First Alert Weather In-Depth: What’s behind the fires out west?

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — The News10NBC First Alert Weather Team usually discusses weather elements that have a direct impact on Rochesterians, but Tuesday Glenn Johnson did something a little different. He went In-Depth on the wildfires that are located out west.

The fires have been ongoing and it is something we have seen in the news during the past couple of months. Currently, there are 18 large wildfires located out west and of that 18, only two of those wildfires are currently contained.

There are also a lot of folks that are right on the front line with well over 5,000 firefighters at work right now. These folks are trying to keep a lot of people safe.

There are a lot of ingredients that go into these wildfires, but the fundamental scenario that has the greatest impact is the amount of rainfall, and we know they have had a lot of dry conditions. By some estimates, 93% of the western half of the country is in some sort of a drought, with many areas in a severe to exceptional drought.

Those conditions have been years in the making out west, so what is going to turn this around? The west would need a change in the weather pattern that is exactly what is going to happen.

Right now, the jet stream is located off the West Coast, and here is a trough of low pressure. This is finally going to change over during the next 10 to 14 days and it is going to start to come inland. We expect there to be a parade of storms that are going to be coming in from San Francisco, California all the way through the intermountain region. This is going to help to lower the significantly raise the humidity and it is going to produce a lot of moisture.

But it is a double edge sword. There is also bring the potential for mudslides and the potential for strong winds. Even some heavy mountain snow.