26 June 08
I just got a copy from the library of Richard Hamblyn’s new The Cloud Book, a well-illustrated cloud identification guide published by the UK Met Office. What we’ve been seeing these past few days isn’t described there. Smoke, persistent smoke, filling the Central Valley and then some. The visibility this afternoon was about 2 miles. According to the CAL FIRE site, as of this evening there were 28 active fire complexes burning throughout Northern California covering 165,000 acres. This set of fire complexes originated when a dry lightning storm moved through the northern half of the state on Saturday. That it has been a very dry spring didn’t help matters.
According to the weather service, some relief from the smoke may happen on Saturday, when the upper-level flow turns southerly with the northward migration of a low off the coast. But with so many fires everywhere, and with the possibility of more mountain thunderstorms, I don’t think it’s going to get very clear for quite some time.