The scenes have almost felt like they're out of Hollywood imagination -- brilliant red sunrises and sunsets the last couple of days around Western Washington.
Why so red? It's a byproduct of the massive wildfires that recently burned a large area in Siberia.
The atmospheric winds are aligned this week to carry the smoke across the Pacific Ocean and into the Pacific Northwest.
First up, to get an idea of just how much smoke is in the atmosphere, look at this visible satellite image taken on April 14 of the southeastern Siberia area where the wildfires got out of control:
Credit: NASA image courtesy Jeff Schmaltz, LANCE/EOSDIS MODIS Rapid Response Team at NASA GSFC. Caption by Adam Voiland.
Where did the smoke go? This graphic is a model trajectory tracing back the air pattern across the Pacific Ocean over the past week. Note the air from the wildfires makes somewhat of a bee line toward Seattle (with a brief stop for a loop-de-loop in the central Pacific:)
Amazingly the smoke is still quite intense when it gets here -- check out this high-resolution satellite image from Saturday and note the haze over Washington and British Columbia:
Just like a song that has the same verse over... and over.... and over...
Here comes the fresh 90 day forecast from the NOAA's National Climate Prediction Center and the story...is the same. In fact, it might be even more declarative: May is going to be hot and dry. Late spring is going to be hot and dry.
The summer is going to be hot and dry.
The autumn will be... warm.
Monday was another stormy day around the Puget Sound region, but it appears it was a bit extra-stormy on the Kitsap Peninsula.
Elaine Lunyou-Blankenship's husband snapped this photo of what appears to be a weak tornado that touched down west of Bremerton Monday afternoon around 4:15 p.m.
I have to admit even being a weather geek, I hadn't really thought much about how lightning strikes a tree, but this photo taken by Barbara Engelhart got me wondering how this particular lightning bolt chose its path to the ground.
"We had an interesting lighting strike here in Olympia on Wednesday afternoon," Engelhart wrote to me. "It sounded like a bomb went off or propane tank explosion. After looking around our property I came across one of the fir trees that had a spiral pattern on it and bark and wood gouged out."