Hope you all had a wonderful weekend! The good news for Monday – no areas of widespread severe thunderstorms/tornadoes are in the forecast. The bad news – the week starts with additional fire and flood threats from the Rockies to the Ohio Valley. Also, two tropical storms are moving through the Pacific, likely becoming hurricanes this week.
Smoke gets in your eyes
The Milepost 97 wildfire in southwestern Oregon grew over the weekend. It was first reported last Wednesday evening, July 24, and now covers 11,000 acres near Canyonville, about 45 miles north of Medford. The fire is only 10 percent contained as of this morning, July 29. According to the Oregon Department of Transportation, some lanes of I-5 are still closed one mile south of Canyonville. Besides delays due to these closures, drivers may also run into slow traffic because of thick smoke and reduced visibility.
A mix of dry and wet thunderstorms, numerous lightning strikes and breezy conditions will keep the threat of wildfires active in the northern Rockies. The main threat is from eastern Idaho to Helena, Montana. The National Weather Service (NWS) has issued a Red Flag Warning for these areas.
Quick and heavy rain
Showers and thunderstorms will be mostly scattered across the Rockies, Great Plains and Midwest. However, a cold front from the Arklatex region to the Great Lakes will be the focus for isolated severe thunderstorms and localized flash flooding. This includes cities such as Little Rock, St. Louis, Memphis, Chicago and Detroit. Tonight, the heavy rain moves into portions of the Ohio River Valley. A few spots of flash flooding could also pop up across parts of the Rockies.
Back-to-back tropical storms
Tropical Storm Erick is getting stronger, with sustained winds up to 70 mph. Erick will likely become a Category 1 hurricane today and is only a concern to ocean freighters for the next few days. The storm is currently forecast to move just to the south of the big island of Hawaii this weekend, probably weakening back to a tropical storm by then. However, high surf and dangerous rip currents will probably kick in Friday, as well as potentially heavy rain and gusty winds. Right behind Erick is Tropical Storm Flossie, which could become a hurricane on Tuesday. Flossie will not be a threat to anyone on land during the next several days.
Have a great day, everyone, and be careful out there!