The Northeast Heatwave

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 9:08 AM GMT on July 07, 2010

Share this Blog
3
+

Hi, Dr. Rob Carver, filling in for Jeff while he's on vacation.

The most significant weather event in the US on July 6, 2010 didn't show up on any radar. The geostationary satellites didn't see it in their constant watch over the Earth's atmosphere. Instead, the tale of this event was told by the thermometers, because the heatwave in the Northeast was the most significant event for July 6, and it will likely be the most important weather story for July 7.

The heat wave covers Pennsylvania to Maine, but Tuesday's worst was centered over New York City. All six of the stations used by the New York NWS office for climate reports (Central Park, La Guardia, JFK, Islip, Bridgeport, and Newark) set or tied the daily high temperature record. Newark and Central Park both reached 103 degrees F.

How unusual is this heat wave?
Figures 1 and 2 show how warm the highs and lows are compared to 30 year averages. Unless you were at the Great Lakes, the Midwest and Northeast have highs well above normal, with 10-15+ degree F differences over the coastal cities of the Northeast. Using my gridded temperature data, the low for New York City was 6 degrees F above normal, which should happen 30% of the time (1.1 standard deviations away from normal). The high was roughly 20 degrees above normal, which should happen only 0.29% of the time (3.04 standard deviations away from normal). This is an unusually strong heat wave.

Why it's hot
Basically, it's because there is "the Bull of a high pressure ridge [over the NE US]" to quote the Mount Holly NWS office forecast discussion. The large ridge of high pressure is forcing air to slowly descend across the Northeast, preventing clouds from forming. Without no clouds and plenty of daylight, the Sun heats the ground which then heats the air.

When will it cool down?
That's an excellent question. A trough of low pressure off the coast will bring onshore winds to the Tri-State area and MA by Thursday, so they should cool down a bit. The southern part of the heat wave, DC and Philadelphia, will have to wait for a cold front to arrive from the Great Lakes sometime Saturday to get relief.

Population affected
As Figure 3 shows, heat advisories covered most of the urban areas of the northeastern US. By my calculations, over 32 million people were under a heat advisory. Different offices have different guidelines for heat advisories. The NWS office responsible for New York issues a heat advisory if the heat index will be above 95 deg. F for two or more days or if the index will be above 100 deg. F for any length of time.


Fig.1 Plot of the difference between maximum temperature (the high for the day) and average maximum temperature in degrees F for July 6.


Fig.2 Plot of the difference between minimum temperature (the low for the day) and average minimum temperature in degrees F for July 6.


Fig.3 Plot of the active heat advisories across the northeastern US for July 6.

Heatwave impacts
The predominant impact from heat waves is increased mortality. CDC estimates that over 8,000 people died during heat waves from 1979 to 2003. That's more than all of the deaths due to lightning, flooding, tornadoes, hurricanes, and earthquakes. The elderly, sick, poor, and very young face the worst of the effects of the heat. Wikipedia has an interesting article describing the Chicago Heat Wave of 1995, a modern heat wave with a large number of fatalities due to the heat.

Heatwave coping strategies
The Centers for Disease Control have some tips for dealing with the heat. In summary, drink plenty of water, spend time in air-conditioned buildings, and wear light-colored clothing.

Is this heat wave due to global warming?
Ah, the $64,000 question. In the absence of detailed analysis, it's hard to specify the exact cause for this heat wave, from a meteorological or climatological view point. However, events like this are consistent with research showing that heat waves are more likely with
global warming
. I like the metaphor of loaded dice, global warming is not specifically responsible for any heat wave, but it will make them happen more often.

Tropics
My thinking on Invest 96L is unchanged from this blog entry. In summary, I believe that 96L has a <50 % chance becoming a tropical cyclone before it makes landfall. If it does so, it will likely be near the coast when that happens. In any event though, the winds and waves it generates will likely disrupt oil spill recovery efforts. Also, I would expect a broad area of showers and 20+ mph winds will affect the Gulf coast somewhere from south Texas to Louisiana.

Next update
I'll have an update this afternoon to talk about the tropics.

Reader Comments

Comments will take a few seconds to appear.

Post Your Comments

Please sign in to post comments.

or Join

Not only will you be able to leave comments on this blog, but you'll also have the ability to upload and share your photos in our Wunder Photos section.

Display: 0, 50, 100, 200 Sort: Newest First - Order Posted

Viewing: 1837 - 1787

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23 | 24 | 25 | 26 | 27 | 28 | 29 | 30 | 31 | 32 | 33 | 34 | 35 | 36 | 37Blog Index

Temp reached 104 unofficially in Lumberton, TX today with 37% RH. Wind has quartered back to the south and some thunderstorms are starting to form in SE Texas.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting AllBoardedUp:
That Rita evacuation was one big cluster-you-know-what! Blame it all on Katrina! Too fresh in everyone's minds. Scared the hell out of a lot of people.


The Rita evacuation turned into a disaster when the idiot mayor of Houston (Bill White) ordered the evacuation of the city BEFORE the coastal areas could evacuate. He said we won't have a Katrina here. No we'll have 36 hours of stranded motorist instead. Sad thing is only a few areas by the ship channel, Clear Lake and LaPorte needed to evacuate.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1835. Dakster
Bonnie is supposed to form sometime before landfall though!
Member Since: March 10, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 10034
Quoting cirrocumulus:
Whoa. Bonnie is formed.


Bonnie has not formed.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
There you go, 96L now TD2.
http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/graphics_at2.shtml?5-daynl#contents
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Within 2 wks, waited for 95L to do it's thing, here in Cozumel, well a 11" of rain over 2 days & some strongish winds. Then along came 96L. Since Sunday, 27.3" of rain from it. I'm glad that it's moved on across the Yucatan Peninsula. 20.30" of rain yesterday alone, though no wind.
I feel for the folks in NE Mexico and S TX. Monterrey took a beating, appears they might be in line for another. With 3M residents it must be nightmarish.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Did anyone notice the recent blowup of rock solid convection just to the east of Bonnie?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Whoa. Bonnie is formed.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting AllBoardedUp:
People have to understand that architecture in different parts of the country play a part in dealing with unusual weather conditions. Most buildings in the northeast were built to deal with severe winters, not treacherous summers.

If you live in an interior apartment, how is an AC unit going to help if you don't have a window.


Are you serious?? ... There are many stand alone models that are available and affordable that work without a window..

Also, I lived in the N.E. for several years and while many of the structures are very old, they ALL had A/C..

Bottom line, its summer time in the U.S. its going to get hot...

Would you drive/ride in an automobile without wearing your seatblet?? NO..

Would you consider not boarding up your windows in the face of a major hurricane?? NO

Would you jump out of an airplane with no parachute?? NO

Would you go scuba diving without any O2? NO

Then why would anyone (in the contental U.S.) think it would simply be OKAY to subject themsleves to triple digit heat with no A/C??
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1828. gator23
Quoting gator23:
the blog died. Let me see if I can revive it. Just think in one month we will have so many storms we begin ignoring some. Discuss

wow. thud.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1827. gator23
the blog died. Let me see if I can revive it. Just think in one month we will have so many storms we begin ignoring some. Discuss
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting AllBoardedUp:
That Rita evacuation was one big cluster-you-know-what! Blame it all on Katrina! Too fresh in everyone's minds. Scared the hell out of a lot of people.


The Rita evac is what caused so many to stay during Ike, that and they figured a cat 2 was no big deal because they had been through it before. I came down from Oklahoma(went to school there) to help my family evacuate. Lord. Have. Mercy. We left the first time, took 5 hours to go 40 miles. Went home, said we will leave later that night. 16 hours after leaving we made it to Norman, Oklahoma.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
I'm inclined to believe we have a Tropical Depression out of 96L. By tomorrow morning this thing could become Bonnie, I'd think the NHC will initiate advisories starting around 11PM. Satellite presentation has become a lot better and overall the cloud pattern of 96L is becoming very well organized. Only problem I see is some dry air and cooler waters up welled during Alex.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
NEW BLOG!
..and "NEW BLOG" means, go up to the "tropical & hurricane" link at the top and the go to Dr. Master's blog on the right and click on the "read this blog entry". Thats where all the people are.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
NEW BLOG!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Storm why is 96l moving toward S/Texas?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
People have to understand that architecture in different parts of the country play a part in dealing with unusual weather conditions. Most buildings in the northeast were built to deal with severe winters, not treacherous summers.

If you live in an interior apartment, how is an AC unit going to help if you don't have a window.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1820. gator23
Quoting Patrap:
My day been great.

Washed the cars.

Finished a paper

Did the weedwacking..and clear coated my Toes all in 3 hours.

Brraaaha.ha,..ha

Pat I feel like your shrouded in mystery. Are you in school?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting AllBoardedUp:
That Rita evacuation was one big cluster-you-know-what! Blame it all on Katrina! Too fresh in everyone's minds. Scared the hell out of a lot of people.

There have been many a minor cluster efforts which convince folks like my 84-year-old mother (who lives across the street, 2 doors down), and the 94-year-old widow (across the street), that they are not leaving in a hurricane. That leaves moi to worry about them when they stay (cuz I ain't leavin' either). I have too many animules around here to even think about getting off this barrier island situated on the east central coast of florida. Besides, my house is built like a fortress, on a dune, with concrete block downstairs and then another 30 feet up...etc., etc. So yeah, I'm stayin' for the duration. The problem is, they evacuate the island at the threat of a hurricane and then won't let us back on, so we've got lots of company over here in 2010. Should be interesting to say the least. Imagine I'll be barbecuing what's in my refrigerator kept cold by my generator (since neither of these ladies have one). And keeping them in water with my multitude of 5-gallon jugs I keep around for myself and my big fish tank. Anyway, we'll make it.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1818. JLPR2
Quoting IKE:


There's a 50-ish aged lady I know that works in the pharmacy here in Defuniak Springs,FL. She was telling me her electric bill was somewhere around $50 for the month.

She said she uses no AC. Heat index here is over 100 every day just about in the summer. That's crazy.


I get heat index of 100 here during the summer and during the day there is no such thing as A/C in my house, electricity is too expensive nowadays, so we only use A/C to sleep at night, yet my grandma(87) refuses to use an A/C, never in her life she has slept with one so somehow she sleeps fine with a simple fan. :\
A/C isn't a necessity, but it sure makes life easier and happier. XD
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Looking at the visible loop, it looks like 96L is starting to make a curve more towards the N/NNW. Anybody else see this??
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Grothar:
Just testing my new image maker.

nothing there...
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting tropicfreak:


Well you all aren't in a major heat wave when temps are skyrocketing 100+. Here in Richmond(va) we haven't seen any rain in 3-4 weeks. The drought index for us is yellow.


Been there done that here in Texas just a few yrs ago! Hope yall get some rain real soon!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
New Blog...just in case no one said...
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
NEW BLOG!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1812. sarepa
New Blog
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1811. Patrap
My day been great.

Washed the cars.

Finished a paper

Did the weedwacking..and clear coated my Toes all in 3 hours.

Brraaaha.ha,..ha
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1810. Grothar
Just testing my new image maker.

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting IKE:


LOL...just trying to help you...not criticizing....
Don't worry bout' it. Lol. Anyways I like the new title.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1808. gator23
Quoting gulfbreeze:
Mexico and Texas storms for June & July are normal?

Late June and early July climatology suggests Texas and Louisiana yes.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Baltimorebirds:
On the tropical weather page they already have winds in association to 96L at 35mph.Also notice the sst have warmed.Sign of a negative nao anyone?


Definitely. We should see some refiring of convection near the center soon.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1806. bappit
Quoting Chicklit:

I'm with ya there, Baha...go north young Invest! Times like these I think of the movie Apollo 9.
If enough people hope hard enough, maybe we can change the odds.

Now wait a cotton pickin' minute. We're under flash flood watches through tomorrow already. Had lots of 10 inch amounts with the onshore flow between Alex and the cool front last week.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting gator23:

no worries, i know that the majority of the people on this blog are mostly from the gulf area and I think its easy to forget sometimes that peninsular Florida is the most susceptible than most other states.


Cool. Yea, well, it sticks out there just asking for it! I remember back about 10 years ago there was a survey and it asked which state you thought had been hit by more tropical cyclones than any other. I picked Florida of course, but it was actually Texas! I think that changed since then, especially in the last decade, but I think Texas and Florida are close.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1804. IKE
Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
Happy?

July 7, 2010 - 9:15 PM EDT - 96L Could Become A Tropical Depression At Any Time

Lol.


LOL...just trying to help you...not criticizing....
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
96L is moving towards Brownsville at a good clip, but the COC is consolidating, and I believe we are about to see a "significant" burst of convection overnight, which surely means a TD if not TS storm by daybreak.

I just am puzzled why the NHC was so bearish yesterday on 96L. I certainly am no expert, but could not see any way that 96L would not at least make TD by landfall.

Oh well, I guess it is easy for me to sit here and 2nd guess, when I have nothing to lose.

96L is rapidly organizing...... and I believe is on the cusp of being classified.

Just thinking back about the WU glory days! Hard to believe I have been coming to this blog for over 5 years! Damn, we are all getting old! LOL

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting TxGrandma:
At least you fared better than we did -- the powers-that-be insisted we evacuate to Lufkin. When they evacuated Lufkin, we said the heck with it and came back home. Never even lost power at home.


OMG! Like I told the Hubs, I don't care what we are running from I am NOT going through Lufkin again! Lol. We have made at least 20 circuits around that town in 2 whole evacs! I'll never gripe about I-10 again! :)
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Patrap:


What the ell are you talking about JPhurricane...?

I never stated anywhere about anything other than to SHOW THE IMAGES.

Get a Life .








Ouch...

Bad Day?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1800. gator23
Quoting Patrap:


WTF are you talking about JPhurricane...?

I never stated anywhere about anything other than to SHOW THE IMAGES.

Get a Life .





wow this is rare. Pat breaks character.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1799. Patrap
Seems I can sway the turmoil eh?

pffffth?

Im glad I joined the Corps.


Wiki to the rescue?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting AllBoardedUp:
That Rita evacuation was one big cluster-you-know-what! Blame it all on Katrina! Too fresh in everyone's minds. Scared the hell out of a lot of people.


8 1/2 hours to get from League City to Katy. 8 months preg. With a two year old getting sick in the backseat. Will NEVER do that again!!!
Member Since: August 18, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 1642
1796. IKE
Quoting TxMarc71:


WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT??

Think about this logic:
""HMMM ITS 103 outside and I'm 85 years old with a heart condition but since we live in the NE US we dont need a window unit we'll be fine as long as we have our beer and cable TV"

now whats ignorant?? CHOSING to not have an A/C and LETTING yourself die or doing what you have to do to stay healthy reardless of where you live...


I hate to be condescending to you ZOOMIAMI, but its now 2010 and if you can afford to live, you can afford an A/C espically when it is the difference between life and death.

You really need to crawl out from under the rock you've been living under. I'll tell you what, give up your A/C and your Internet, call me next week and well talk about IGNORANT

Link


There's a 50-ish aged lady I know that works in the pharmacy here in Defuniak Springs,FL. She was telling me her electric bill was somewhere around $50 for the month.

She said she uses no AC. Heat index here is over 100 every day just about in the summer. That's crazy.
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
1795. Story
Quoting AllBoardedUp:
That Rita evacuation was one big cluster-you-know-what! Blame it all on Katrina! Too fresh in everyone's minds. Scared the hell out of a lot of people.


Yes, and I am sure it didn't help the refugees from Katrina that were in the areas that were ordered evac'ed for Rita, either.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting cirrocumulus:
Once again, the warm open waters trump the other factors in development of this system. We used to see the same thing during the 2005 season.

Exactly what I was think. A bit of deja vu.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1792. Levi32
Quoting bappit:
While I was doing graduate work at UM in 2005, I was involved in a project called RAINEX (Hurricane Rainband and Intensity Change Experiment). It was a multimillion dollar project that involved the University of Miami, University of Washington, NCAR (National Center for Atmospheric Research) and several other agencies. I had many jobs with it, but I was the lead forecaster, my first real taste of forecasting. I had to provide briefings every day at 11 AM and give the possibility of tropical cyclone formation. What they really wanted to know was there going to be any rapid intensity changes, because that's what the project was targeting. It put me to the test, the biggest challenge of my professional life up to that point. It was my first taste of hurricane forecasting.

What came next?

Since being in graduate school, I was into numerical modeling. So for the RAINEX project, I was able to conduct a team of models, similar to the GFDL used here at NHC, but custom-made for the project. I would present some of our model simulations during the briefings. But the project only lasted three months, then after that it was all research.


There's a lesson in there Levi. He wanted to do operational meteorology and studied numerical modeling.


Yes I know....it's really smart to do numerical modeling to get into good forecasting positions, but something tells me I won't be too great at putting calculus into computers.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Patrap:


WTF are you talking about JPhurricane...?

I never stated anywhere about anything other than to SHOW THE IMAGES.

Get a Life .






???
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Mexico and Texas storms for June & July are normal?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1788. ssmate
Quoting largeeyes:


You guys sound like potential customers for my next product...NHC trading cards!
I've got a Fat Head of Avila.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting tropicfreak:


Well you all aren't in a major heat wave when temps are skyrocketing 100+. Here in Richmond(va) we haven't seen any rain in 3-4 weeks. The drought index for us is yellow.


It's funny how each part of the country is so different. What you described is typical down here in Texas for a summer, but I know for y'all that's not. We are just happy not to be in red or burgandy for the drought index, at the moment.
Member Since: August 18, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 1642

Viewing: 1837 - 1787

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23 | 24 | 25 | 26 | 27 | 28 | 29 | 30 | 31 | 32 | 33 | 34 | 35 | 36 | 37Blog Index

Top of Page

About

Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.