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 StormW:
img src="Photobucket" alt="" />

img src="Photobucket" alt="" />

img src="Photobucket" alt="" />


seems it may be going a little furthur north...
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Quoting smmcdavid:
I was just trying to bring some humor to the blog 101... not get into who can or should say what. Maybe you do need to relax.


I thought what you said was pretty funny actually, still wasn't going to change my answer though
Member Since: March 10, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 7872
Has anyone heard if Cyclone Oz is travelling to 96L? I watched his show when he was down there last week for Alex. He was crazy standing on the edge of that sea wall like he was! LOL!
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I was just trying to bring some humor to the blog 101... not get into who can or should say what. Maybe you do need to relax.
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you no it would be funny if they where too name evere blob out there
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Quoting extreme236:


96L has an organized surface structure. That does not.


give her a day or so...
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1078. USSINS
Quoting calder:


As far as public awareness goes, the threat from 95L should have been readily publicised regardless of whether the system was going to be tropical or not. Perhaps therein lies the problem...


Yeah, and as much as I travel, I don't often even have time to watch TV, much less find TWC or even listen to the right radio station. But, if there were some general TD classification in these situations, a more concerted effort would be made within the media to create a better awareness - no matter which station one might be watching or listening.

What's the harm in the TD classification? Especially, when it could save lives?

Enough. It is what it is. Doesn't mean anyone has to agree with me, or that the NHC will take a different perspective. I just think a little different perspective and a bit less stringency and disrespect for the value of life and property could be helpful.

It's weather. It's not a finite science. It can be dangerous anytime, classified or not. But, certainly some general classification, imo, could be more helpful.
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1077. CJC111
Haven't been able to check yet but if anyione knows off the top of their head, has 96L caused skimmer/container ships to head in yet?
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Quoting 7544:
sorry but the blob off at 23n 70 w looks better than 96l right now one to watch imo
96L is still more organized and more of an immediate threat.
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Quoting 7544:
sorry but the blob off at 23n 70 w looks better than 96l right now one to watch imo


96L has an organized surface structure. That does not.
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Quoting smmcdavid:


Don't you know that opinions aren't allowed in here? ;)


The opinion wasn't the problem, calling someone an idiot was
Member Since: March 10, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 7872
1073. angiest
Quoting USSINS:




Bank on it. Ground already saturated. Water out of boundaries already. And, that's the point I'm making - unawares could possibly be helped better if a greater emphasis was put on the TD status whether it meets the full criteria or not. I'm not saying name it, completely different deal. And, yes, there's personal responsibility to be cognizant of the weather. And, yes, locals are likely aware of what happens with even just a bit of additional rainfall. But, there also other - visitors, vacationers, business people, etc, that may likely be unfamiliar. Lots of scenarios. I'm just saying, it's better to err on the side of cautions, rather than at the expense of harm due to come technical classifications of a TD.

LOL, whether it's got a clearly defined LLC, totally wrapped, deep and sustained convection is really immaterial - it's still a depression of weather with potential serious consequences.

Capiche'? That's all.


Most people (probably) get their tropical weather information from local news. Local news is horrible about hyping everything, and they don't help when they draw spaghetti plots and don't explain anything of the various models behind them (yes, some tv mets are very good and do actually explain it). And even if the weather coverage itself is quality, the news surrounding it will still hype the whatever it is. Therefore, I think a lot of people tend to ignore these seemingly insignificant systems. It's not a cat 3, so big deal.

The hyping done in local news has also lead to people thinking, incorrectly, that the NHC hypes every storm. Which also leads to a breakdown in trust.
Member Since: August 26, 2006 Posts: 16 Comments: 4766
Quoting LoneStarWeather:

Relax buddy, it's just my opinion on the matter.


Don't you know that opinions aren't allowed in here? ;)
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1071. 7544
sorry but the blob off at 23n 70 w looks better than 96l right now one to watch imo
Member Since: May 6, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 6872
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96L


SEUS AOI
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Think we may have a flooding issue here in SE Texas? Located about 15 min from the LA border.
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Off topic but.. how many heart attacks would be on here if we have a storm like this? And what about JFV?

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1066. USSINS
Quoting yonzabam:
It looks like 96L is going to cause serious flooding:

Link




Bank on it. Ground already saturated. Water out of boundaries already. And, that's the point I'm making - unawares could possibly be helped better if a greater emphasis was put on the TD status whether it meets the full criteria or not. I'm not saying name it, completely different deal. And, yes, there's personal responsibility to be cognizant of the weather. And, yes, locals are likely aware of what happens with even just a bit of additional rainfall. But, there also other - visitors, vacationers, business people, etc, that may likely be unfamiliar. Lots of scenarios. I'm just saying, it's better to err on the side of cautions, rather than at the expense of harm due to come technical classifications of a TD.

LOL, whether it's got a clearly defined LLC, totally wrapped, deep and sustained convection is really immaterial - it's still a depression of weather with potential serious consequences.

Capiche'? That's all.
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1064. 7544
97l can pop up at anytime now ? check out the rainbow sat east of fla ? or even by the bahammas ?
Member Since: May 6, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 6872
when could we no when we will have a TD or not?
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1062. IKE
AREA FORECAST DISCUSSION
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE CORPUS CHRISTI TX
357 PM CDT WED JUL 7 2010

MARINE...HAVE NOW ISSUED THE SCA FOR THE NEARSHORE GULF WATERS
BEGINNING THURSDAY MORNING...AND HAVE CONTINUED THE SCA FOR THE
OFFSHORE WATERS BEGINNING LATE TONIGHT. STRONG NORTHEAST WINDS OF
20 TO 25 KNOTS WILL DEVELOP LATE TONIGHT AND TURN EAST THEN
SOUTHEAST ON THURSDAY AS A TROPICAL WAVE MOVES INTO THE WESTERN
GULF OF MEXICO. HIGHER GUSTS WILL BE POSSIBLE IN BANDS OF SHOWERS
AND THUNDERSTORMS. IN ADDITION SEAS WILL GRADUALLY BUILD TO 9 TO
12 FEET OFFSHORE THURSDAY AND 7 TO 9 FEET NEARSHORE.
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37860
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1060. angiest
Quoting IKE:
... HOWEVER IT WAS IN-
TERESTING TO NOTE THAT MODELS ARE NOW KEEPING THESE ELEVATED RAIN
CHANCES IN FOR M0ST OF SE TX ON FRI. IT APPEARS THAT THE MOISTURE
FROM THAT WEAK TROPICAL WAVE WILL BE APPROACHING FROM THE S/SW AS
IT MOVES FURTHER INLAND. ...


Interesting indeed.
Member Since: August 26, 2006 Posts: 16 Comments: 4766
1057. calder
Quoting USSINS:
Folks, we're not talking about giving these systems a name if they don't meet the TS criteria. But these systems with all their tropical aptitude, and especially when they are closer to shore, imo, really should be expedited towards a TD status, whether conditions meet the letter of the criteria or not.

Anything that creates better awareness, preparedness for public safety is helpful. Waiting until the last minute to even declare a TD is just being intentionally omissive and treading closely towards malfeasance.


I have to disagree. The reason the NHC has a series of guidelines for classification of TC's is to prevent any ambiguity on storm strength/potential. If anything we should commend the NHC for making a special advisory when 95L underwent some late organisation.

As far as public awareness goes, the threat from 95L should have been readily publicised regardless of whether the system was going to be tropical or not. Perhaps therein lies the problem...
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Quoting cyclonekid:
Winds up just a wittle-bit ;)

AL, 96, 2010070718, , BEST, 0, 238N, 936W, 30, 1007, DB



we no been posted
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Quoting kelley9:


hehehehe <-(my best evil laugh) I aim to please. :D


LMAO...
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Old obviously but gives a good idea of what an eyewall replacement cycle looks like.

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Winds up just a wittle-bit ;)

AL, 96, 2010070718, , BEST, 0, 238N, 936W, 30, 1007, DB
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Quoting Hurricanes101:


newsflash, a storm in the position 96L is in CANT GO OUT TO SEA

he was talking about 96L specifically, I just think you are reading way too much into it and to call him an idiot was uncalled for

Relax buddy, it's just my opinion on the matter.
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1050. IKE
AREA FORECAST DISCUSSION
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE HOUSTON/GALVESTON TX
313 PM CDT WED JUL 7 2010

.DISCUSSION...
NOT A LOT OF CHANGES WITH THE SHORT TERM FCST/GRIDS WITH THE NEXT
PACKAGE AS MODELS/ONGOING SATELLITE AND RADAR TRENDS ALL POINT TO
THE CONTINUATION OF THE RAIN/POTENTIAL FLASH FLOOD THREAT TONIGHT
INTO TOMORROW. GIVEN THE WIDE SWATH OF VERY HIGH PWS...IT WILL BE
DIFFICULT TO PINPOINT THE AREAS MOST UNDER THE GUN SUFFICE TO SAY
THE THREAT IS PROBABLY GREATEST OVER THE SRN HALF OF THE FA WHERE
MOISTURE WILL BE THE DEEPEST. UNFORTUNATELY THIS IS ALSO WHERE WE
HAD THE BULK OF THE PROBLEMS WITH THE LAST EVENT. AT ANY RATE FFA
HAS ALREADY BEEN ISSUED THROUGH THURS EVENING. HOWEVER IT WAS IN-
TERESTING TO NOTE THAT MODELS ARE NOW KEEPING THESE ELEVATED RAIN
CHANCES IN FOR M0ST OF SE TX ON FRI. IT APPEARS THAT THE MOISTURE
FROM THAT WEAK TROPICAL WAVE WILL BE APPROACHING FROM THE S/SW AS
IT MOVES FURTHER INLAND. HAVE TWEAKED POPS UP A BIT FOR FRI.

OTHERWISE WEAK HIGH PRESSURE IS PROGGED TO BUILD IN FROM THE EAST
OVER THE WEEKEND. A RETURN TO OUR MORE NORMAL SUMMERTIME TEMPS AS
RAIN CHANCES DROP TO THE MAINLY AFTN/EVE ALONG THE SEABREEZE TYPE
OF ACTIVITY. HOWEVER THESE EXTRA WET GROUNDS COULD ALSO TRANSLATE
TO EXTRA HUMIDITY FOR THE WEEKEND.

&&

.MARINE...
A TROPICAL WAVE IS EXPECTED TO MOVE INTO THE TEXAS COASTAL WATERS
TONIGHT AND THURSDAY. WINDS AND SEAS WILL INCREASE TONIGHT TO SMALL
CRAFT ADVISORY CRITERIA. IMPROVED CONDITIONS ARE EXPECTED GOING INTO
THE WEEKEND AS WINDS AND SEAS SUBSIDE AND HIGH PRESSURE BUILDS ALOFT.

COASTAL FLOOD WARNINGS AND ADVISORIES HAVE BEEN ISSUED FOR PORTIONS
OF THE UPPER TEXAS COAST. REFER TO THOSE PRODUCTS FOR ALL THE
DETAILS AND REASONING.
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37860
TCFA issued...where are the HH? Where are the *wheels up* guys?
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It looks like 96L is going to cause serious flooding:

Link


Link
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Quoting Hurricanes101:


newsflash, a storm in the position 96L is in CANT GO OUT TO SEA

he was talking about 96L specifically
It is possible (I'm just messin' wit ya').

It can make a quick turn towards the east towards Florida, then be pushed to the south towards the Yucatan channel. Then is can go through the Florida straights, and finally recurve up the Gulf Stream.
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1044. angiest
Quoting USSINS:
Folks, we're not talking about giving these systems a name if they don't meet the TS criteria. But these systems with all their tropical aptitude, and especially when they are closer to shore, imo, really should be expedited towards a TD status, whether conditions meet the letter of the criteria or not.

Anything that creates better awareness, preparedness for public safety is helpful. Waiting until the last minute to even declare a TD is just being intentionally omissive and treading closely towards malfeasance.


I suspected Allison was declared a tropical cyclone when she was, not because she was the best organized system, but because she was so close to Galveston. Certainly by landfall I wasn't disagreeing with the classification, but it seemed she was made a TD and possibly even named a tad early.
Member Since: August 26, 2006 Posts: 16 Comments: 4766
Watching the visual closely...it seems like thunderstorms are firing near the "center."
Link (GOES)
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1042. tillou
There's a nice little spin by 45 west.

Some thing to watch at least :/
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Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
At around 8:30 PM EDT or 5:30 PM PDT.



ok
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1040. angiest
Quoting PtownBryan:


Yeah it does not take much in these tropical feeder bands to drop an inch or two quick. And with last weeks 5-15 inch spots of rain it will not take much to flood The Houston and surrounding areas again!


This one hit near Corpus, but caused a decent flooding event in Houston (which, oddly, seems largely forgotten). Interestingly, this is the same name list as this year:



EDIT: Provided the correct URL for the image this time.
Member Since: August 26, 2006 Posts: 16 Comments: 4766
Quoting LoneStarWeather:

It wasn't taken out of context. I know what he meant but wishing any kind of storm on your own country is asinine at best. Wish it to go back to sea but don't wish it here.


newsflash, a storm in the position 96L is in CANT GO OUT TO SEA

he was talking about 96L specifically, I just think you are reading way too much into it and to call him an idiot was uncalled for
Member Since: March 10, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 7872
Quoting StormW:


Can't rule that out. Guess I'm not gonna get a break.
Not this year...
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WTNT01 KNGU 072000
SUBJ/TROPICAL CYCLONE FORMATION ALERT 072000Z JUL 10//
RMKS/1. FORMATION OF A SIGNIFICANT TROPICAL CYCLONE IS POSSIBLE WITHIN
100 NM EITHER SIDE OF A LINE FROM 23.8N 93.6W TO 26.1N 98.8W
WITHIN THE NEXT 12 TO 24 HOURS. AVAILABLE DATA DOES NOT JUSTIFY
ISSUANCE OF NUMBERED TROPICAL CYCLONE WARNING AT THIS TIME.
WINDS IN THE AREA ARE ESTIMATED TO BE 20 TO 25 KNOTS. METSAT
IMAGERY AT 071930Z INDICATES THAT A CIRCULATION CENTER IS LOCATED
NEAR 23.8N 93.6W. THE SYSTEM IS MOVING WEST-NORTHWESTWARD AT 13
KNOTS.
2. REMARKS: A BROAD AREA OF LOW PRESSURE LOCATED JUST WEST OF THE
YUCATAN PENINSULA TRACKS WEST-NORTHWEST TOWARDS THE NORTHEAST COAST
OF MEXICO. THE LATEST METSAT IMAGERY INDICATES INCREASED CONVECTION,
WHICH IS INDICATIVE OF STRENGTHENING. INCREASED SEA SURFACE TEMPERATURES
IN THE REGION AND LIGHT UPPER LEVEL WIND SHEAR WILL PROVIDE FAVORABLE
CONDITIONS FOR TROPICAL CYCLONE DEVELOPMENT.
3. THIS ALERT WILL BE REISSUED, UPGRADED TO WARNING OR CANCELLED
BY 082000Z.//
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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.