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: 637 - 587

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

AL, 96, 2010070718, , BEST, 0, 238N, 936W, 30, 1007, DB
Member Since: March 10, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 7337
June 4 2001, Texas, TS Allison caused $5.5 billion in damage 41 deaths. Now that is what I call numbers!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Looking back on our closest analog season, 1998, most of the storms that season where Cape Verde originated.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting KarenRei:


To be fair, it was not without good cause. They've been facing a huge storm of people with no credentials in and little familiarity with the science, motivated by blogs and pundits, to try to find fault with global warming. That's something that scientists in other fields don't face. These people usually do lousy analysis, not understanding the most rudimentary aspects of the field, and then publish their un-peer-reviewed "AHA!" all over the net. One of the "Climategate" scientists who was encouraging others to find ways to turn down requests once had his partner sued for fraud by a day trader who fancied himself a climate scientist. So basically they want to work with these people about as much as they want their teeth drilled.

But that said, as you note, it's not their call. They don't get to pick and choose who they consider legitimate. These are the cards you're dealt. If you want to be a scientist in a controversial field, you need to have a thick skin and be willing to put up with this sort of stuff. Evolutionary biologists have been dealing with it for a century and a half.

Indeed, elitism has no real place in science.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting srada:
Good Afternoon everyone!! boy the heat came back quickly here in NC but not so much of the humidity which is a plus in all of it..our local met said a low pressure moved off the coast today and this might be what some of the models and Dr. Masters were picking up as a chance of development..I wonder if something close to the conus could become the major player this season instead of the waves coming across africa..


It's pretty dry in inland NC right now. Enjoy it while it lasts. :)
Member Since: September 7, 2007 Posts: 1 Comments: 937
Quoting KarenRei:


You can read the report here. The findings begin on page 10 and continue through page 16. They were not charged with 'failing to reveal true information'. The report finds in their favor on almost all charges; the closest thing to what you described that it holds against them is a failure to maintain a culture of openness -- not just for statutory requirements, but to maintain the reputation of the university and the science. They're faulted several times for being "unhelpful" to data requests from those they felt were just trying to waste their time or attack them, and for a lack of risk management planning in their handling of the controversy. These charges are not irrelevant, by any stretch. But the science itself was upheld. At the same time, it should send a message to them that as much as you are sure that these "amateur scientists" who keep pestering you with data requests are just trying to harass you and waste your time, you still have to treat their requests with the same respect you would treat legitimate scientific inquiry.
This is actually my point exactly. Let's all be open with this. It's not like they're developing some super secret new product which is going to earn them bunches of money. It's not their place to determine if an inquiry is "ameteur" or illegitimate. Elitism or knowing what's best for the masses is often a dangerous course. The course of our climate is something that affects us all, and any secrecy and politically driven drivel should be thrust aside.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting BDAwx:
so wait. these weren't attached to fronts?
Chantal 2007

Wilma 2005

Alex 2004

Otto 2004

Erika 2003

Arthur 2002

Dolly 2002

Isidore 2002

Erin 2001

Felix 2001


or does the front rule only apply to developing systems?


Many early and late systems will get a spin and become a storm from the tail end of a stalled front, usually in the gulf. Normally it detaches itself from the front after forming as a system. Other storms may be a normal storm, make landfall and then attach itself to a passing front, but still with maybe tropical properties, like a spin, high winds, etc. and the front pushes it off the coast at high speeds, which in the right circumstances can cause it to reform. So, long story short, yes. Frontal systems can have a lot of play in making systems.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
629. unf97
Quoting AustinTXWeather:


What direction is that wave travelling?


The Non Tropical Low itself is drifting S-SW. There is a tropical wave near 23.0N 70.0W that appears to me that will get absorbed by the Non Tropical Low.

The Non -Tropical Low is forecast to drift S-SW and meander the next couple of days before a trough of Low Pressure forcast to move through the Ohio Valley to the NE US late this week picks up the Non Tropical entity and carries it out to sea.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Welcome to La Nina.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
extreme236, I totally agree, living in the bayous of Louisiana, any rain can be a flooding event.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
,
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Dang... I have relatives all the way up the east coast, and I'm the coolest of all of them way down here in Florida. What a heatwave...

And, what a difference five months makes since Snowmageddon, Snowpocalypse, Sno Mas! and the like.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting srada:
Good Afternoon everyone!! boy the heat came back quickly here in NC but not so much of the humidity which is a plus in all of it..our local met said a low pressure moved off the coast today and this might be what some of the models and Dr. Masters were picking up as a chance of development..I wonder if something close to the conus could become the major player this season instead of the waves coming across africa..


Well in a normal season the home brews are most revelant later on in the season. Usually around Sept and later. Having said that this season maybe different.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Man I just did the math and I have to do approximately 500 sentences on two books and literary terms. Why can't we have summer math or summer science?? I have less than a month until school starts so I guess I'm out until 8PM TWO.
Member Since: July 7, 2008 Posts: 2 Comments: 3237
Quoting bohonkweatherman:
That is one very strong high pressure system in the East, Satellite shows like no clouds from Maine to Florida.


Plenty of clouds in the area you describe? The only spot with barely any clouds is NC and SC.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Tornado Warning

TORNADO WARNING
OKC061-071845-
/O.NEW.KTSA.TO.W.0032.100707T1816Z-100707T1845Z/

BULLETIN - EAS ACTIVATION REQUESTED
TORNADO WARNING
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE TULSA OK
116 PM CDT WED JUL 7 2010

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN TULSA HAS ISSUED A

* TORNADO WARNING FOR...
CENTRAL HASKELL COUNTY IN SOUTHEAST OKLAHOMA

* UNTIL 145 PM CDT

* AT 113 PM CDT...A SEVERE THUNDERSTORM CAPABLE OF PRODUCING A
TORNADO WAS LOCATED 2 MILES EAST OF LEQUIRE...MOVING NORTHWEST AT
15 MPH.

* SOME LOCATIONS IN OR NEAR THE PATH OF THIS STORM INCLUDE...
LEQUIRE...STIGLER AND WHITEFIELD.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...

IF YOU ARE NEAR THE PATH OF THIS STORM...TAKE COVER NOW! IF NO
UNDERGROUND SHELTER IS AVAILABLE MOVE TO AN INTERIOR ROOM ON THE
LOWEST FLOOR. MOBILE HOMES AND VEHICLES SHOULD BE ABANDONED FOR MORE
SUBSTANTIAL SHELTER. AVOID WINDOWS!

&&

LAT...LON 3523 9527 3532 9510 3509 9503 3507 9509
TIME...MOT...LOC 1816Z 153DEG 12KT 3511 9508

$$






Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting reedzone:
NON-TROPICAL low invest area, may get tagged if it continues to organize, very large, a large Ocean Storm for right now, it seems to be absorbing the wave to the southeast.



What direction is that wave travelling?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Question for Admin: are all charitable organizations responding to post weather related needs permitted to advertise openly on the blog or just portlight?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting txag91met:

Your picture indicates pressure anomalies... not pressure falls. You could have -5 mb pressure anomalies and the pressure is rising.



But it isn't because the anomalies have been intensifying, not slackening. If pressures were rising I would not have said what I said.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting extreme236:


There is no TD watch or warning system, so people should pay attention to local weather advisories for that stuff. If a cold front bring in severe weather came through here in Ohio I don't need any classified system to keep an eye on it.



Read again. I think I mentioned "personal responsibility." Andy, Cyber's right, too - some fools could care less, even if it's a Cat 3. To some classification really means nothing. But, the point, the gist is that by creating a more acute awareness, sooner, perhaps more lives can be saved. That's all I'm saying.

Peace out.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Levi32:


And pressure anomalies of 6 millibars below normal indicate pressure falls in the area.

Your picture indicates pressure anomalies... not pressure falls. You could have -5 mb pressure anomalies and the pressure is rising.

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Hurricanes101:


The nerve you have to cloud up the blog with LOGIC lol


Lol I should just be straight-up perma banned.
Member Since: July 7, 2008 Posts: 2 Comments: 3237
That is one very strong high pressure system in the East, Satellite shows like no clouds from Maine to Florida.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
613. srada
Good Afternoon everyone!! boy the heat came back quickly here in NC but not so much of the humidity which is a plus in all of it..our local met said a low pressure moved off the coast today and this might be what some of the models and Dr. Masters were picking up as a chance of development..I wonder if something close to the conus could become the major player this season instead of the waves coming across africa..
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Levi32:


I think it has a shot at being classified if it can keep firing convection and ignore the dry air to the west. Whether it would be a TD or TS is iffy because we know that it did have gales in its NE quad while it was in the Caribbean, but the only buoy really near the system is only showing TD-force winds, but then again that's not under a convective band, so it's hard to say what its max winds would be. Either way it wouldn't be more than a weak tropical storm if it does develop before landfall. It has a chance right now but the important thing is that it doesn't have enough time to become a significant threat to life and property. Just a nasty weather-maker for the northern Mexico, south Texas, and Louisiana coastlines.


Alright, thanks!
Member Since: July 7, 2008 Posts: 2 Comments: 3237
Quoting 7544:
ok after i posted i see accu weather does have a box around 23n 70 west as a wave to watch lol

could it become 97l next ?

It's looking very sub tropical storm like. Over the Weekend NHC had it yellow with a 20% chance at one point. Now that it is mixed up with the Low off the coast it will probably never develop as a tropical storm.

But looks like a good nor'easter in the making
and if it does go far enough south it could make sub tropical.

Small chance some energy and convection could get left behind as the Low moves off to the NE over the next couple days. That energy could get caught in the trades and move west and develop..but it's a long shot...
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
I think that we're discounting the very real danger of what 96L really means. RAIN!

Not to mention that if Alex and this, are ACTS 1 & 2, I'm not sure I want to see what follows. Intermission may never come.
Member Since: August 27, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 501
I see 96L has been up'd to 50%

Member Since: July 2, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 2811
Quoting unf97:


Things should start to pick back up out in the Tropical East Atlantic later this month. Cape Verde season typically doesn't get cranked up until after July 15. The season I think will still be a very active one.


The CPC forecasts a "moderate" chance for development across the Western Atlantic next week.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Wow, I get back from the beach (rain clouds chased me off) and I see we are back to debating 95L, cutting up shower curtains for Speedos and 96L is sprinting across the GOM! Never a dull moment on the blog. Is 96L expected to eep up this speed?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Statement as of 10:58 am CDT on July 7, 2010

... Another dousing of heavy rainfall across parts of Nebraska...

Aaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhh! :)
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting CoffinWood:


Thanks Levi, I really appreciated today's video.


It's my pleasure.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Comic Book Guy: Worst... Mental Picture... EVER


hahahahahahaha!

:)
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting extreme236:


There is no TD watch or warning system, so people should pay attention to local weather advisories for that stuff. If a cold front bring in severe weather came through here in Ohio I don't need any classified system to keep an eye on it.


Sad thing is, people don't. Heck, people are still under the impression that a Category 1 Hurricane is nothing to worry about.. just look at what Katrina did to Miami before it went in the Gulf.
Member Since: July 8, 2005 Posts: 259 Comments: 23484
599. unf97
Quoting CybrTeddy:
581. SAL remains below average, and is not a season killer. GFS shows the TUTT lifting well out very soon up above 30N. Everything's lining up.


Things should start to pick back up out in the Tropical East Atlantic later this month. Cape Verde season typically doesn't get cranked up until after July 15. The season I think will still be a very active one.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting USSINS:



Not entirely. Not jumping in the 95L debate now, but what if five or 10 people had been killed in flooding from the 15 inches of rain that fell swest of Morgan City? Would have greater awareness been created and saved lives had it been classified as a TD? Maybe. Everyone shares some personal responsibility, first and foremost. But, I don't think it's the role of the NHC is to necessarily "classify" storms as much as it is to help save lives and protect property.

Again, just my two cents. Have a great afternoon, all.


There is no TD watch or warning system, so people should pay attention to local weather advisories for that stuff. If a cold front bring in severe weather came through here in Ohio I don't need any classified system to keep an eye on it.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Levi32:
96L is pulling itself together in the area of greatest pressure falls, and this is where, if it can overcome the dry air to its west, it will really start to develop. This is nothing more than a westward shift of what happened with Alex 2 weeks ago down in the Caribbean. Because of that, 96L doesn't have the kind of time it needs to become something vicious before running into North America like Alex did.



Thanks Levi, I really appreciated today's video.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting txag91met:
Pressure falls is pressure decreasing...pressure anomalies means anomalies compared to normal.

As for 96L---it will probably be a depression by tonight/tomorrow and move into Brownsville...more rain where they don't need it.


And pressure anomalies of 6 millibars below normal indicate pressure falls in the area.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting HurricaneSwirl:


I still think this will get renumbered, but do you think it will have a shot at becoming the B storm, or do you think this is a depression max. I know it's kind of a specific question since the difference between a TD and a weak TS is so little. But what are your thoughts?


I think it has a shot at being classified if it can keep firing convection and ignore the dry air to the west. Whether it would be a TD or TS is iffy because we know that it did have gales in its NE quad while it was in the Caribbean, but the only buoy really near the system is only showing TD-force winds, but then again that's not under a convective band, so it's hard to say what its max winds would be. Either way it wouldn't be more than a weak tropical storm if it does develop before landfall. It has a chance right now but the important thing is that it doesn't have enough time to become a significant threat to life and property. Just a nasty weather-maker for the northern Mexico, south Texas, and Louisiana coastlines.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
581. SAL remains below average, and is not a season killer. GFS shows the TUTT lifting well out very soon up above 30N. Everything's lining up. We've already had a near major hurricane and this season might not live up to the 24 named predictions NOAA came out with but it will certainly live up to CSU's 18.
Member Since: July 8, 2005 Posts: 259 Comments: 23484
Quoting HurricaneSwirl:


Nvm I found it:



The nerve you have to cloud up the blog with LOGIC lol
Member Since: March 10, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 7337
Quoting HurricaneSwirl:


Ugh.. someone pull out "the chart"


Nvm I found it:

Member Since: July 7, 2008 Posts: 2 Comments: 3237
Quoting Levi32:


Yes, they represent the area where the greatest pressure falls are occurring relative to normal.
Pressure falls is pressure decreasing...pressure anomalies means anomalies compared to normal.

As for 96L---it will probably be a depression by tonight/tomorrow and move into Brownsville...more rain where they don't need it.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
That satellite picture of Dolly looks similar to 96L. Anything spinning in the Gulf this time of year should always be watched. It was kinda messy looking, too, but look what damage it did.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Daveg:


Part of that is deceiving. It's not moving as fast as the flaring convection makes it look like it is.

10 to 15 mph is a good clip
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting robert88:
What a lull we are in now. The entire globe has barely any convection. The SAL is the strongest it has been all year with bright pinks showing up now. It's wild how quick things can change in the tropics. GFS shows the pattern not changing for quite awhile. The ECMWF looks to be a bust with 23 named storms right now. August and September are going to have to be real busy. If the TUTT doesn't pull out until late August/September the season could be average or slightly below. We shall see.


Ugh.. someone pull out "the chart"
Member Since: July 7, 2008 Posts: 2 Comments: 3237

Viewing: 637 - 587

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.