Smoke and ash in and around Thurston County has lead to unhealthy air quality.
That means, if you live or work in Thurston County you may want to consider postponing your plans for outdoor activities on Tuesday and Wednesday (August 21 & 22). Air quality is expected to clear by Thursday.
Unhealthy air quality may seriously exacerbate existing heart or lung diseases.
Image from the Environmental Protection Agency website, shows the current air quality in our region. Learn more at AirNow-Washington.
Many people are wondering about the potential for an extended summer season that would continue our warm and dry weather into October and possibly longer. I will start out by saying it is certainly more likely this year than it was in 2016. You may recall that the day the calendar turned from summer to fall last year (September 21) we were done with summer and began one of the coolest winters in 30 years. It was also one of the wettest and most prolonged cool periods we have seen in the Pacific Northwest in a long time.
So what was that storm that hit us on May 4th, 2017 ?” Was it a record-breaking severe thunderstorm, a tornado, a microburst or something else? The answer to that question is yes to all but the tornado part. Depending on where you live, you experienced all or some of these nasty effects from a series of storms that dozed over us on May 4th. The first and most powerful storm approached the area southeast of Olympia and tracked toward Dupont. An area about ten miles wide experienced what were likely 60 to 80 mile per hour winds and truly record breaking rainfall. The storm produced over 600 lightning strikes from Chehalis through DuPont. Some people reported hail the size of half dollars just south of Lacey.
Long, dry summers can kill evergreen trees, and dead trees increase the risk of forest fires.
Most climate models predict there will be a shift to hotter, drier and longer summers in Thurston County and all of western Washington. We’ve been seeing it play out in the summer months for the last several years, 2016 being the exception.
If June and September become hotter and drier than they currently are we would begin to see a dramatic shift in vegetation begin to occur quite quickly. Within a decade there could be substantial changes to our forests. A shocking thought considering we are one of the rainiest parts of the United States.
On May 4, 2017 a powerful series of storms hit Thurston County with 60-80 mile per hour winds, 600 lightening strikes and record-breaking rainfall. It was epic. Some people are wondering, what happend exactly?
Was it a severe thunderstorm? A tornado? A microburst? Something else? The answer is yes to all, but the tornado.
A view of Thurston County’s Spring 2017 Wind Storm from Space.
In April 2017, Thurston County was hit by what some believed was a tornado that cut a path of destruction North along Interestate 5 from Dupont through Rochester. It ripped 100 foot diameter trees up by their roots, splintered evergreens along its path.
Here’s what that large storm looked like from the GOES 15 satellite stationed above the Northern Hemisphere. Here’s what caused it …