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 NttyGrtty:
..and I'm not questioning any of the kudos toward portlight, I simply asked a simple question


I wasn't either, It was simply my impression that it was started here, which as it turns out, they just have a hand in it. That doesn't mean this site doesn't want other charities out, they simply likely want to promote theirs first. If you want to promote a charity or anything raising money on this particular blog, it would probably be wise to ask admin first.

There's no need to attack me, I was just trying to answer your question by explaining to you the origins/affiliations of Portlight, (even if my details were off and explained later) which is what you wanted, right?

It's not under my control what others post. What do you want me to say? I'm sorry people like Portlight? I'm sorry Portlight is a great organization? I'm sorry that some people think Portlight might be better than your charity of choice? Would it make a difference on your choosing of organizations? I highly doubt it. If you don't like what the outcome may bring, don't post anything. That's usually my rule of thumb.
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Glad to see someone else is watching the MDR. Keep up the reports - Sailingallover, I appreciate it.
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735. IKE
I also see the low off of the east coast on the 12Z ECMWF, but it looks like the moisture mostly stays offshore...like Bastardi was saying in his discussion this morning.
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37860
Quoting homelesswanderer:


Yeah we are used to that in Texas. But I must say I was surprised when someone on this blog from Houston didn't know Rita hit Texas. Then another from Houston didn't know that Ike hit where Rita did. Lol. Our SE TX is not Houston. So I guess the coverage was bad.


Hi Homeless...
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Ike are the models always correct?
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Quoting angiest:


You must be in deep SE Texas. :)
Where are you located? I'm in Hitchcock.
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Quoting Hurricanes101:
216 hours, next Friday



Interesting.. has been showing persistence too. Needs to be watched for development as CV season begins to kick into gear. ECMWF long range got 96L and Alex.. so we'll see what happens.
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730. 7544
anoother nice blow up at 23n-70 west this does have my attention now will 96l get some compitition from this to be 97l soon
Member Since: May 6, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 6874
Look at what 95L did right before brushing the coast of LA.....it wouldn't surprise me a bit to see something similar with 96L although 96 is moving at a much fast clip than 95 was. Just musing...funny things happen at the gulf coast during the season. Ya just never know
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728. Daveg
Definitely still a 'bit' messy, but some nice convection flaring up right over the center. Can't say 96L isn't trying.

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Quoting homelesswanderer:


Yeah we are used to that in Texas. But I must say I was surprised when someone on this blog from Houston didn't know Rita hit Texas. Then another from Houston didn't know that Ike hit where Rita did. Lol. Our SE TX is not Houston. So I guess the coverage was bad.


You must be in deep SE Texas. :)
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Quoting Levi32:


Yeah that's why I said 2nd half of the month. I don't see anything developing out there during the next 8 days.

Trade winds out there remained slower than normal on average in June, so the high isn't too awful strong. The GFS shows it weakening as it shifts west like you mentioned, so dust blown off by the trades shouldn't be an issue more than it normally is, and should be less of a problem than normal.

Trades are not much weaker than normal and the main reason is the Lows along the ITCZ are weak. The Colombian Low has been MIA. The Shahara Low is solid and right on the coast..
Have to see what develops over the next couple weeks. I'm hoping the Dust stays since we are right on the path of everything that could develop in the Atlantic. The 1016 line has been zonal right across the MDR to the windward leeward islands..the TUTT has been pretty good about shearing everything once it gets here..
It's been a consistent pattern for a month now..
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I hear you. I have relatives in Bolivar but most of their houses were underwater, though they were salvageable. Of course they were located downtown Bolivar (if there is such a place) and on higher land. Going up the coast wasn't a pretty site.

Father-in-laws house in Galveston had 2.5 feet in it. Just got him back in 4 months ago.
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Quoting angiest:


Oh I understand that. Plus lots of celebrities live, or at least have homes, in New Orleans. Not to detract from the tragedy that happened in New Orleans, but that doesn't make what happened to coastal communities any less bad.

I don't think a lot of people around here even realize just how bad the damage to Bolivar was. We all saw the huge granite boulders that used to lie at the base of the Sea Wall that were washed on to Sea Wall Blvd, but Bolivar got it much worse, and even the West end of Galveston (the Sea Wall protects less than a third of the Island) took a nasty blow from the weak side of Ike.

The following picture is from Galveston State Park and shows the remains of a picnic table/shelter. This is several miles to the west of landfall. This structure was behind the dunes:



For those who might be interested in seeing the destruction and rebirth of Galveston State Park you can see it here:

Link
Link

Link
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One more thing to note on 96L, structure has improved, but it's not really impressive to me, I still see an elongated mess, so I am not looking just at the convection. 50% was a little over the top, but keeps it at a medium chance, which is also reasonable. I really need to see moe improvement on this invest before I change my mind.
Member Since: July 1, 2008 Posts: 13 Comments: 7437
721. IKE
I see the system at 240 hours out in the EATL on the 12Z ECMWF.

I also see 96L pretty much gone by tomorrow at 12Z and another system heading for the Yucatan peninsula and Mexico.

Looks like the USA is protected the next 10 days after 96L moves on.
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37860
216 hours, next Friday

Member Since: March 10, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 7874
Quoting reedzone:
Guys, organization has gotten SLIGHTLY better, not downcasting the thing, just not looking for a big problem at all, very confident this will end up being either an INvest at landfall, or a weak TS at the worst. Nothing major, you all need to stop hyping something that isn't going to be big lol. Also to note, the merging of the tropical wave north of the Caribbean and the NON-TROPICAL low should be watched for Hybrid/Subtropical development for the next few days as it slowly drifts near the coastline. I give it a 30% chance to get going and I give 96L a 30% to develop into a TD beofre landfall. It's reasonable to me.


who is hyping? So it is ok for you to hang on to systems that have no shot at development, but it is hype if we are watching 96L for development?
Member Since: March 10, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 7874
Quoting angiest:


People living south of New Orleans, as well as coastal Mississippi and Alabama were also neglected by the media.


Yeah we are used to that in Texas. But I must say I was surprised when someone on this blog from Houston didn't know Rita hit Texas. Then another from Houston didn't know that Ike hit where Rita did. Lol. Our SE TX is not Houston. So I guess the coverage was bad.
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man it is hot for up here. Todays better than yesterday. right now its 97.8 and 34% humidity. We really lucked out having humidity levels so low. Any hotter and it starts getting dangerous, we are not used to such a prolonged heat wave.
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Quoting HurricaneKyle:


No its not, look at the date at 0 hr. 7/7.



It may have updated the first few days but the 192, 216, and 240 frames haven't updated from yesterday's run yet.
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26701
192 hours, next Thursday

Member Since: March 10, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 7874
Guys, organization has gotten SLIGHTLY better, not downcasting the thing, just not looking for a big problem at all, very confident this will end up being either an Invest at landfall, or a weak TS at the worst. Nothing major, you all need to stop hyping something that isn't going to be big lol. Also to note, the merging of the tropical wave north of the Caribbean and the NON-TROPICAL low should be watched for Hybrid/Subtropical development for the next few days as it slowly drifts near the coastline. I give it a 30% chance to get going and I give 96L a 30% to develop into a TD beofre landfall. It's reasonable to me.
Member Since: July 1, 2008 Posts: 13 Comments: 7437
Quoting Hurricanes101:


yesterdays 12Z run


EDIT: Your right, the ECMWF's just coming out.
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Quoting AllBoardedUp:
Post #671, unfortunately, it's all about the money! Larger TV audience in New Orleans. Factor in the TV audience that has visited New Orleans on vacation over the past 50+ years and we are talking tens of million potential viewers. Not to mention, it's not everyday levees break in a heavy populated city.

Not saying this right, but it's the reality. Money.


Oh I understand that. Plus lots of celebrities live, or at least have homes, in New Orleans. Not to detract from the tragedy that happened in New Orleans, but that doesn't make what happened to coastal communities any less bad.

I don't think a lot of people around here even realize just how bad the damage to Bolivar was. We all saw the huge granite boulders that used to lie at the base of the Sea Wall that were washed on to Sea Wall Blvd, but Bolivar got it much worse, and even the West end of Galveston (the Sea Wall protects less than a third of the Island) took a nasty blow from the weak side of Ike.

The following picture is from Galveston State Park and shows the remains of a picnic table/shelter. This is several miles to the west of landfall. This structure was behind the dunes:

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Post# 688, I saw it all first hand with Ike, and later with Katrina. I have relatives in Biloxi and D'Iberville and we were there visiting 2 months before Katrina (actually I was at a casino went Cindy was coming ashore) and had no idea this would be the last time to see the Mississippi coast in its pristine state. We loved driving the coast and looking at all the old houses. We waited 2 years before visiting again because I knew of all the rebuilding taking place. I was stunned to see all of the destruction first hand.
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Quoting HurricaneKyle:
12z ECMWF run. Cape Verde storm on the 15th.



yesterdays 12Z run; 216 hours from today would be next Friday not next Thursday
Member Since: March 10, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 7874
Quoting NOLALawyer:


I find your videos to be the best source of information on here.

Well done.



Well I don't know about the best....not by a long-shot, but thank you :)
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26701
Quoting IKE:
12Z ECMWF


long range shows possible development in the CATL around the same time frame of the GFS
Member Since: March 10, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 7874
Quoting Daveg:


YES.
Link


we have had a sprinkle so far and radar shows it breaking up as it got to us.
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12z ECMWF continuing to show us hints of mischief in the eastern Atlantic in 10 days.

Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26701
12z ECMWF run. Cape Verde storm on the 15th.

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Quoting HurricaneKyle:


Up from 'TOO WEAK'


If trends continue the next update should be 1.5-2.0.
Member Since: August 2, 2007 Posts: 19 Comments: 19234
Quoting FLdewey:


I would say the odds of an admin finding your post is small. Your best bet is to send them a message direct.
Now that's funny! After 1 June, if you misstype the word cyclone on here, Admin knows about it. I've seen things removed in, literally, seconds. They've seen it and I'm sure, being the gentle people that they are, they will provide an answer. No agenda here, just curious...really
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Quoting Skyepony:


Yup ASCAT confirms a broad, closed surface low. It's gradually tightening up on visible loops.
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26701
Quoting extreme236:
T1.0 consensus from TAFB and SAB on the 17:45 UTC estimate.


Up from 'TOO WEAK'
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For 96L spending all day crossing the Yucatan without being developed I think it looks pretty good today.
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697. IKE
12Z ECMWF
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37860
Quoting Levi32:
96L is a million times better organized than yesterday. Once it gets vertically stacked later today, it may try to feedback right before landfall and acquire TD or TS status. We'll have to see how it goes, but it looks better than it ever has before.


I think some get caught up in the convection and don't look at the actual structure of the system itself
Member Since: March 10, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 7874
695. Skyepony (Mod)
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Quoting Levi32:
Good morning all.

Tropical Tidbit for Wednesday, July 7th, with Video


I find your videos to be the best source of information on here.

Well done.

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Convection seems to have really increased this afternoon. I would say still disorganized but getting organized. Back to the lurk cave.
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Quoting Daveg:
Flaring up for sure...


Disorganized mess to me, it would need to really get going in order for a TD to appear tomorrow. I give it a 30% from 10% I had earlier do to the recent organization.. Although this is not cutting it for me, I don't understand why you all think this is really getting going lol.
Member Since: July 1, 2008 Posts: 13 Comments: 7437
Wave at 55N..had great convection down in the ITCZ yesterday through last night..came north today hit the dust and died. There is some shear there too but you didn't see the tops get blown off.. the convection just died.
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96L is a million times better organized than yesterday. Once it gets vertically stacked later today, it may try to feedback right before landfall and acquire TD or TS status. We'll have to see how it goes, but it looks better than it ever has before.
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26701
689. Daveg
Quoting duajones78413:
Does it look like Corpus will get much rain from 96?


YES.
Link
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Quoting AllBoardedUp:
Post #671, unfortunately, it's all about the money! Larger TV audience in New Orleans. Factor in the TV audience that has visited New Orleans on vacation over the past 50+ years and we are talking tens of million potential viewers. Not to mention, it's not everyday levees break in a heavy populated city.

Not saying this right, but it's the reality. Money.
Very true. Also, insofar as coverage of Ike's effects went, the economy tanked within a day or 2 of landfall. My daughter in Hawaii was furious because she had so much trouble getting news about what was going on here, but apparently the country had other concerns. (Not that those of us with no power knew about, though....)
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Ok, let me rephrase this.. reminds me of how Erin formed, I see a TD at best, weak TS at the most. Erin formed around where 96L is right now, this is why it reminds me of that particular storm. It was an invest for days, I remewmber because we were tracking Dean at the time and we had the invest that wouldnt get going till it got near Texas.
Member Since: July 1, 2008 Posts: 13 Comments: 7437

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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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