Visibility has greatly improved since earlier this afternoon as winds have really picked up to push the dense smoke east and north of the Reno/Carson City area. Looking at the latest webcam looking south toward the Carson City area shows a much-improved visibility with smoke over the Carson and Eagle valleys.
The latest visible satellite image shows that the main smoke plume from the Mendocino complex fire has shifted more north. As mentioned in yesterday’s discussion, winds have become more SW or WSW at this time. This is all on a vigorous upper level jet near 100 knots moving over the west coast. Looking at the latest water vapor imagery, some of the origin of this jet is due to a large trough in the northeastern Pacific and a tap to some very high-level moisture from near the Hawaiian Islands. In fact, with this type of pattern, if this were winter, we would be seeing some significant storms, but it’s the typically dry time of year.
For what it’s worth, forecast simulations show another trough may approach the west coast for next weekend to bring another round of gusty afternoon winds and very low humidity (low confidence). And looking further out, the CSFv2 have been showing the possibility of a rather active thunderstorm pattern around the last half of August. There is a lot of uncertainty in this, but it bears watching since it’s climatologically the time of year for modified monsoonal pushes of moisture into western Nevada.
We’ll see of course as we get further into August!