lodge

I'd been looking at the same webcams to view the smoky conditions for three days.

This morning, CalTrans had to close both the eastbound and westbound fast lanes of I-80 just uphill of the DaveCave for a sinkhole! All that rain must have bored through a backfilled trench that carries some conduits.

They've got the WB #1 Lane reopened now...what's next? Pestilence? Uncle!

Cue the locust swarms!

Monday, August 19, 2013

Competition Breakdown

Day Three: Louis Vuitton Cup Finals
Another race, another breakdown...

It's getting to be like a stuck record...three races, three broken boats. Even the defenders, TeamOracleUSA suffered a broken rudder in practice. It turns out they hooked the rudder on a mooring buoy line the day before they broke it off during a foiling gybe.

So in Monday's Race 3 it was Team Luna Rossa's turn to break. This time it was a sheave that controls the wing. Sheave (pronounced shiv) is Salty Dog for pulley, on boats they're called blocks too...think block and tackle...

After watching these big fast AC72 catamarans race on the Bay, I'm reminded of several old saws from motor racing....about how weight offsets horsepower, if something can break, it will's always a 25 cent part that fails and stops the million dollar race car...blah, blah, blah...

Louis Vuitton Cup Finals: Scorecard
2-1 Team Emirates New Zealand in the Best Of Thirteen Finals

Blow By Blow:
Race 1 Luna Rossa loses control of their starboard Daggerboard rounding the first mark. A broken attachment point where the line lifts the Daggerboard fails. DNF, ETNZ wins uncontested. Score one point for New Zealand

Race 2 Team New Zealand wins the start, then loses hydraulics on the first downwind leg. DNF. Luna Rossa wins uncontested. Score one point for Luna Rossa

Race 3 Luna Rossa wins the start, trails by 3 seconds rounding the 1st mark, and breaks a wing sheave tacking away. DNF. New Zealand wins uncontested. ETNZ leads Luna Rossa 2-1

Two races were scheduled for each race day (Monday was supposed to be a Rest Day, but both Saturday and Sunday's afternoon races were postponed by too much wind) Mondays second race was also postponed for high winds.

Tuesday will be a Rest Day.

So  what of the Red Flag Warning forecast? Any effects on the racing today? None that I could see from the HDTV Broadcast. Twitter was alive with weather tweets however. @NWSBayArea: Radar picking up a cell around 30 miles west of and Counties. 2 lightning strikes.
about an hour before the start of Race 3

@NWSBayArea tweeted a satellite photo of the offshore T-storm action:

An hour or so later @NWSBayArea tweeted a wrap-up photo:

To my eye, the Fire Weather isn't here just yet, though in the High Sierra, some storms are firing off. @kcraFinan: Getting rain on Donner Summit on I-80.

I don't have the heart to check on the wildfire situations in The West in this heat (90.3°F) this afternoon...I'm sure it will find it's way into my Twitter Feed later this evening...

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Red Flag Warning

From the WeatherUnderground active Warnings Page:

"... Red flag warning in effect from midnight tonight to 3 am PDT
Wednesday for thunderstorms. The red flag warning covers most
inland portions of the San Francisco Bay area...

The National Weather Service San Francisco Bay area has issued a
red flag warning... which is in effect from midnight tonight to
3 am PDT Wednesday.

* Affected area: all inland areas of the San Francisco Bay area
except near San Francisco Bay and the Santa Clara Valley.

* Timing: shower and thunderstorm chances will begin by late
Sunday night and continue through at least Tuesday
night... possibly into Wednesday as well.

* Thunderstorms: gusty winds and lightning are possible through
the period. Thunderstorms may initially be dry but should become
wetter with time. Stronger storms may produce abundant lightning
and small hail.

* Outflow winds: speeds to 25 mph are possible near thunderstorms.

* Impacts: dry fuels along with the potential for abundant
lightning may result in new fire starts even with storms
that are wet.

Precautionary/preparedness actions...

A red flag warning means that critical fire weather conditions
are either occurring now... or will shortly. A combination of
dry fuels and lightning strikes could result in numerous fire

      To quote Lance Armstrong: "Not. Good."

As I type, it's 97.7 °F at 5:40PM in the Inland Valley. I spent some time sittin' in the pool between the Giants game and the NBCSportsNet replay of today's Louis Vuitton Cup Final Race 2, and watered all 360° of the Ancestral Diggins...Saturday's High was only 76.2°F, and I transplanted two little Artichoke plants Saturday as well...

The Beaver Creek Fire continues to balloon out of control. Evacuations are up to 2600 according to the 6 o'clock news on KSFO...with another 1300 under Pre-Evacuation Orders. The news reader said 160 square miles now have burned. InciWeb has it over 100K acres.

The Siskiyou County Wing of the family is sitting pretty, the Orleans Complex is moving away at 10+ miles away and counting. InciWeb says they expect 100% containment by September 15th at 6PM PDT!

The Red Flag Warnings cover Truckee, Reno,NV and the Tahoe Basin, as well as most of the Sierra...I've cancelled my trip to Truckee for the time avoid the smoke from the 'American Fire' and the thunderstorms the NWS is promising for the week...

Reno's NWS Office posted this to their Facebook Page

I'm curious what this weather regime will do the the America's Cup Regatta on San Francisco Bay...The challengers are into the Louis Vuitton Cup Finals now to decide who will challenge for the Old Mug come September, and they've been more than exciting!

After two days, where four races were scheduled, equipment failures and high afternoon winds, just two races were contested. Each race had the winner crossing the finish line while their opponent limped to shore after an on-course equipment failure.

Monday, the Organizers have moved up the first race of the day to 12:10PM for Race 3 & 4.

These 72ft catamarans are like 'Floating Formula One Racers'...carbon fiber on the bleeding edge, racing at speeds not even dreamed of two years ago, not to mention back in 1986 when I first dreamed of America's Cup racing on The Bay!

I finally found a decent, printer-friendly TV schedule of the Louis Vuitton Cup Finals: Thanks San Jose Mercury News! I scrolled to the bottom of today's story, copied it, and made a Word.doc for the clipboard.

Let's be Fire Safe out there...We can get thru this!

This Time It's Personal

Well Fire Season is in full swing around the West...and it got personal on July 29th when the 'Dance Fire' in the Six Rivers National Forest ignited around 5PM.

Sister Sweetly and the distaff half of the Siskiyou County Wing of the Family rolled into the Ancestral Digs on Sunday the 28th for some good ol' Family Togetherness. We got the whole Family Dinner Thing together for Monday night, and had a grand old time catching up!

Sometime after Mom went to bed, Mrs. Wing gets the call from her hubby...there's a fire in the neighborhood and we're being evacuated...

Sister Sweetly and the distaff half of the Siskiyou County Wing of the Family blew out of town around 0630 the next morning...

Mrs. Wing dropped Sister Sweetly off at her coastal hamlet and snuck into her place before dark. Nature played nice and the 'Dance Fire' spared the Siskiyou County Wing's little slice of Paradise, and the Evacuation order was lifted at 6PM Wednesday evening.

Things settled down just in time for another wildfire in their neighborhood, the 'Butler Fire' to spark up around 10PM on Wednesday the 31st and the whole thing morphed into the 'Orleans Complex''s still active nineteen days and 15,466 acres later!

The Siskiyou County Wing are fine and safe...all the drama is 10 miles away now, and heading away.

Today I noticed another wildfire, that's much bigger and much more troubling...the 'Beaver Creek Fire' has been burning since lightning sparked it off on August 7th. It's up to almost 93,000 acres...and displaying 'extreme fire behavior'

From InciWeb: "Beaver Creek Fire is burning around the footprint of the 2007 Castle Rock fire and threatening the towns of Ketchum/Sun Valley and Hailey. Resources at risk include ski areas, homes, power transmission lines, Highway 75 and scenic recreational trails and camp grounds."

Last I heard, 1300 homes and vacation palaces are under evacuation orders.

Closer to home, the 'American Fire' burning near Foresthill on the Tahoe National Forest will continue to smoke out Truckee and the Tahoe Basin this week...

It's too early for this much fire...use your heads, be fire safe, please!