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 Hurricanes101:
agreed bwt lol

I had said the other day there was a Mid level vortex off the coast of Tampa that gave my area some gusty winds and tropical downpours all day; should that have been classified too?

I have a Master's in meteorology...been studying tropical systems for a long time...the low was closed enough in my book to warrant classification. It is just my opinion...why do I have to agree with Dr. Carver, just because he has a PHD?
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I prefer storms that form in the atlantic and then enter the carribean because they are less of a headache when trying to track them or worry yourself about if or when they are going to form
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535. Daveg
And so it begins... again...

** Insert Jaws music here**

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Quoting DestinJeff:
don't we understand that the NHC is in a lose-lose position. No matter what they do, detractors of the decision will surface.

The classification of a system does not change the effects that its weather brings, one way or the other. They could have class'd 95L as a TS, but the weather would have been the same as it was while class'd as an invest.

Machts nichts.


agreed
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Quoting DestinJeff:
Things would be far less volatile if the NHC would simply apply the Wunderblog Theorem when deciding on classification of a system.

The Wunderblog Theorem, simply put, is that if greater than 63% of comments on the blog support classification for over 3 consecutive hours, then classification is warranted.

exception: If Levi, StormW, and 456 all agree on classification within a 30 minute timeframe of each other, then the 3 hour rule is waived.


Here are good analyst like 456, StormW, Levi, etc, but in NHC are professional and have better instruments than us to see what it happends and Classificate storms, so your theory doesnt have any sense. True most of times the analisys are the same, but NHC dont need a blog to classificate storms.
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Quoting IKE:
Give it another 48 hours and if 96L isn't designated we can have another argument over an invest being or not being designated.


LMAO - some days reading the blog is like watching those old 'serial' movies - stayed tuned for the next thrilling installment...
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000
ABNT20 KNHC 071735
TWOAT
TROPICAL WEATHER OUTLOOK
NWS TPC/NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL
200 PM EDT WED JUL 7 2010

FOR THE NORTH ATLANTIC...CARIBBEAN SEA AND THE GULF OF MEXICO...

AN ELONGATED AREA OF LOW PRESSURE LOCATED OVER THE WESTERN GULF OF
MEXICO IS MOVING WEST-NORTHWESTWARD AT 10 TO 15 MPH. SHOWERS AND
THUNDERSTORMS HAVE BECOME A LITTLE MORE CONCENTRATED ABOUT 300
MILES EAST-SOUTHEAST OF THE TEXAS/MEXICO BORDER...NEAR THE SOUTHERN
PORTION OF THE LOW PRESSURE AREA. CONDITIONS APPEAR CONDUCIVE FOR
DEVELOPMENT AND A TROPICAL DEPRESSION COULD FORM BEFORE THE SYSTEM
REACHES THE COAST OF NORTHEASTERN MEXICO OR SOUTHERN TEXAS ON
THURSDAY. THERE IS A MEDIUM CHANCE...50 PERCENT...OF THIS SYSTEM
BECOMING A TROPICAL CYCLONE. REGARDLESS OF DEVELOPMENT...THE LOW IS
FORECAST TO BRING LOCALLY HEAVY RAINS AND GUSTY WINDS TO PORTIONS
OF EASTERN TEXAS AND NORTHEASTERN MEXICO DURING THE NEXT FEW DAYS.

ELSEWHERE...TROPICAL CYCLONE FORMATION IS NOT EXPECTED DURING THE
NEXT 48 HOURS.

$$
FORECASTER BROWN

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529. Skyepony (Mod)
Quoting LightningCharmer:
This is probably off topic but from what I've read of the report, the accused were guilty not of directly false reporting but of withholding true information. It still doesn't taste right to me. True science should be about openess which in this case doesn't appear to be the case. Not making the case for Global Cooling, Warming, Change or Sameness ... just would like to see GOOD SCIENCE not politically driven chicanery.


Data alone is all you need.. Global temps this year have been amazing..we've taken a whole new shift warmer this year. Near surface temps by satellite are crazy, compared to past years. Expected warmer with the fading El Nino, but near one of the deepest solar minimums of the century & no where near the El Nino strength of 1998, yet to out do previous years including 1998 by 1C most days is insane.

The great Arctic melt is underway, should out do 2007 with the same di-pole going on that shoved ice out to a warmer Atlantic Ocean, just warmer still air temps. The ice bridge in the Straits that has held the last few years keeping the ice in til late July gave way in early May.

CO2 just hit 392ppm.. Hope ya'll are enjoying the science experiment.
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Glad to see the tropics are quiet once again! I guess the wishcasters were wrong on 96L which is a good thing. Glad to see 2010 starting off slow, looks like it will continue! :)
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Quoting LightningCharmer:
This is probably off topic but from what I've read of the report, the accused were guilty not of directly false reporting but of withholding true information. It still doesn't taste right to me. True science should be about openess which in this case doesn't appear to be the case. Not making the case for Global Cooling, Warming, Change or Sameness ... just would like to see GOOD SCIENCE not politically driven chicanery.


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.
Member Since: September 7, 2007 Posts: 1 Comments: 940
agreed bwt lol

I had said the other day there was a Mid level vortex off the coast of Tampa that gave my area some gusty winds and tropical downpours all day; should that have been classified too?
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525. IKE
Give it another 48 hours and if 96L isn't designated we can have another argument over an invest being or not being designated.
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524. 7544
hi all hmm nice blob around 23n 70 west could this become 97l and if so with the high just above it would it pushed it west also if it did form tia
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523. unf97
Quoting Hurricanes101:


StormW noted it as well

while I think 95L had great potential IF it had detached from the front say a day earlier, it in fact did not and while it may have exhibited some if not most of the parameters needed for classification, it did not display them at the same time and therefore did not deserve classification IMO


oh I agree with you about this. It ran out of time and water before it could close off a circulation.

However, I believe the detachment process from the frontal boundry was in the process of occuring when 95L came ashore in coastal Louisiana.
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Quoting txag91met:
I have seen many cases of depressions which were classified but didn't lack convection.


then explain the issue of the low not being closed that Dr Carver and StormW noted?

no closed low, no classification
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Quoting txag91met:

Doesn't matter how small it was...1009 mb low with 30 mph winds was enough in my book for a depression.


LOL! Then we have afternoon depressions everyday in Florida! come on now!
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In my opinion, the trailing circulation looks better than the front. Vorticity is stronger there, too. Where is the surface circulation?
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Not surprising they bumped up the chance with evidence of a closed surface low and convection continuing to increase.
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Quoting Hurricanes101:


but the definition also says it needs organized deep convection and for it to persist for 12-24 hours, 95L had neither and was attached to a front over most of its lifetime

there was also evidence that the circulation was not closed either
I have seen many cases of depressions which were classified but didn't lack convection. Go look at the radar loop and tell me it doesn't have a low level center.
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517. Daveg
Quoting ccSparky:
96L stay away. Don't want to move the boats 3x in a week.


96L is coming to Texas, only question is in what condition. TD, TS? I would seriously doubt hurricane.
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Quoting DestinJeff:
Things would be far less volatile if the NHC would simply apply the Wunderblog Theorem when deciding on classification of a system.

The Wunderblog Theorem, simply put, is that if greater than 63% of comments on the blog support classification for over 3 consecutive hours, then classification is warranted.

exception: If Levi, StormW, and 456 all agree on classification within a 30 minute timeframe of each other, then the 3 hour rule is waived.


I second this motion.
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Up to 50% on the TWO.
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513. IKE
TROPICAL WEATHER OUTLOOK
NWS TPC/NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL
200 PM EDT WED JUL 7 2010

FOR THE NORTH ATLANTIC...CARIBBEAN SEA AND THE GULF OF MEXICO...

AN ELONGATED AREA OF LOW PRESSURE LOCATED OVER THE WESTERN GULF OF
MEXICO IS MOVING WEST-NORTHWESTWARD AT 10 TO 15 MPH. SHOWERS AND
THUNDERSTORMS HAVE BECOME A LITTLE MORE CONCENTRATED ABOUT 300
MILES EAST-SOUTHEAST OF THE TEXAS/MEXICO BORDER...NEAR THE SOUTHERN
PORTION OF THE LOW PRESSURE AREA. CONDITIONS APPEAR CONDUCIVE FOR
DEVELOPMENT AND A TROPICAL DEPRESSION COULD FORM BEFORE THE SYSTEM
REACHES THE COAST OF NORTHEASTERN MEXICO OR SOUTHERN TEXAS ON
THURSDAY. THERE IS A MEDIUM CHANCE...50 PERCENT...OF THIS SYSTEM
BECOMING A TROPICAL CYCLONE. REGARDLESS OF DEVELOPMENT...THE LOW IS
FORECAST TO BRING LOCALLY HEAVY RAINS AND GUSTY WINDS TO PORTIONS
OF EASTERN TEXAS AND NORTHEASTERN MEXICO DURING THE NEXT FEW DAYS.

ELSEWHERE...TROPICAL CYCLONE FORMATION IS NOT EXPECTED DURING THE
NEXT 48 HOURS.

$$
FORECASTER BROWN

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Quoting unf97:


That is what Dr. Carver pointed out regarding 95L not having a closed circulation.


StormW noted it as well

while I think 95L had great potential IF it had detached from the front say a day earlier, it in fact did not and while it may have exhibited some if not most of the parameters needed for classification, it did not display them at the same time and therefore did not deserve classification IMO
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Quoting lickitysplit:
well...the Muir-Russel report is out and, as expected, "climategate" was just another not-much manufactured by the flat earthers. I hope Dr. Masters discusses it in the coming days.


Flatearthers, lol. As opposed to the chicken littles?
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509. unf97
Quoting Hurricanes101:


but the definition also says it needs organized deep convection and for it to persist for 12-24 hours, 95L had neither and was attached to a front over most of its lifetime

there was also evidence that the circulation was not closed either


That is what Dr. Carver pointed out regarding 95L not having a closed circulation.
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96L stay away. Don't want to move the boats 3x in a week.
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http://pro.accuweather.com/adcbin/professional/uggfx/page.htm?gfxcode=uf25 waves that may show development potential
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Quoting lickitysplit:
well...the Muir-Russel report is out and, as expected, "climategate" was just another not-much manufactured by the flat earthers. I hope Dr. Masters discusses it in the coming days.
This is probably off topic but from what I've read of the report, the accused were guilty not of directly false reporting but of withholding true information. It still doesn't taste right to me. True science should be about openess which in this case doesn't appear to be the case. Not making the case for Global Cooling, Warming, Change or Sameness ... just would like to see GOOD SCIENCE not politically driven chicanery.
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Quoting txag91met:

Doesn't matter how small it was...1009 mb low with 30 mph winds was enough in my book for a depression.


but the definition also says it needs organized deep convection and for it to persist for 12-24 hours, 95L had neither and was attached to a front over most of its lifetime

there was also evidence that the circulation was not closed either
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the GFS is showing something really bad hitting the islands in 2 weeks has anyone noticed that system???????????????
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Quoting Hurricanes101:


convection was never organized enough and for long enough

while it was close, I would disagree

Doesn't matter how small it was...1009 mb low with 30 mph winds was enough in my book for a depression.
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Good afternoon.
Looks like 96L may finally be off and running.
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501. Skyepony (Mod)
AF303 is up..looks like joy riding..exercising the plane, chucking dropsondes from 850mb (fairly low), ~100miles SE of New Orleans.
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Quoting txag91met:
95L should have been a depression...1009 mb low at landfall. Still spinning in NE Texas as I type.


convection was never organized enough and for long enough

while it was close, I would disagree
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Watching NVa
i live halfway between the d in Richmond and the w in Waverly...near Hopewell...this is what its been like so for the last 2 months...we've had less here than Richmond has officially recorded, and that's freaking sad...lol....please rain this week!!!...lol

Watching - I'm right under the a in chesapeake on your map. NCentral Va Beach on the Western Branch of the Lynnhaven.

Maybe some rain this weekend - I hope.
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95L should have been a depression...1009 mb low at landfall. Still spinning in NE Texas as I type.
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And, given the magnitude of the potential hazards this season, it's probably a good idea to create as much awareness as possible. Otherwise, people and leaders get caught with their pants down, confused, ill-prepared and with less time to respond. And, people get hurt and killed. Seems to me, that objective should come first - not whether or not something is "technically" at some particular point in time - especially a TD.

There may be certain protocols that take place when a TD classification goes up, and that may cause issues, money spent, but still, imo, that's worth it when it could save the life of one or a dozen or more lives - be it from flooding, winds, etc.

Just my



...about what it's worth.

Carry on. Great job, StormW and others, that share their knowledge here.
Quoting HurricaneSwirl:


Repost. I have a question about what warrants heat advisories, they seem awful inconsistent to me..

Albany, NY will likely get to 95 today, but it is going to humid enough to put the heat index between 101 and 104. They are under a heat advisory.

Richmond, VA will likely get to 101-104 today, but it is dry enough so that the heat index probably won't surpass 106 or 107. They are not under a heat advisory.

Macon, GA will likely get to 95-98 today, but it is humid enough that the dew point will likely push heat indexes to around 105. They are not under a heat advisory.

When I saw Richmond wasn't under a heat advisory, yet it was going to be 10 degrees warmer than places that were, I thought it would be a humidity thing. But if it was a humidity thing then us in Macon would be under one too, so it can't be that... Man I'm confused.


Quoting HurricaneSwirl:


Repost. Maybe it's a dumb question but I'm curious :)



I'm not entirely certain, I'm no meteorologist, but living in central coastal Florida, where the summer days regularly hit 95+ with humidity levels at least 80% or higher and the heat index is usually 110+, I know a bit about these temps, and this summer has been especially harsh. However, we've never gotten a heat advisory. We do get frost and freeze warnings when the temps dip below 40, which I'm sure is obviously something the northerners don't get... if you catch my drift.

I think a lot of why some of the places you named didn't get heat advisories is because either a) the criteria didn't fit what Dr. Carver mentioned above, which is what I believe to be for Albany, or b) they are areas like where I live and they are used to it... for lack of a more technical term. For instance, Macon, GA and even Richmond are likely pretty used to at least certain bursts (as in weeks, or so) of this kind of weather. Macon I know for a fact, as I have family there, and Richmond... well, it's kind of known for its heat and humidity. It may be slightly abnormal, but nothing either of these cities aren't used to.
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well...the Muir-Russel report is out and, as expected, "climategate" was just another not-much manufactured by the flat earthers. I hope Dr. Masters discusses it in the coming days.
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This discusses reeds system. Increased rain chances here, not much else.

SHORT TERM /6 PM THIS EVENING THROUGH 6 PM THURSDAY/...
AS OF 2 AM WED...UPR LOW WILL CONT TO RETROGRADE AND APPROACH THE
COAST TONIGHT. WILL SEE CLOUDS INCREASE AS THIS FEATURE APPROACHES.
CONT PREV FCST OF CHC POPS LATE MAINLY OVER CSTL WTRS AND OBX.
WILL BE A LITTLE MILDER WITH LOW TEMPS MAINLY 70 TO 75. THE UPR
LOW WILL LINGER NEAR THE CST THU WITH JUST A WEAK SFC LOW
OFFSHORE. WILL BE ENOUGH MOISTURE FOR CHC POPS MOST AREAS
THU...MAINLY EARLY CST AND SHIFTING INLAND WITH HEATING DURING THE
DAY. LOW LVL THICKNESSES DROP ON THU AND WITH MORE CLOUDS AND SCT
PRECIP EXPECT HIGHS MAINLY IN THE UPR 80S TO LOWER 90S.

&&

.LONG TERM /THURSDAY NIGHT THROUGH TUESDAY/...
AS OF 2 AM WED...THE UPPER LOW WILL BEGIN TO LIFT N AND FILL FRI AS
IT GETS ABSORBED BY THE BROAD TROFFING DEVELOPING OVER THE ERN
U.S. PCPN CHCS WILL CONT THRU THE END OF THE WEEK AND INTO MUCH
OF THE UPCOMING WEEKEND ALTHO MUCH OF THE PCPN IS EXPECTED TO BE
SPOTTY UNTIL THE BEST FORCING AND MOIST INFLOW IS MAXIMIZED OVER
THE AREA ON SATURDAY. ACCOMPANYING SFC FRONT WILL APPROACH ON
SATURDAY BUT STALL JUST WEST OF THE AREA. MOISTURE AXIS AND
FORCING WILL GRADUALLY SHIFT OFF THE COAST ON SUNDAY WITH
DECREASING PCPN CHCS LATER IN THE WEEKEND. SHORT WAVE RIDGING
YIELDS A DRIER PERIOD EARLY NEXT WEEK WITH ANY PCPN MAINLY TIED TO
DIURNAL INFLUENCES.

TEMPS WILL REMAIN ABV NORMAL THIS FCST PERIOD (MAINLY UPPER 80S
COAST/LOWER 90S INLAND WITH LOWS AT NIGHT - LOW TO MID 70S) BUT
WITH DECREASING HUMIDITY EARLY NEXT WEEK AS A DRIER WESTERLY FLOW
TAKES HOLD.

&&

.AVIATION /14Z WEDNESDAY THROUGH SUNDAY/...
-- Changed Discussion --VFR WITH MAINLY SKC RULES TODAY UNDER A RATHER DEEP/DRY NLY FLOW.
DEWPOINTS EXPECTED TO DROP INTO THE 50S AGAIN DEEP INLAND THIS
AFTN...AND THIS SHOULD MAKE IT DIFFICULT FOR MOST TAF SITES TO
DROP TO CROSS OVER TEMPS TONIGHT. WILL THUS KEEP FOG OUT FOR NOW.

FAIRLY VERTICALLY STACKED AREA OF LOW PRES OFFSHORE WILL DRIFT
TOWARDS THE COAST THROUGH THE END OF THE WORKWEEK. THIS IS
EXPECTED TO BRING PERIODS OF SHOWERS/TSTMS WITH ASSOCIATED LOWER
FLIGHT RULES. SOME UNCERTAINTY REMAINS ON HOW MUCH COVERAGE THERE
WILL BE THOUGH. THIS SYSTEM GETS ABSORBED INTO A LARGER SCALE TROF
MOVING OVER THE ERN CONUS LATER FRI INTO THE BEGINNING OF THE
WEEKEND. LEFTOVER ENERGY FROM THE MID/UPR LOW COMBINING WITH
ADDITIONAL SHORT WAVE ACTIVITY ASSOCD WITH THE LARGER SCALE TROF
MAY YIELD MORE SCATTERED CONVECTION THROUGH SAT. MEDIUM RANGE
GUIDANCE SUGGESTS A FRONT MAY BRING IN A BIT DRIER AIR WITH LESS
CHANCES FOR CONVECTION INTO SUN.-- End Changed Discussion --

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so when should we get some real action in the tropics??????
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Atlantic Ocean...
a deep layered low/trough centered over the western
Atlantic...north of the discussion area near 35n67w...supports a
series of surface troughs generating scattered moderate to
strong convection over a large portion of the W Atlc from 20n to
beyond 32n between 61w to 77w. Diffluence flow in the far upper
levels of the atmosphere are further supporting this system.
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NE of Bahamas, weak surface circulation.



Click on image to view original size in a new window







Low Resolution
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I get the center being at 93.3/23.3, so what's going on around 21/91.3? It looks like another spin trying to come off the coast. ???
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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.