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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1737. IKE
Quoting JLPR2:
Convection is way stronger over the Yucatan than over 96L itself XD



Merida,Mexico at 21N and 89.7W has had rain and TS off and on all day....Link
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
Quoting homelesswanderer:


Awe. SmileyCentral.com

Lol. Hopefully it won't follow that pattern. I had just told my hubby that when I saw what you typed.


yeah, hopefully it won't..... gotta love those smiley faces... :)
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1735. Story
Quoting AllBoardedUp:
Funny! My wife and kids left to go to Huntsville area. I had to stay behind shutdown the plant where I work. They got caught in all that traffic and her cell phone went dead and she did not have a charger. I went 32 hours without hearing from her. If I remember correctly we shared a cell phone. I wasn't going to leave the house until I heard from her. By that time it was too late to go north. Hey, Corpus was beautiful. I watched the sunset from Mustang Island, ate at Joe's Crabshack and stayed in an air conditioned hotel.

My wife and kids(5 and 1 at the time) lived on water and snack food and had no AC and power while staying on the Trinity River. Miserable


Ahhh the things memories are made of! LOL
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1734. Patrap
If one cant see this.

They need a serious browser upgrade.

00z Early Cycle NHC model tracks
Invest96
Statistical/Simple Models (CLIPER,BAMs,LBAR,other Statistical Models)






Dynamic Models (More sophisticated models)





Early Model Wind Forecasts
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Evening guys, saw that the NHC put 96L at 80% and RECON is investigating it. Any confirmation that TD2 has formed? Or RECON hasn't reached the COC.
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@ 1007 mb 24N 94 W it's already a depression. 1006 mb's is usually threshold for a tropical storm. Let the games begin!! Watches & warnings. The cone of stupidity should be a large one****
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Quoting BahaHurican:
And then we start seeing 'em work their way around the FL peninsula and up the east coast.... By November we'll have had a TC hit every state in the ATL basin!!!!

BwaHaHaHaHaaaaaaa...........


Wouldn't that be a disaster...and a huge mess!
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Quoting bappit:

Drama?

"Therefore give out you are of Epidamnum lest your goods be confiscate."
Not The Comedy of Errors!!!! Holy cripes! The blog's literary!!!
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Quoting Baltimorebirds:
I like you to.Your not a bad person.


Thank you.....
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Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
verdes are coming


Long-range GFS is revealing a pattern very conducive for an early Cape Verde storm.
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1726. bakers
96L sure is lacking convection. degeneraion is occuring.
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1724. bappit
Quoting Patrap:
Food for thought for the NHC "B" team


Tropical Storm Hermine 1998






95L


Hey, Patrap ... sure you didn't get the pictures reversed?
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Once again, the warm open waters trump the other factors in development of this system. We saw the same thing during the 2005 season.
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1722. JLPR2
Convection is way stronger over the Yucatan than over 96L itself XD

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1721. Story
Quoting gator23:

Its my Florida centric view. We have no choice but to go inland.


I hear that... We have family in Deland... we are always watching..
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Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:

I think you're brain glitching. In case you want to learn a little about him:

Q & A for NHC - John Cangialosi

Hmmm, I *think* I met him at the Miami boat show last Feb.
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Quoting TexasHurricane:


Glad someone here does... :)


Awe. SmileyCentral.com

Lol. Hopefully it won't follow that pattern. I had just told my hubby that when I saw what you typed.
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1718. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
verdes are coming
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 171 Comments: 53841
Quoting Story:


LOL! I would have stayed myself, but the family was yelling at me to leave (I live in a mobile home)... I was watching the postings here and closely monitoring the NHC and telling them it was going to shift... so why run...

Well, I left with my kids and the blasted cane followed the Texas coast right behind me. I went to Ark to a girlfriend's house, and here came Rita. We were flooded in for days..

and my family called me and asked me why I didn't come back... seems the evac notice was lifted 10 hours after I left...
Funny! My wife and kids left to go to Huntsville area. I had to stay behind shutdown the plant where I work. They got caught in all that traffic and her cell phone went dead and she did not have a charger. I went 32 hours without hearing from her. If I remember correctly we shared a cell phone. I wasn't going to leave the house until I heard from her. By that time it was too late to go north. Hey, Corpus was beautiful. I watched the sunset from Mustang Island, ate at Joe's Crabshack and stayed in an air conditioned hotel.

My wife and kids(5 and 1 at the time) lived on water and snack food and had no AC and power while staying on the Trinity River. Miserable
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Howdy, blog. After having read the comments on this page I assume that 96L is not worth much today? Not one comment was in reference to it except for the models that Pat posted which were empty. lol
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1715. bappit
Quoting IKE:


I'll talk about it if I want to...

95L was a darn interesting system. Lot of opportunities to learn things from it.
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Quoting IKE:


Crown Royal is good stuff....smooth booze.



Got enough to go around. Heck if I run out the liquor store is only 6 miles away!


If you cant, I have one close too.
THANKS
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Quoting gator23:

you gulf centric folk dont realize that the east coast gets hit too...


Sorry Gator... I know the east coast gets hit too!
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Quoting txsweetpea:
Does anyone have the current coordinates of 96L? Thanks in advance!
00 GMT 07/8/10 23.5N 93.8W 30 1005 Invest
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1711. Levi32
Quoting txsweetpea:
Does anyone have the current coordinates of 96L? Thanks in advance!


23.5N, 93.8W, as of 0z.
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1710. gator23
Quoting Story:


Gator: sometimes going inland is just as bad... a lot of people in these parts should have better plans than just evac to San Antonio. It gets flooded in just as bad...

Its my Florida centric view. We have no choice but to go inland.
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1708. bappit
Quoting BahaHurican:
With u on this one... he has a fine sense of drama, and possibly even a fine sense of humor... doesn't seem to take himself too seriously...

Drama?

"Therefore give out you are of Epidamnum lest your goods be confiscate."
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Does anyone have the current coordinates of 96L? Thanks in advance!
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Quoting homelesswanderer:


I knew I liked you. Lol


Glad someone here does... :)
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1705. Levi32
Quoting bappit:


Durn it, forgot to ask why. Sooooo:

And why?


Avila would be my preference of the two, because he doesn't seem to take himself too seriously and really appears to love his job. His forecast discussions usually have some great stuff in them.

Stewart because he has guts, and often brings up excellent points in discussions as well.
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1704. Story
Quoting gator23:

you should have gone inland.


Gator: sometimes going inland is just as bad... a lot of people in these parts should have better plans than just evac to San Antonio. It gets flooded in just as bad...
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Quoting TexasHurricane:


lol...I was actually thinking that the other day..


I knew I liked you. Lol
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Quoting nrtiwlnvragn:


Marine Weather Discussion also has a lot of good info.
I like to go over to OPC (Ocean Prediction Center) also for their surface forecast maps that cover the NATL... especially after mid-August they are very useful in showing the "bigger picture" of steering fronts and baroclinic lows that may impact tropical development / steering....
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Quoting sebastianflorida:
That is not what he said, he said opinions on here were mostly entertainment. I agree that a lot are, including mine. Some on here, they know who they are, are knowlegeable, but most just need to pay attention to those folks and post just once in awhile so we know people are on this blog.
I Agree
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1699. IKE
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
1698. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
Quoting RufusBaker:
So does this mean that everything will go towards texas this year?
mayhab it will mayhab it won't
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 171 Comments: 53841
The GFDL has it doing a loop!!!
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Seems a storm forming this close to shore puts the NHC in a tough spot, as they were going to have advanced warnings this year.
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Quoting gator23:

you gulf centric folk dont realize that the east coast gets hit too...


I realize that.......
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Quoting CybrTeddy:
96L has good structure. Reminds me of Erin 2007.




Same here,visible imagery almost done for the day.

Click me to see what I mean!
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1691. Drakoen
Quoting nrtiwlnvragn:


Avila or Pasch


Agree
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1690. bappit
Quoting Levi32:


Avila or Stewart.


Durn it, forgot to ask why. Sooooo:

And why?
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1689. Patrap
Having met Avila here last November at the Cuban US Hurricane Day Conference in NOLA.,

He is a funny guy and one who knows his stuff.

Quikscat failed the day before and I was lucky enough to have a cool conversation with Him over that.

My Nov 29th 2009 wunderblog on the US Cuban Hurricane Conference
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Quoting PtownBryan:


Don't you know Rufus? It starts with Mexico and Alex. Between Brownsville and Corpus for Bonnie. Between Corpus and Houston for Colin and so on...everyone gets a turn in the gulf lol j/k!!

SmileyCentral.com
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Quick question about rainfall projections for Houston area. Since Friday, I have driven home twice in flooding rains and wanted to know where to find the projection maps. Im figuring the further south, the better off Houston maybe.
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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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