Thursday, July 31, 2014

Photos: Majestic thunderstorm lights up over Mt. Hood

Majestic thunderstorm forms over Mt. Hood Photos of a dramatic thunderstorm taken in the Columbia River Gorge July 22, 2014 at sunset. Photos are courtesy Darlisa Black,

click link above for photo series of storm development

Why Seattle doesn't see Eastern Wash. wildfire plumes until the afternoon

Published: Jul 30, 2014

Local social media posts have been perking up each afternoon noting tall plumes of clouds over the Cascades. What you're seeing are smoke and the "pyrocumulus" clouds created by the wildfires burning in Eastern Washington. The heat from the fires is its own engine for creating rising air that cools and condenses into clouds.
But why don't we normally see those clouds over here until the afternoon?
There is a bit of an inversion in play in Eastern Washington, caused by sinking air aloft from high pressure and cooler air forming near the ground at night from clear skies allowing the day's heat to radiate back into space.

The morning weather balloon launched in Spokane Wednesday showed the temperature at the surface was 63 but was a whopping 84 degrees at 3,000 feet. It was a little warmer in Central Washington near the wildfires this morning, but you get the idea.                                                                                           Wildfire Plume over Eastern Washington

But as the day -- and the ground -- warms up, eventually this process reverses and the lid goes 'poof' allowing the hot air and smoke to roar to the skies, creating a vertical plume visible across much of the state.

amazing video of wildfire smoke movement

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