It has been a rough summer week here in the Palm Springs area. Extreme heat, periods of humidity, and smoke from the nearby Cranston fire have all contributed to a cauldron of atmospheric conditions that have strained even the hardiest summertime resident.
Currently, the Cranston Fire appears to be advancing very slowly to the southeast of Idyllwild, currently moving away from the town. The northwest areas of Garner Valley have been most vulnerable the past 36 hours. Most other areas are burning much less ferocious than in days past.
INCREDIBLE HEAT LAST WEEK
Temperatures were remarkably hot this past week. Palm Springs International Airport (PSP) had a long run of temps over 110. Often, heatwaves of this magnitude will last only a few days... but this one lasted nearly an entire week.
July 27: 115/86
July 26: 114/89
July 25: 116/91
July 24: 121/90
July 23: 119/87
July 22: 115/83
BRIEF RETURN TO SOUTHEAST FLOW TONIGHT & SUNDAY -
An uptick in southeast monsoon flow is expected tonight and Sunday. This will bring about another surge in moisture tonight and tomorrow. Also, thunderstorms are blossoming over sections of Arizona, and could possibly produce a haboob as they track west from Phoenix and Tucson later this afternoon and this evening.
There is a slight chance these storms will hold together as they progress west, and if they do so, there is the possibility of another dust storm across the Coachella Valley tonight. Currently, the large thunderstorm complex is growing to the southeast of Yuma, Arizona. It is moving northwest. A large outflow boundary is possible as the system moves toward the lower Colorado River Valley. If this occurs, a large haboob could form. Another area of storms is forming in the high country to the northeast of Phoenix, and will likely move into the Phoenix area after 6pm. These storms could congeal as they move to the southwest as well... and could be a secondary source of high winds for eastern California tonight after 8-9pm.
Either way, even if a haboob fails to materialize tonight, it is possible the entire Coachella Valley will experience additional fresh winds from the east and southeast at some point this evening between 8pm and midnight or so... along with haze and higher humidity. Dewpoints will likely surge up to or above 70 degrees once again. Another sticky morning is in store for us tomorrow!
SUNDAY MOUNTAIN STORMS
Sunday will bring a much better chance of afternoon thunderstorms across the local mountains. Firefighters will clearly be monitoring weather conditions in case erratic outflow winds affect the Idyllwild area. Additionally, any outflows from strong Arizona storms tonight could bring a wind shift to the southeast in the mountains later tonight - this will need to be carefully monitored in the Idyllwild area, as winds have been mostly from the west the past several days up there. Erratic winds would not be a positive development. Humidity will likely be higher on Sunday though, which is great news. It is possible a few thunderstorms could occur across our desert areas as well, but the chance is very slight.
NEXT WEEK COULD TURN DRIER
Longer term forecasts are trending drier next week. At this point, a diminishing chance of afternoon and evening thunderstorms will likely support only very isolated storms at best. The monsoon moisture from the southeast is likely to remain east of the Colorado River most of next week, if models are correct. This is tantalizing close to our area though, so any change in the weather pattern, even by 150 miles, could keep afternoon thunderstorms in the forecast. 7-10 day computer models suggest a trough of low pressure moving off the California coast the following week of August 6th, and could open the door for disturbances from the south. Any hurricane formation off the Mexico coast could spread moisture into the Desert Southwest under such a pattern. Temperatures will also likely remain at average under such a weather regime. Let's see if the future models hold to this or not!
In the meantime, there are some amazing heroes among us. The brave firefighters that helped protect Idyllwild have been in town (Many located at the V Hotel). Idyllwild will need our help once the town is ready to accept visitors and the electricity returns. Our cherished local mountain getaway and the local businesses that rely on tourism will need us! Let's hope the fire continues to be brought under control and this horrific week will be behind us soon. Stay hydrated out there folks!