Winter Storm Watch for Red River Valley - likely upgraded to warning today
Rain then snow in NW MN "Fire Zone" today & Thursday
6" to 12" possible by Thursday night
Gusty NW winds to 45+ mph near blizzard conditions Thursday
"Critical Fire Danger" again today for southwest Minnesota
Metro on mild side 75 to 80F in the metro and south today
Cold plunge - windy & much colder 50s & 40s Thursday & Friday!
Winter 2012-'13: Here we go
The season's 1st major winter storm is taking aim at northwest Minnesota and the Red River Valley tonight and Thursday.
A deepening low pressure system will wrap up and cut into northern Minnesota Thursday. Rain will increase from the west today and change to snow overnight into Thursday morning as colder air funnels in. Here's the winter wording the Grand Forks NWS.
A low pressure system will develop and move into central Minnesota. As this system develops, rain will spread into the region today and continue into tonight. The rain is expected to mix with and change over to all snow by Thursday. The heaviest snowfall is expected across the northern Red River Valley into Northwest Minnesota where 6 or more inches is possible. North winds will become strong on Thursday, which could cause reduced visibility in falling and blowing snow.
Both the NAM and GFS are cranking out some serious rain and snow totals. With total precip 1" or more and cold air getting sucked into the system from Canada, much of will fall as snow.
The NAM is cranking out some impressive totals....6" to 12" and more in parts of eastern North Dakota and the Red River Valley into northwest Minnesota.
It's tempting to say snowfall totals may be overdone with an early season system, but I don;t think so looking at this storm. It's going to wrap up pretty quickly and hit hard by Thursday morning.
With northwest winds gusting to over 45mph Thursday, we could see "whiteout" and near blizzard conditions with near zero visibility at times in the Red River Valley. Blizzard warnings are not out of the question Thursday.
Stay tuned...and expect rapidly deteriorating weather conditions in northwest Minnesota tonight.
Southern Minnesota: One more mild day...with a side of critical" fire danger"
Southern Minnesota will (enjoy?) one more day of late summer-like warmth.
Highs will reach the upper 70s to near 80 this afternoon, then the cold front will push south Thursday bringing an end to our early October warmth.
Brief lucky break in Karlstad: Winds eased overnight
After a fortunate respite from 40mph+ wind gusts Tuesday, winds eased last night and today. Winds in the northwest Minnesota "fire zone" have been running around 6mph overnight and early today. Humidity also increased from 17% to near 30% Tuesday evening...then ran as high as 70% this morning.
Those changes greatly reduce the "extreme fire behavior" we saw Tuesday afternoon.
As the storm deepens and approaches from the Dakotas today, look for northeasterly winds to increase into the 15-30 mph winds again today and tonight.
Hopefully fire crews can get the upper hand on hot spots before the NE winds pick up again this afternoon.
Posted at 5:28 PM on October 2, 2012
by Paul Huttner
Filed under: Wildfires
Wind-driven fires 40+ mph gusts in northwest Minnesota Tuesday PM
"Wannaska Complex" At least 8 separate fires in northwest Minnesota
Smoke plume visible on Radar:
The smoke plume is visible from the Grand Forks doppler radar about 60 miles away.
The fact that you can see smoke on doppler 60 miles from the radar site indicates the smoke plume is significant and reaches several thousand feet into the air.
Here's the Tuesday late PM update from the Minnesota Incident Command System.
Fire Update -- Tuesday, Oct. 2, 4 p.m.
Posted on October 1, 2012 by jegoad
Extreme fire conditions in NW Minnesota today with several new starts. Example: Hallock, MN has temperature of 73, relative humidity of 19%, and winds from the SW at 35 mph, gusting to 43 mph.
Evacuations in the City of Karlstad. County Highway 27 Fire near Karlstad. Structures threatened. Two structures lost on south side of Karlstad. Civil Emergency Message posted. National Guard Blackhawks and at fire.
A new start north of the City of Viking about 4 to 5 miles long. Structures lost outside of town. Evacuations of some homes outside of town. The town itself is not threatened.
When working or recreating outdoors, please refrain form activities that could lead to fire ignitions. This includes equipment operations.
Campfire restrictions: Campfire restrictions remain in Northwest and Central Minnesota counties. Burning restrictions in most of the state.
Microcast: Shifting winds, rain & snow next 48 hours:
Northwest Minnesota will see a complex array of shifting winds, with rain developing Wednesday night that could change to accumulating snow as much colder air pushes south behind the system.
3 separate fires burning in Northwest Minnesota today
2,000+ acres burned so far, and growing
Red Flag Warnings out for the western half of Minnesota today
16% Humidity values as low as 16% today
Winter Storm "Yogi?" Weather Channel to "name" major winter storms this winter!
Multiple fires underway in northwest Minnesota:
This is not your typical early October weather in Minnesota.
The NWS is highlighting "critical fire weather" again today as at least 3 separate blazes burn a total of 2,000 acres in northwest Minnesota.
National Interagency Coordination Center
Incident Management Situation Report
Tuesday, October 2, 2012 - 0530 MT
National Preparedness Level 2
An area of low pressure will intensify across southern canada today. as a result, the pressure gradient will increase across the northern plains and portions of the upper midwest this afternoon. Humidity values will drop into the teens and low 20s, creating critical fire weather conditions over west central and southwest Minnesota. Winds further east should be light enough to keep conditions below critical levels. another front is expected to move across the upper midwest late wednesday. Ahead of this front, low relative humidity values are predicted, but winds are currently not expected to reach red flag criteria. Behind this front, much colder air will surge southward with a chance of precipitation, especially across central Minnesota thursday.
Some smoke is visible mixing in with cirrus clouds this morning in northern Minnesota.
Red Flag Warnings are flying for the western half of Minnesota today.
...RED FLAG WARNING IN EFFECT FROM 11 AM THIS MORNING TO 7 PM CDT THIS EVENING FOR WIND AND LOW RELATIVE HUMIDITY FOR WEST CENTRAL AND SOUTHWEST MINNESOTA...
THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN TWIN CITIES/CHANHASSEN HAS ISSUED A RED FLAG WARNING FOR WIND AND LOW RELATIVE HUMIDITY...WHICH IS IN EFFECT FROM 11 AM THIS MORNING TO 7 PM CDT THIS EVENING.
* WINDS...SOUTH 15 TO 20 MPH WITH GUSTS UP TO 30 MPH.
* TIMING...11 AM TO 7 PM TODAY.
* RELATIVE HUMIDITY...AS LOW AS 15 TO 20 PERCENT.
* IMPACTS...FIRES COULD BECOME FAST MOVING IN A SHORT PERIOD OF
TIME DUE TO THE HIGH WINDS AND LOW HUMIDITY.
A RED FLAG WARNING MEANS THAT CRITICAL FIRE WEATHER CONDITIONS ARE EITHER OCCURRING NOW...OR WILL SHORTLY. A COMBINATION OF STRONG WINDS...LOW RELATIVE HUMIDITY...AND WARM TEMPERATURES WILL CREATE EXPLOSIVE FIRE GROWTH POTENTIAL.
Winter Storm "Athena?" Weather Channel will name winter storms in 2012-'13:
This could get interesting.
The Weather Channel announced this morning that they will name major winter storms, similar to the way NOAA names hurricanes this winter.
During the upcoming 2012-13 winter season The Weather Channel will name noteworthy winter storms. Our goal is to better communicate the threat and the timing of the significant impacts that accompany these events. The fact is, a storm with a name is easier to follow, which will mean fewer surprises and more preparation.
Naming Winter Storms
Hurricanes and tropical storms have been given names since the 1940s. In the late 1800s, tropical systems near Australia were named as well. Weather systems, including winter storms, have been named in Europe since the 1950s. Important dividends have resulted from attaching names to these storms:
•Naming a storm raises awareness.
•Attaching a name makes it much easier to follow a weather system's progress.
•A storm with a name takes on a personality all its own, which adds to awareness.
•In today's social media world, a name makes it much easier to reference in communication.
•A named storm is easier to remember and refer to in the future.
The chosen names come from a list that will not intersect with names used for hurricanes.
This could get interesting...and in my opinion it's a great PR move for The Weather Channel, whose ratings spike during major winter storms.
Where's "Boreas" and "Vulcan?"
4.84" GFS model rainfall total for MSP Airport through next Tuesday
4.6" ECMWF (European) model rainfall output
Scattered showers today moving east
Heavy rains possible Thursday & Saturday?
Severe risk Thursday includes MSP area
Watch 131 years of global warming in 26 seconds
Minnesota: 3rd fastest warming state in the nation
.62F degrees per decade pace of warming in Minnesota
Colorado's "High Park Fire" smoke plume now overhead in Minnesota
Here we go again.
Sunday's rain ended a dry stretch of 12 days from May 29 through June 9th. (.03")
Now the faucet is turning on again, and it looks like it may get cranked up to "high" in the next 72 hours.
Here's a look at the evolving wet weather pattern over the next 5-6 days.
The System: A slow moving upper level low pressure system sending waves of energy into Minnesota through the weekend into early next week.
Moisture: Dew points rising into the 60s and even 70s by Father's Day weekend.
Rainfall: Multi inch rainfall possible, with the heaviest rainfall likely Thursday and again Saturday night into Father's Day, Monday & Tuesday.
Take a look at some of the model guidance below. Anywhere from 3" to 6" rainfall totals are possible according to various models by next Tuesday.
Possible Effects: Hit or miss T-Storms with heavy tropical rainfall. Possible severe risk Thursday & Saturday-Tuesday? Another wave of rising river levels by early next week?
Colorado's "High Park Fire" sending smoke our way:
I posted extensively on this Tuesday, and the latest NOAA satellite shots indicate the smoke plume is riding over Minnesota and much of the Midwest now.
Here's a way to track the smoke plume from NOAA's NESDIS Fire Detection Program.
131 years of global warming in 26 seconds?
For those of you in a hurry who don't have 131 years to watch global warming happen, here's the quick version from Climate Central.
Source: Climate Central
Minnesota: We're #3! 3rd "fastest warming" state in the nation
Here's an eye opening study from Climate Central.
Smoke now visible overhead above the Twin Cities metro area
"High Park" wildfire smoke likely to increase over Minnesota in the next few days
Thunderstorms growing and moving east in Nebraska toward Minnesota
Multi inch rainfall totals possible next few days
Wireless Emergency Alerts coming soon to smart phones
A Sikorsky S-64 Aircrane firefighting helicopter drops water on a hotspot burning close to homes near Horsetooth Reservoir June 11, 2012 near Laporte, Colorado. The High Park Fire in Larimer County has burned almost 37,000 acres and damaged or destroyed more than 100 structures. There is no containment of the fire, which is burning in the mountains about 15 miles west of Fort Collins, Co. (Photo by Marc Piscotty/Getty Images)
Colorado smoke plume now visible overhead:
Colorado's massive "High Park" fire continues to belch out thick smoke, and the plume is now visible overhead in much of Minnesota.
Check out this GOES 1km visible satellite shot from Tuesday afternoon. I've highlighted in yellow the smoke streak oriented WNW to ESE in central Minnesota. You can see the leading edge was just over the metro around 3pm Tuesday.
NOAA satellites are tracking the plume as it moves in.
You can see the smoke from the ground now. Here is a photo I snapped at the weather lab as the leading edge of the smoke plume drifts overhead.
I would estimate the height of the plume is mostly at or above 15,000 feet.
With the smoke plume overhead, it's possible we'll see some vivid sunsets the next few days in Minnesota. Smoke particles are effective at scattering the blue and violet rays from the visible spectrum while letting the reds in, so it's possible we'll see a reddish tint at sunset.
Cliff Mass has a nice explainer here.
It turns out the small particles in the air (small compared to the wavelength of light) can scatter incoming light into various directions and that they scatter short wavelengths (purple and blue) much more than longer wavelengths (orange and red).
There will be plenty of rain around starting tomorrow, so this(Tuesday) evening may be the best time to catch a "vivid sunset."
Smoke on the increase?
Winds aloft will blow form the west-southwest the next few days. That trajectory should push more of the smoke plume into Minnesota. It may be tough to see with increasing clouds the next few days, but it will be there.
Take a look at the surface winds below from Tuesday afternoon. You can see how the winds fan out from the center of high pressure over Minnesota. Also, look how the winds near Denver will tend to suck any low level smoke from near Denver to the north...then eventually push it toward Minnesota as the high drifts east. It's possible we could see/smell some ground level smoke in Minnesota within the next few days.
"June-Soon" ahead: Rains ready to return
Sunday ended our string of dry days in most of Minnesota. MSP Airport picked up a scant .03" during the 12 day stretch between May 29th and June 9th.
Now it looks like the water faucet is about to gush again.
A slow moving upper low is pulling out of the Rockies and heading for Minnesota the next few days. Several waves of low pressure will slide through between Wednesday and Monday. Each one will bring rain, and the totals could add up to several inches in some areas by Monday.
The first rain chance comes Wednesday, and maybe relatively light.
Right now, it looks like potentially heavier rains come in Thursday night, Saturday and again Father's Day or Monday.
We could see anywhere from 1" to 3" in much of central and southern Minnesota by Monday.
Time to clear the downspouts again!
NOAA "WEA's" on the way:
Here's an update from NOAA on the (free) Wireless Emergency Alerts coming soon to a smart phone near you.
The text alert service is free and automatic - there's no need to sign up or download an app. As long as your cell phone is capable of receiving text messages, you'll get wireless alerts for the most dangerous types of weather from NOAA's National Weather Service no matter where you are, just as soon as the new service is available in your area.
NOAA's NWS will broadcast warnings for weather emergencies that are most dangerous to life and property: tornadoes, flash floods, hurricanes, extreme wind, blizzards and ice storms, tsunamis, and dust storms. (Severe thunderstorm warnings will not be part of the initial rollout of broadcast messages because they are so frequent; however, these will continue to be broadcast by NOAA Weather Radio, media outlets and Internet-based services.)
The one big advantage of thee alerts...they are "cell tower specific." You'll get warnings as you travel around for the specific area you're in.
Posted at 9:02 AM on June 12, 2012
by Paul Huttner
Filed under: Wildfires
39 in Ely, Bemidji, Roseau & Grand Marais this morning
38 in Grand Forks
June 25th last "frost free" date (90% chance of last 32 degree temp) around Embarrass, Minnesota
41,000+ acres burned in massive, out of control Colorado wildfire
Smoke plume drifting into parts of Minnesota
Rising lake levels - Tonka up 1 foot + this spring
2" rainfall totals possible in some areas by late Sunday
Free AC Today:
It's been a remarkable change in air masses in Minnesota over the past 36 hours.
Temps have plunged nearly 50 degrees in Minnesota. Ely dived from 86 Sunday afternoon, to 39 this morning. That's a 47 degree drop!
Enjoy the free AC today. Temps will begin to climb again as winds turn into the south the rest of the week.
It's not that unusual to see 30s (and even frost) in northern Minnesota well into June. The average "frost free" date for places like Embarrass is at or after June 25th! Think about that for a minute....that's after the summer solstice. Scary stuff.
Thundery Pattern Returns:
We'll enjoy one last dry day today in most of Minnesota. The faucet will turn again on tomorrow, and we could see 3 or 4 waves of rain and thunder through the upcoming Father's Day weekend.
Models are indicating some areas may pick up a good 1" to 2" (and possibly up to 3") in some areas by Sunday & Monday. Watering optional this week/weekend.
Dramatic lake & river rises this spring!
The transition from severe drought to nearly normal (and in some cases above normal) water levels this spring is nothing short of amazing.
The level of Lake Minnetonka is up more than 1 foot this spring. Monday's measured lake level is 929.14', up exactly 1 foot since May 4th. That's not easy to do on the big lake.
The flow out of the Gray's Bay Dam increased a bit Monday, from 12CFS to 20CFS.
The rise in lake levels is mostly good news for boaters and swimmers who want to enjoy the lakes this summer, and keep the prop off rocks and reefs.
Massive western wildfires sending smoke to Minnesota:
High Park Fire, Colorado
NASA's Aqua satellite passed over the High Park Fire in Colorado on June 10, 2012 at 2030 UTC (4:30 p.m. EDT) and captured this visible image of the thick pall of smoke blowing east, just north of Fort Collins.
The fire is located about 15 miles west of Fort Collins, in the Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forests and the Pawnee National Grassland. The light brown colored smoke and the heat signatures from the fires were detected by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) instrument that flies onboard Aqua. The image was created by the MODIS Rapid Response Team located at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md.
The massive western forest fires are starting to have an effect on Minnesota. Take a look at today's smoke analysis from NOAA satellites. You can see some of the smoke for the massive fire near Fort Collins, Colorado has reached Minnesota.
You may see a whitish tint to the sky today, and more vivid colors at sunset.
These fires are going to burn for a while, and smoke plumes may frequent Minnesota and the Upper Midwest in the coming days.
Update 7:00pm: Latest fire maps...smoke plume causing health problems in Chicago, some smoke may arrive in the Twin Cities metro area Wednesday!
Pagami Creek Fire smoke plume explodes Monday on NASA MODIS Terra Satellite image.
(Courtesy UW CIMSS Satellite blog)
The latest maps showing the areas burned by the Pagami Creek Fire are heartbreaking to me as a seasoned BWCAW traveler. Some of the most popular, beautiful and valuable wilderness canoe routes have now been charred according to the latest fire maps.
On the map below you can see the fire perimeter now includes the route through the popular "numbered lakes" (One through Four) into Hudson and Insula Lakes. You can see a large and detailed map here.
This route is one of the most travelled in the BWCA. I paddled this route last August from the beautiful Kawishiwi Lodge on Lake One.
Here are some photos of the beauty that is Lake Insula.
Smoke causing health problems in Milwaukee & Chicago!
WGN webcam image shows thick smoke in Chicago Tuesday.
Thick smoke is hanging low as far away as Chicago Tuesday evening.
@MPRweather they've closed the roof at the #Brewers-#Rockies game at Miller Park b/c of the smoke!
Here's the statement form the Chicago NWS. Air quality alerts have been issued in Milwaukee!
SPECIAL WEATHER STATEMENT
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE CHICAGO IL
205 PM CDT TUE SEP 13 2011
INCLUDING THE CITIES OF...ROCKFORD...BELVIDERE...WOODSTOCK...
205 PM CDT TUE SEP 13 2011 /305 PM EDT TUE SEP 13 2011/
...SMOKE FROM NORTHEASTERN MINNESOTA WILD FIRE SPREADING INTO NORTHERN ILLINOIS...
SMOKE FROM A LARGE WILDFIRE OVER NORTHEAST MINNESOTA HAS BEEN MOVING INTO FAR NORTHERN ILLINOIS THIS AFTERNOON...DUE TO
NORTHERLY WINDS BEHIND A COLD FRONT WHICH MOVED ACROSS THE AREA EARLY THIS MORNING. ALTHOUGH THE FIRE IS MORE THAN 400 MILES NORTHWEST OF THE AREA...THE COMBINATION OF SINKING AIR AND NORTHERLY WINDS BEHIND THE FRONT HAS TRANSPORTED SMOKE ALL THE WAY INTO NORTHERN ILLINOIS. THE SMOKE WILL LIKELY PERSIST THROUGH THE AFTERNOON AND INTO THE OVERNIGHT HOURS...BEFORE WINDS BECOME MORE WESTERLY IN ADVANCE OF ANOTHER COLD FRONT WHICH WILL APPROACH EARLY WEDNESDAY MORNING. SMOKE WILL LIKELY CONTINUE TO SPREAD TO
THE SOUTHEAST ACROSS MUCH OF NORTHEAST ILLINOIS AND NORTHWEST INDIANA THROUGH THIS EVENING. EXPECT HAZY SKIES AND A DISTINCT BURNING ODOR.
THE LAKE COUNTY ILLINOIS EMERGENCY MANAGER REPORTS THAT SMOKE IS PREVALENT ENOUGH TO CAUSE PEOPLE TO REPORT DIFFICULTY BREATHING AND BURNING OF THEIR EYES.
INDIVIDUALS WITH RESPIRATORY PROBLEMS SHOULD USE CAUTION WHILE SMOKE AFFECTS THE AREA.
And in Milwaukee...
554 PM CDT TUE SEP 13 2011
...AIR QUALITY ADVISORY ISSUED FOR THE COUNTIES OF DODGE...
WAUKESHA.... MILWAUKEE...RACINE AND KENOSHA
THIS AIR QUALITY ADVISORY IS BEING ISSUED DUE TO THE SUBSTANTIAL
INCREASE IN LEVELS OF FINE PARTICULATES IN SOUTHEASTERN WISCONSIN FROM A FOREST FIRE SMOKE PLUME EMANATING FROM NORTHEASTERN MINNESOTA.
THE WISCONSIN DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL RESOURCES HAS ISSUED AN AIR QUALITY ADVISORY FOR FINE PARTICULATES WHICH WILL REMAIN IN EFFECT UNTIL 11 AM TOMORROW. THIS ADVISORY AFFECTS THE PEOPLE LIVING IN THE COUNTIES OF DODGE...WAUKESHA....MILWAUKEE...RACINE
THE AIR QUALITY INDEX WILL SOON REACH THE UNHEALTHY LEVEL FOR
PEOPLE IN SENSITIVE GROUPS INCLUDING CHILDREN... ELDERLY PEOPLE...
INDIVIDUALS WITH RESPIRATORY AND CARDIAC PROBLEMS...OR ANYONE
ENGAGED IN STRENUOUS OUTDOOR ACTIVITIES FOR A PROLONGED PERIOD OFTIME.
Visibilities dropped from 10 miles to as low as 2.5 miles near Lake Michigan Tuesday in Milwaukee and Chicago.
The map from my former workplace in Chicago, WGN TV.
In addition a lake breeze front forced the smoke to descend to near ground level, creating what's known as a "trapping effect." This made it hard to breathe the concentrated smoke plume in Lake County north of Chicago.
The story from the WGN Weather Center:
Forest fire smoke plume being forced to the surface by cold front and lake breeze
"September 13, 2011 4:22 PM |
A forest fire that was ignited by lightning over far northern Minnesota on August 18th has sent smoke plumes south into Wisconsin and Illinois on a strengthening northerly flow.
The majority of the smoke from this fire has gone relatively unnoticed across the Midwest, drifting aloft between 3000 and10,000 feet. Unnoticed until today, when the combination of a cold front and a lake breeze forced the smoke to the surface, dropping visibility at times to 2 miles.
The lowest visibility is along and near the lake, from Milwaukee to Chicago, where a "lake breeze circulation" has developed this afternoon. This circulation forces air to sink over the lake, driving the thickest smoke, residing at 3000 to 5000 feet, down to the surface. Developing northeast winds are now sending that smoke inland, into Chicago, northeast Illinois and southeast Wisconsin."
Smoke plume may reach Twin Cities Wednesday:
So far the wind trajectories have pushed the smoke plume east of the Twin Cities. That may change Wednesday.
A secondary cold front will shift winds more into the north and northeast, instead of the northwest. This may push smoke southward toward the Twin Cities metro by Wednesday.
It remains to be seen how thick the smoke may be, but expect to see some increase in smoke in the metro by later Wednesday into Thursday.
Update 3:15pm: Smoke now reported in Milwaukee, & Chicago suburbs!
Smoky sky clearly visible in along the Chicago Lakefront from the web cam at the Field Museum of natural History.
I'm getting calls from relatives now in the northern Chicago suburbs that smoke is in the air. Here are some of the numerous comments from Updraft that confirm (thick) smoke has travelled as much as 500 miles!
"While driving, I thought there was something wrong with my sunglasses.
But sure enough, it was smoke and I work in Schaumburg (25 miles NW of Chicago).
Commenter name: Dan
I live in Delafield, WI (about thirty miles west of Milwaukee) and I could smell it at 8 this morning. At first I thought someone in our neighborhood was burning trash, but when I got to my college in
Pewaukee, I could smell it there, too. One of my teachers said
something about smoke from Long Lake covering most of Wisconsin. I couldn't believe it! That's crazy! But the smell is strange. It doesn't smell like trees burning, it smells like garbage.
Commenter name: Emma E
I work in Waukegan, IL and it is hazy and we can smell the smoke.
Commenter name: RobinT
Smoke has reached the metropolitan Milwaukee area. I first noticed smoke and the smell of burning wood around 10:30 a.m. (west of MKE). I thought a neighbor was taking advantage of today being a "burn day" in our city.
I have family near Ely ... I can't imagine how it must be up there.
Commenter name: Elizabeth F
We have smoke in West Bend, WI. You can even smell it inside the office. Looking outside you can see smoke haze. I have also hear it is getting bad in Germantown, WI. Didn't notice it when I got up this morning (Tues Sept 13) , but we sure have it now.
Commenter name: P Koenings"
Awoke several times Monday night smelling smoke. Checked house and even walked up neighbor's driveway to make sure she was OK. By 5 am, smoke was so strong and acrid, we had to shut the windows.
Began driving around to make sure other neighbors' houses and barns were OK.
Finally heard on local (Door County, WI) radio station that reports of smoke smell had been coming in from around the county all night, and that the smoke was from a forest fire in Minnesota. Shocking and sad!
Commenter name: J. Hughes
Update 9:30am:Smoke plume moving into Grand Marais again
As winds increase and shift into the west, the smoke plume is sweeping northward and pushing into Grand Marais again Tuesday morning.
Here's the shot from the Grand Marais Harbor Cam at 9:15am Tuesday. You can clearly see the smoky white tint to the sky looking south.
Here's the GOES 1km visible satelltie image at 9:15am. I've put an oval around the fire plume, and laid streamlines indicating surface wind flow in yellow over the top. You can see how the plume is getting pushed to the North Shore near Grand Marais...then fanning out across Lake Superior.
Smoke reports are coming in from as far away as Green Bay!
Update 8am Tuesday:
Here's an email I received overnight from Roger Nyquist with the Kawishiwi Lodge on Lake One. There are indications the Pagami Creek Fire blew up to as large as 70,000 acres Monday.
"Hello Paul, I work for Kawishiwi Lodge which is located on Lake One. I have been working on the end of the Fernberg Road on and off since 1999. The latest word from the News conference in Isabella is that the fire has spread 16 miles east in only 8 hours today!! Mark Van Every ( Kawishiwi Forest District Ranger) himself said this tonight.
That puts the total fire area at 70,000 acres and going strong! We have sent out 20 of our canoes full of D.N.R. and Forest Service employees from all parts of the country. The plumes of smoke and fire are visible from the lodge and surrounding areas. The fire is not going to die easy! This thing is a beast! It keeps jumping ahead and then filling in behind itself. Stop on by Kawishiwi Lodge next time you come up this way eh!"
We should get confirmation of the new number of acres this morning, but that acerage would not surprise me given the wind and fire conditions Monday.
Here's the Civil Emergency Message issued by NWS Duluth last night.
CIVIL EMERGENCY MESSAGE
LAKE COUNTY SHERIFFS OFFICE
RELAYED BY NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE DULUTH MN
559 PM CDT MON SEP 12 2011
THE FOLLOWING MESSAGE IS TRANSMITTED AT THE REQUEST OF THE LAKE COUNTY SHERIFFS OFFICE.
DUE TO THE PAGAMI CREEK FIRE...AN EVACUATION HAS BEEN ORDERED BY
LAKE COUNTY SHERIFFS OFFICE. THE ORDER IS FOR LAKE COUNTY ROAD 7...CRAMER ROAD FROM FOUR MILE GRADE NORTH TO KAWISHIWI LAKE...AND WANLESS ROAD FROM COUNTY ROAD 7 WEST TO HOMESTEAD LAKE.
A PUBLIC MEETING WILL BE HELD TONIGHT AT 7 PM AT THE ISABELLA
COMMUNITY CENTER TO UPDATE RESIDENTS ON THE STATUS OF THE FIRE AND FUTURE PRECAUTIONARY EVACUATIONS. FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT
2 1 8 3 6 5 3 1 7 7.
And check out this spectacular photo of the fire's billowing smoke plume from Carl Karasti via the Duluth NWS.
Here is the plume this morning as seen from from the GOES satellite 1km visible image. You can see the plume as reached the Wisconsin shores of Lake Superior, where reports of smoke and smoky smell are pouring in.
Here's a more detailed map of the fire as of Sunday.
And some more photos of the fire from USFS aircraft.
Latest doppler loop from Duluth NEXRAD showing plume now shifting east toward and into Grand Marais with frontal passage. Expect the plume to gradually shift southward along the North Shore overnight and Tuesday as winds shift into the northwest.
Check out the smoky looking Grand Marais Harbor Cam at 5:45pm Monday evening.
The dense and growing smoke plumes now rise thousands of feet into the air; and are easily seen on the Duluth NEXRAD doppler radar, and from NOAA weather satellites orbiting 22,000 miles above the earth.
Check out the doppler loop Monday afternoon from the Duluth NEXRAD site. You can see a line of rain showers approaching Ely...then off to the east you can see the smoke plume spewing eastward to the north of Grand Marais.
"Pyrocumulus" smoke plume visible from space too!
Big lumpy cloud clusters called "pyrocumulus" are generated by these big fires, and pyrocumulus are clearly visible from space Monday.
In some cases the updrafts are so intense that thunderstorms can form around these plumes, creating "pyrocumulonimbus" clouds that spawn vivid lightning and thunder!
(Click image to enlarge for detailed view)
Here's an amazing visible satellite loop of the plume from Sunday.
The Pagami Creek Fire is in the popular "numbered lakes" region east of Ely. As you can see form the MPR story today, huge smoke plumes are clearly visible from Lakes One, Two, Three, Four, Hudson and Insula.
DATE OF DETECTION: August 18, 2011
CURRENT SIZE: approximately 11,000 acres acreage is expected to increase today due to weather conditions.
LOCATION: Township 63 N, Range 9 W, Sections 30, 31, 32: approximately 14 miles east of Ely (within the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness) in the Pagami Creek area between the South Kawishiwi River, Clearwater Lake, and Lake One.
SMOKE CONDITIONS: Smoke may be heavy and wide spread depending on wind direction.
PAGAMI CREEK FIRE UPDATE
September 12, 2011
Contact: Fire Information 218-365-3177
TODAY'S MESSAGE: Yesterday, strong north winds drove a point of the Pagami Creek Fire south toward the Isabella River. Approximately 50 campers from the river and lake routes south of the fire and 70 campers along the eastern front of the fire were assisted out of the wilderness by Public Safety Crews. Entry points near the fire were closed and campers with reservations were given the option to reserve a new permit with available quota from other entry points. Wilderness wide campfire restrictions were enacted. Campfires will be allowed only between 6:00 p.m. and midnight until further notice.
Public Safety crews are posted at portages and entry points to keep visitors clear of areas threatened by fire as well as those areas that may fill with dense smoke.
Airplanes and helicopters are being used to drop water, keeping the fire within the wilderness and south and east of the Kawishiwi River.
Crews will focus containment efforts on the northern edge and southern tip of the fire.
CLOSURES: Most of the BWCAW remains safe and open to visitors. To insure public safety the following waterways and portages are closed: Lakes One through Hudson, Fire, Bridge, Rifle, the Wilders, Horseshoe, Pagami, Clearwater, Turtle, Camdre, Pietro, Gull, Quadga, Rice, Isabella Lake, and the Isabella River. The southern campsites on Bald Eagle are closed. The Pow Wow Trail is closed. The following entry points are closed: #30 Lake One, #84 Snake River, #75 Little Isabella River, #67 Bog Lake, #86 Pow Wow Trail, #35 Isabella Lake, and #34 Island River. Today, campsites on the southern end of Insula Lake will be added to the closures. Sites, routes and portages will be re-opened as soon as it is safe to do so.
I paddled these lakes last August and they are some of the most beautiful and popular in the BWCA.
Fire & rain:
As if fire isn't enough, the cold front is spawned severe thunderstorms warnings for the area Monday afternoon. Rains may be spotty, but winds gusting 50 to 70 mph may send the fire surging eastward.
BULLETIN - IMMEDIATE BROADCAST REQUESTED
SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WARNING
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE DULUTH MN
340 PM CDT MON SEP 12 2011
THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN DULUTH MN HAS ISSUED A
* SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WARNING FOR...
WEST CENTRAL COOK COUNTY IN NORTHEAST MINNESOTA...
NORTHERN LAKE COUNTY IN NORTHEAST MINNESOTA...
* UNTIL 430 PM CDT
* AT 335 PM CDT...NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE DOPPLER RADAR INDICATED A
SEVERE THUNDERSTORM CAPABLE OF PRODUCING QUARTER SIZE HAIL...AND
DESTRUCTIVE WINDS IN EXCESS OF 70 MPH. THIS STORM WAS LOCATED NEAR
SILVER RAPIDS...OR 8 MILES EAST OF ELY...AND MOVING EAST AT 30 MPH.
* THE SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WILL BE NEAR...
GABBRO LAKE AND BALD EAGLE LAKE AROUND 345 PM CDT.
LAKE THREE AND LAKE TWO AROUND 355 PM CDT. SNOWBANK LAKE AND SNOW BANK LAKE AROUND 400 PM CDT.
DISAPPOINTMENT LAKE AROUND 405 PM CDT.
HUDSON LAKE AND ISABELLA LAKE AROUND 410 PM CDT.
THOMAS LAKE AROUND 415 PM CDT.
ALICE LAKE AROUND 420 PM CDT.
Tuesday: Potential "Firestorm"
This strong cold front is sweeping through Minnesota. Much cooler air will sweep south Tuesday, and strong gusty west winds from 15 to 30 mph will fan the flames.
This may yet again double the size of the Pagami Creek Fire, which exploded from 4,500 acres to 11,000 acres Monday.
With only spotty rain expected with the front, and a generally dry forecast for the next week, this fire may burn for some time to come.