The Northeast Heatwave

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

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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.

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Quoting yonzabam:
It looks like 96L is going to cause serious flooding:

Link


Link


Indeed, and now with more rain on the way, that could "linger" for days. People sometimes forget that flooding is the great killer in any kind of tropical system. The wind is a sideshow, in terms of human fatalities.

If I lived in the Rio Grande valley, I think I'd be moving south, instead of north.
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Quoting btwntx08:
1173: corpus christi wfo actually wrote that not brownsville its just placed inside on the hazardous weather outlook


Ok, but what is a tropical funnel? Never have seen that description used before.
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1185. bakers
heat waves, drouts,and floods have not increased, but global communications and reporting tecniques have.
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1173: corpus christi wfo actually wrote that not brownsville its just placed inside on the hazardous weather outlook
Member Since: July 13, 2008 Posts: 6 Comments: 10796
Quoting Drakoen:
NOAA G-IV had an extrap sfc pre of 1002.9mb near 25.317N 92.733W




I think thats the P3. G-IV only reports dropsondes.
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Quoting Drakoen:


Near 640mb. Not a reliable reading.
Yup.
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1181. calder
Quoting reedzone:


I said MAYBE it could become a weak TS at it's worst. Though I'm sticking to TD2, if it ever makes it. The wall of high wind shear seems to be pushing westward with this invest, it's a reason why this hasn't been able to get going real fast, that and the wake of Hurricane Alex is still causing low TCHP where 96L is steering. Never switched my ideas on this from this morning; however, this has gotten better organized, but not enough for me to be impressed just yet. I'll be watching it tonight. These types of systems like to blow up right before landfall, so yes, I am giving it a chance, just not a big one as others are, I have my reasons and statements to back it up.


Stand your corner reed. There are bloggers here who have impressive met knowledge and input but are guilty of slightly inflating or exagerating forecasts on a daily basis
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Quoting Hurricanes101:


probably due to the ULL working its way to the surface


Precisely.
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23.1/93.5 anyone?
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Quoting reedzone:


I said MAYBE it could become a weak TS at it's worst. Though I'm sticking to TD2, if it ever makes it. The wall of high wind shear seems to be pushing westward with this invest, it's a reason why this hasn't been able to get going real fast, that and the wake of Hurricane Alex is still causing low TCHP where 96L is steering. Never switched my ideas on this from this morning; however, this has gotten better organized, but not enough for me to be impressed just yet. I'll be watching it tonight. These types of systems like to blow up right before landfall, so yes, I am giving it a chance, just not a big one as others are, I have my reasons and statements to back it up.
That's fine.
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Quoting KoritheMan:


I personally think they might in the next couple of days. Upper-level winds are forecast to relax substantially in the area.


probably due to the ULL working its way to the surface
Member Since: March 10, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 7872
Quoting Inyo:


how do you know he doesn't live in Mexico? Maybe he isn't wishing a storm on his own country. Anyway, it is true that storms often kill more people in Mexico. I hope no hurricanes hit any populated areas at all, myself.

Even worse if he lives in Mexico and is wishing it on the US. I retract calling him an idiot. I'll leave those judgements to each individual blogger. Sorry if I damaged anyone's psyche with my name calling.
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Quoting weatherman12345:
Will they put a circle on the low east of the Bahamas?


More like a large yellow circle around the NON-TROPICAL (Reed) Low ;)

The wave is merging with the hybrid system, which should cause more warm core to develop since the wave is fully warm cored.
Member Since: July 1, 2008 Posts: 13 Comments: 7416
Quoting weatherman12345:
Will they put a circle on the low east of the Bahamas?


I personally think they might in the next couple of days. Upper-level winds are forecast to relax substantially in the area.
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From Brownsville WFO

FINALLY...THERE WILL BE A SMALL RISK FOR ISOLATED TROPICAL FUNNELS AND TORNADOES IN RAINBANDS DURING THE DAY ON THURSDAY ACROSS SOUTH TEXAS.


Tropical Funnels = ?
Tornado vortex that does not reach the ground?
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1172. Drakoen
Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
How high was it?


Near 640mb. Not a reliable reading.
Member Since: October 28, 2006 Posts: 57 Comments: 30607
Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
Again, which one is it?


I said MAYBE it could become a weak TS at it's worst. Though I'm sticking to TD2, if it ever makes it. The wall of high wind shear seems to be pushing westward with this invest, it's a reason why this hasn't been able to get going real fast, that and the wake of Hurricane Alex is still causing low TCHP where 96L is steering. Never switched my ideas on this from this morning; however, this has gotten better organized, but not enough for me to be impressed just yet. I'll be watching it tonight. These types of systems like to blow up right before landfall, so yes, I am giving it a chance, just not a big one as others are, I have my reasons and statements to back it up.
Member Since: July 1, 2008 Posts: 13 Comments: 7416
Quoting Drakoen:
NOAA G-IV had an extrap sfc pre of 1002.9mb near 25.317N 92.733W


How high was it?
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1168. Drakoen
NOAA G-IV had an extrap sfc pre of 1002.9mb near 25.317N 92.733W


Member Since: October 28, 2006 Posts: 57 Comments: 30607
Quoting extreme236:


A. TASKING FOR 07/1800Z, 08/0600Z, AND 08/1200Z


but notice the recon outlook for today was issued after the orders to eliminate the last recon; seems to me they canceled the 8am recon for tomorrow, but the rescheduled it
Member Since: March 10, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 7872
Just heard on the news a circulation was found with 96L but only winds of 25mph...she is trying to become a storm!
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Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
Again, which one is it?

lol its either one or the other lol
Member Since: July 13, 2008 Posts: 6 Comments: 10796
1164. USSINS
Quoting extreme236:


That's also an opinion. Erring on the side of caution makes you look like an idiot and makes people less inclined to listen to the NHC in the future if they classify a system that turns out to be nothing.


I'd hardly call 15 inches of rain in a short period of time "nothing." And TD03 is hardly nothing already, and will be substantial now, even if it does nothing else.

And, listen up, you've started some name-calling now. If you want to further the conversation with me, take it to email. Be glad to discuss it further with you. Capiche'?
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1163. calder
Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
Again, which one is it?


give him a break... He said earlier it has a small chance of becoming a TS and there he said he doubts it will become Bonnie. Same thing...
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Quoting extreme236:


That's also an opinion. Erring on the side of caution makes you look like an idiot and makes people less inclined to listen to the NHC in the future if they classify a system that turns out to be nothing.


It's quite the double edged sword, isn't it?
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Quoting extreme236:


I'm sorry, but clearly the cloud pattern is getting better organized.


i agree
Member Since: July 13, 2008 Posts: 6 Comments: 10796
Quoting reedzone:


Thats what I'm thinking, TD right before landfall, maybe a weak TS at best. I don't see anything stronger then that. It's moving at a good clip. Back later, great video update btw.
Quoting reedzone:
96L still appears to be disorganized, little change in structure, I'd put odds at 50% for the next TWO. If it doesn't get going tonight, then it won't ever get going. I doubt this becomes "Bonnie", but a TD is possible tomorrow afternoon right before landfall in southern Texas. The NON-TROPICAL low (Reed Low) looks to be starting to gain some Subtropical Characteristics, love tracking these types of storms. I'm keeping chances at 30%. The difference between 90L and future 97L is not much in the way of dry air, has alot of moisture to spurt out the dry air.
Again, which one is it?
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Quoting IKE:


Then what's this one....

I. ATLANTIC REQUIREMENTS
1. SUSPECT AREA (WESTERN GULF)
FLIGHT ONE - TEAL 70
A. 08/1200Z
B. AFXXX 01BBA INVEST
C. 08/0945Z
D. 25.5N 96.5W
E. 08/1100Z TO 08/1700Z
F. SFC TO 10,000 FT


And if it isn't until 1800Z I agree with you...it's too late.



A. TASKING FOR 07/1800Z, 08/0600Z, AND 08/1200Z
Member Since: August 2, 2007 Posts: 19 Comments: 19234
1157. USSINS
Quoting extreme236:


No their not teetering with percentages because those percentages don't mean anything if a system is classified or not. I've been systems given a LOW chance to develop and they become tropical storms without ever being at a HIGH chance.




Whatever. :P You are entitled to your opinion. And, I will express mine as well. Doesn't mean either one of us are right or wrong. I just prefer erring on the side of safety, whereas your position endangers lives.
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Quoting cctxshirl:
Don't know what 96L is going to do, but it sure is nasty in CC TX this afternoon. They bay has some big rollers on it and the rains were coming down pretty hard in downtown CC. (I'm watching from my office window instead of working ;))


Same here in the Houston area. Just had a gullywasher...it's almost over just moderate rain now but was pouring just a minute ago...some damage already reported in Houston and 2-5 inches already today in places from Houston area south into Matagorda! And 96L is not even in land yet!
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Hey everyone..i'm back. I see not much has changed. Other than the possibility of TD2 late tonight or tomorrow.
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1154. IKE
Quoting extreme236:


A. TASKING FOR 07/1800Z, 08/0600Z, AND 08/1200Z
CANCELED BY NHC AT 07/1220Z.

First recon flight into this system won't be until 18z, so it's very possible we may not get recon.


Then what's this one....

I. ATLANTIC REQUIREMENTS
1. SUSPECT AREA (WESTERN GULF)
FLIGHT ONE - TEAL 70
A. 08/1200Z
B. AFXXX 01BBA INVEST
C. 08/0945Z
D. 25.5N 96.5W
E. 08/1100Z TO 08/1700Z
F. SFC TO 10,000 FT


And if it isn't until 1800Z I agree with you...it's too late.

Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
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Quoting USSINS:




Don't play that card with me, extreme. That's just "your" opinion, just like mine is an "opinion."

And, LOL, I'm not talking about classifying farts in the wind. Parts of Mexico and TX, like LA just did, are about to get a heckuva lot more than "spurious" amounts of rain and wind. Yet, I'll bet you that there's a substantial percentage of people that haven't a clue what's about to come ashore.

And, the NHC is teetering with percentages. It'd be funny if it weren't so ridiculous.


No their not teetering with percentages because those percentages don't mean anything if a system is classified or not. I've been systems given a LOW chance to develop and they become tropical storms without ever being at a HIGH chance.
Member Since: August 2, 2007 Posts: 19 Comments: 19234
1151. Levi32
Quoting CybrTeddy:
NHC will go with 60 or 70% IMO. Convection waning means very little.


It will mean a lot of it becomes a trend that doesn't reverse. The cold wake of Alex is more of a limiting factor on convection that some think.
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26682
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:


We lost count at 19 I think, and that was way back in Mid-June.


I like your avatar.

"And THIS... is to go... even further BEYOND...!"

That was such an epic scene. :D
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Don't know what 96L is going to do, but it sure is nasty in CC TX this afternoon. They bay has some big rollers on it and the rains were coming down pretty hard in downtown CC. (I'm watching from my office window instead of working ;))
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B. NOAA WILL CONDUCT RESEARCH MISSIONS INTO THIS
AREA WITH THE G-IV TAKING OFF AT 07/1730Z AND
A P-3, OPERATING AT 12,000 FT., TAKING OFF AT
07/2000Z AND AGAIN AT 08/0800Z
looks like their sending reseach mission again
Member Since: July 13, 2008 Posts: 6 Comments: 10796
1147. USSINS
Quoting extreme236:


No you are wrong. We have criteria for a reason. So that way we don't go classifying storms that really aren't tropical cyclones. Also, classifying a system induces a level of increased panic in some cases that wouldn't really be warranted under a system that is not a cyclone. We can't go around naming random convective bursts with strong winds.




Don't play that card with me, extreme. That's just "your" opinion, just like mine is an "opinion."

And, LOL, I'm not talking about classifying farts in the wind. Parts of Mexico and TX, like LA just did, are about to get a heckuva lot more than "spurious" amounts of rain and wind. Yet, I'll bet you that there's a substantial percentage of people that haven't a clue what's about to come ashore.

And, the NHC is teetering with percentages. It'd be funny if it weren't so ridiculous.
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Quoting reedzone:
96L still appears to be disorganized, little change in structure, I'd put odds at 50% for the next TWO. If it doesn't get going tonight, then it won't ever get going. I doubt this becomes "Bonnie", but a TD is possible tomorrow afternoon right before landfall in southern Texas. The NON-TROPICAL low (Reed Low) looks to be starting to gain some Subtropical Characteristics, love tracking these types of storms. I'm keeping chances at 30%. The difference between 90L and future 97L is not much in the way of dry air, has alot of moisture to spurt out the dry air.


I'm sorry, but clearly the cloud pattern is getting better organized.

Member Since: August 2, 2007 Posts: 19 Comments: 19234
96L still appears to be disorganized, little change in structure, I'd put odds at 50% for the next TWO. If it doesn't get going tonight, then it won't ever get going. I doubt this becomes "Bonnie", but a TD is possible tomorrow afternoon right before landfall in southern Texas. The NON-TROPICAL low (Reed Low) looks to be starting to gain some Subtropical Characteristics, love tracking these types of storms. I'm keeping chances at 30%. The difference between 90L and future 97L is not much in the way of dry air, has alot of moisture to spurt out the dry air.
Member Since: July 1, 2008 Posts: 13 Comments: 7416
Quoting scott39:
How many waves have come off of Africa since June 1st?


We lost count at 19 I think, and that was way back in Mid-June.
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Quoting IKE:


First mission is tomorrow morning....A. 08/1200Z.......yeah, it could be approaching land by then.


A. TASKING FOR 07/1800Z, 08/0600Z, AND 08/1200Z
CANCELED BY NHC AT 07/1220Z.

First recon flight into this system won't be until 18z, so it's very possible we may not get recon.
Member Since: August 2, 2007 Posts: 19 Comments: 19234
the low on the east coast is moving sw at 10 mph this storm will get in much warmer water temp next to the NC THE WATER TEMP IS 88F THERE.
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Recon to head out and investigate 96L tomorrow at around 18:00 UTC. IMO, this should be moved up considering the proximity to land.

000
NOUS42 KNHC 071600
WEATHER RECONNAISSANCE FLIGHTS
CARCAH, NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER, MIAMI, FL.
1200 PM EDT WED 07 JULY 2010
SUBJECT: TROPICAL CYCLONE PLAN OF THE DAY (TCPOD)
VALID 08/1100Z TO 09/1100Z JULY 2010
TCPOD NUMBER.....10-037

I. ATLANTIC REQUIREMENTS
1. SUSPECT AREA (WESTERN GULF)
FLIGHT ONE - TEAL 70
A. 08/1200Z
B. AFXXX 01BBA INVEST
C. 08/0945Z
D. 25.5N 96.5W
E. 08/1100Z TO 08/1700Z
F. SFC TO 10,000 FT

FLIGHT TWO - TEAL 71
A. 08/1800,2100, 09/0000Z
B. AFXXX 0202A CYCLONE
C. 08/1530Z
D. 26.0N 97.0W
E. 08/1730Z TO 09/0000Z
F. SFC TO 10,000 FT

2. SUCCEEDING DAY OUTLOOK.....NEGATIVE.
3. REMARKS:
A. TASKING FOR 07/1800Z, 08/0600Z, AND 08/1200Z
CANCELED BY NHC AT 07/1220Z.
B. NOAA WILL CONDUCT RESEARCH MISSIONS INTO THIS
AREA WITH THE G-IV TAKING OFF AT 07/1730Z AND
A P-3, OPERATING AT 12,000 FT., TAKING OFF AT
07/2000Z AND AGAIN AT 08/0800Z.

II. PACIFIC REQUIREMENTS
1. NEGATIVE RECONNAISSANCE REQUIREMENTS.
2. OUTLOOK FOR SUCCEEDING DAY.....NEGATIVE.
SEF
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1140. IKE
Quoting GeoffreyWPB:
I%u2019m not going to give a percentage, but I think they will raise 96L to code red., just to play it safe since they cancelled recon. And speaking of recon, won%u2019t 96 pretty much be close to making landfall by the time they get out there tomorrow?


First mission is tomorrow morning....A. 08/1200Z.......yeah, it could be approaching land by then.
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1139. scott39
How many waves have come off of Africa since June 1st?
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Quoting USSINS:
It's funny, really, to me. Now, we're teetering on percentages for a TD. Just call it a TD and put out TD alerts and create some general awareness ahead of time. Is the NHC gonna bat percentage balls around to within a few miles of shore?

I'm sorry, that's a complete lack of judgment and blatant disregard for public safety, imo.

I think I've made myself abundantly clear on the subject, so, much to many's liking probably, I'll shut up now and let those that enjoy getting technical get with it.


No you are wrong. We have criteria for a reason. So that way we don't go classifying storms that really aren't tropical cyclones. Also, classifying a system induces a level of increased panic in some cases that wouldn't really be warranted under a system that is not a cyclone. We can't go around naming random convective bursts with strong winds.
Member Since: August 2, 2007 Posts: 19 Comments: 19234
I’m not going to give a percentage, but I think they will raise 96L to code red., just to play it safe since they cancelled recon. And speaking of recon, won’t 96 pretty much be close to making landfall by the time they get out there tomorrow?
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Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.

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