Hurricane Dora and Fires in Hawaii

Hurricane Dora has passed south of the Hawaiian Islands. Normally that would be a footnote and mostly of interest to surfers, however, parts of the islands are suffering from drought, with rain less than 5% of normal over the last 90 days. While the storm didn’t pass close enough for significant winds, the problem is that it generate a steady east-west flow over the island. Think of how you start a fire by gently blowing on the embers; not enough it goes out, too hard it blows out. So lack of rain plus a little wind means any wildland fires have the potential to flare up and cause a lot of havoc – and in this case, sadly, lost lives (link to NBC News article). Here is a map showing the path of Dora (from my TAOS/TC model) along with the fires and smoke plumes (from NOAA’s satellite operations division):

Click to embiggen.

Winds should die down by Friday, which will help, but unfortunately it doesn’t look like any rain in the forecast for at least the next week.

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