Thanksgiving Week Brings Fires, Floods, Wind and Record Cold

(Bloomberg) -- Fires and flooding on the West Coast, record cold and gusty winds on the East Coast. Brace yourself for Thanksgiving week, 2018.

Northern California could get as much as 7 inches (18 centimeters) of rain, according to forecasters. That won’t be enough to completely extinguish a deadly fire that’s consumed more than 151,000 acres in the region. But it will certainly tamp down the blaze and clear smoke that’s been poisoning the air.

“It will help,’’ Scott McLean, a spokesman for the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, said in an interview. “But it is the troops on the ground that need to go in there and stir things up and make sure those hot spots are taken care of.’’

There’s bad news, as well. The fire, which has killed at least 79, has left an oily residue behind that could combine with the rain to cause dangerous flooding, and send debris, ash and unstable dirt and rocks tumbling down hillsides cleared of vegetation.

The “burn scars are impermeable to water," David Roth, a senior branch forecaster at the U.S. Weather Prediction Center in College Park, Maryland, said in a telephone interview “The more recent the fires, the worse it is, but these burn scars linger for five years.”

While the rains fall on California, the Northeast will see temperatures drop as much as 35 degrees Fahrenheit below normal for the coldest Thanksgiving since 1996, Roth said.

Boston will likely set a record for both the day and the holiday with a high of just 21 degrees Fahrenheit. New York will reach 27 degrees, just short of a record, and Washington should get to 35. Gusty balloon-juggling winds, will make it feel even colder, Roth said.

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