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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236. MahFL
Quoting TampaSpin:


IMO....visible Satellite does not support the above about 96L..Sorry! Just my opinion! The CoC is wrapping now just off Shore of the Yucatan 21.2N 90.4W


I agree.
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LLC forming around 22.5n,91w?
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Quoting mrsalagranny:
Good morning Storm.And good morning blog friends.I know this off topic,but I really need those of you who beleive in prayer to please pray for my mother.She got some really bad news yesterday from her doctor.I really appreciate it everyone.Please forgive me for going off topic.

will do...lifting them up.
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Sorry for your sad news mrsalagranny...you and your Mom will be in my prayers... I wish you well
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Got you covered mrsalagranny.
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Clap on (clap clap)

Link


you are now ready for launch
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Quoting mrsalagranny:
Good morning Storm.And good morning blog friends.I know this off topic,but I really need those of you who beleive in prayer to please pray for my mother.She got some really bad news yesterday from her doctor.I really appreciate it everyone.Please forgive me for going off topic.


Sorry to hear about your mothers news...prayers are going up at this moment.
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Quoting aspectre:
How is crude getting into LakePontchartrain? Storm waves upon high tide overtopping the coast? Or leaving Rigolets/etc open for boat traffic instead of blocking the passages?

Word is that what they have actually found in Lake P is a little sheen and tar balls (that probably passing under the barricading).

Tough to imagine any big reason to leave major channels open. Almost completely pleasure craft going through there. No industry/commercial reason to leave the Rigolets open. There is no major port of any kind in the lake...

(And a secret not published yet: Tarballs found west of the I-10 bridge)
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Station 42055
NDBC
Location: 22.017N 94.046W
Conditions as of:
Wed, 07 Jul 2010 12:50:00 UTC
Winds: WNW (300°) at 3.9 kt gusting to 3.9 kt
Significant Wave Height: 2.0 ft
Dominant Wave Period: 6 sec
Mean Wave Direction: ENE (61°)
Atmospheric Pressure: 29.75 in and rising
Air Temperature: 81.5 F
Dew Point: 77.2 F
Water Temperature: 82.4 F

http://www.ndbc.noaa.gov/station_page.php?station=42055
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Quoting beeleeva:
Thanks Storm,,,more rain for Houston..


Look at radar - lots more rain for Houston. Going to have to watch it closely so I don't get stranded downtown if it starts flooding.
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Got
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Quoting NttyGrtty:
Yep and surprisingly less damage than Erin, at least along the coast
I will say this. Erin was a potent storm considering it had such a short time over water to regenerate, and its proximity to land.
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Quoting sebastianflorida:
Aimed at your house, taking off the roof, blowing out the windows, and you digging out of your attic to get on your roof, because the water is rising rapidly in your house; when you finally get on your roof at 2 A.M., sometime in August, you wait for hours for rescue, and finally 12 hours later the copter plucks you off, but oh no, you are dropped, and swept away a bit, until you see a mattress floating by, which you end up on. You finally make it to dry ground. That should be the fate of people wishing for disasters like hurricanes, because, although most in hurricanes do not end up in such horrific situations, some do, and some die. Think before you wish for something that could put people in harms way, because for the most, this is what happened to my friend.


My feelings about hurricanes--and tornadoes, and earthquakes, and volcanic eruptions, and tsunamis, etc.--is similar to how I feel about major crashes at, say, the Indy 500*: I'd rather they not take place at all, but since they are a natural byproduct of the way things are set up, and since they are therefore going to occur no matter how much we may wish it were otherwise, I want to at least be there to see it happen. And judging from the amount of enthusiasm--and, for some, obvious salivating--that appears on this blog anytime something big is building in the tropics, I'm not alone in my thinking. :-)

(BTW: Among others, I was in David in '79, Andrew in '92, Charley and Ivan in '04, and both Katrina and Wilma in '05, so I'm not talking completely out of one of my non-mouth orofices.)

* - Yes, I'm aware I'm comparing natural phenomena with a manmade activity. But I think the comparison holds true anyway.
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Quoting mrsalagranny:
Good morning Storm.And good morning blog friends.I know this off topic,but I really need those of you who beleive in prayer to please pray for my mother.She got some really bad news yesterday from her doctor.I really appreciate it everyone.Please forgive me for going off topic.


Hi granny. I am sorry to hear about your mother.I will certainly pray for her.
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Thank you Storm.You are a true GENTLEMAN.
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Quoting PensacolaDoug:


Opal came in at Navarre. 60 or 70 miles west of PC Beach.
Yep and surprisingly less damage than Erin, at least along the coast
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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.
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So sorry alagranny, best wishes for your Mom.
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Quoting mrsalagranny:
Good morning Storm.And good morning blog friends.I know this off topic,but I really need those of you who beleive in prayer to please pray for my mother.She got some really bad news yesterday from her doctor.I really appreciate it everyone.Please forgive me for going off topic.


Will do. God bless.
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Quoting PensacolaDoug:


Ft Walton and Destin got pounded the worst in Opal.


I am pretty sure, but I could be wrong... BF has forbidden any mention of the word Hurricane...and Destin :)
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Quoting PensacolaDoug:


I was 15 when Eloise came thru. My neighborhood didn't suffer the surge like we did in IVAN. What I remember from Eloise is mostly trees blown over and lots of busted limbs. I didnt have a car then so I wasn't able to get out and do much surveying.But what I saw for damage was mostly superficial.
That is what I read. Tremendous tree damage. They also mentioned that the wind would slow to moderate tropical storm force and then gust to over 150 mph. Causing the trees to sway back and forth in such a way as to destroy them completely. It was referred to as (vacillation).
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My point was that this woman and many here in this area are making judgments on evacuation based on thinking Opal was a direct hit and a Cat 5. I shudder to think what will happen if they use this to actually make the decision to leave or stay.
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Good morning Storm.And good morning blog friends.I know this off topic,but I really need those of you who beleive in prayer to please pray for my mother.She got some really bad news yesterday from her doctor.I really appreciate it everyone.Please forgive me for going off topic.
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Quoting hurricanehanna:

If I remember right, Opal did quite a bit of damage to the infrastructure at Navarre. Being a barrier island, it took the brundt.


Ft Walton and Destin got pounded also in Opal.
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Quoting PensacolaDoug:


Opal came in at Navarre. 60 or 70 miles west of PC Beach.

If I remember right, Opal did quite a bit of damage to the infrastructure at Navarre. Being a barrier island, it took the brundt.
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AOI
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Quoting Bigguy675:
In September 1979, my wife and I were about 3 months married when Hurricane David came through Jupiter, FL up through where I lived at the time (Port St. Lucie, FL). I thought it was so cool with all the wind and stuff. We didn't lose power and cable tv stayed online. After experiencing Hurricanes Frances and Jeanne, I never ever ever ever want to go through another one.
I went through David and Jeanne. Jeanne was much worse than David.
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Animated GOES-12 Channels
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 428 Comments: 129903
Quoting Kristina40:
I had a conversation with one of my customers yesterday about preparing/evacuating for a storm. She insists that "her house has been here for 60 years and there is no need to leave" even for a cat3 or 4. I pointed out there hasn't been a direct hit here in Panama City in decades. She then inisted that Opal was a direct hit...Which it was not. I thought it was a PCola hit and it was. It is sad that even people that should know better, don't.


Opal came in at Navarre. 60 or 70 miles west of PC Beach.
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Quoting SAINTHURRIFAN:
but doug as far as winds and surge combined try 190 sustained camille, or 35 ft surge of water near waveland katrina. contrary to belief it seems our little coastline gets all the record breakers lol have a blessed day.
Pass Christian had 24 and a half feet of storm surge. That along with 190 mph winds, sounds like those people there had a crazy night.
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Atlantic Low Cloud Product
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Quoting portcharlotte:
Here is Crown Wx's Tropical Discussion


Invest 96-L: Invest 96-L is looking quite pathetic this morning as it lacks persistent deep convection, although some new thunderstorm activity has begun to develop on the western side of this system over the past hour or two. Invest 96-L is a broad low pressure system that is located near the northwestern coast of the Yucatan Peninsula. The reason for the lack of deep convection near the center of the storm is that the low-level circulation and the mid-level circulation have split. The low-level circulation is tracking towards the central Texas coast, while that mid-level circulation is tracking towards northeast Mexico. This decoupling will make for a tough road for this system to really develop. It is possible that the mid-level center could develop further and lead to a new low level center developing and then going further and developing into a tropical cyclone. However, the combination of cooler, upwelled ocean waters from Alex and dry air, it seems less likely this morning that this system will develop into a tropical depression or a tropical storm.

With that said, the upper Texas coast, especially the Houston-Galveston area will have some very stormy weather today with widespread thunderstorms, heavy rainfall of around 2 inches expected and gusty winds. That mid-level center is forecast to track onshore in northeast Mexico during Thursday afternoon. It is still possible that this system could spin up into a tropical depression/tropical storm today into Thursday morning, especially as it nears the coast and takes advantage of the shape of the coastline and this is something that will be monitored closely.

Non-Tropical Low Pressure System Located 250 Miles West-Northwest Of Bermuda: I’m watching with some interest a non-tropical area of low pressure that is located about 250 miles west-northwest of Bermuda or near 35 North Latitude, 69 West Longitude. This is a very large system and is producing some convection near the center. It appears that this low pressure system will track southwestward today through Thursday and will be located just off of the coast of North Carolina late Thursday. After that, a frontal system will sweep this low pressure system out into the open Atlantic by this weekend. While this system will be watched very closely over the next few days, I do not think it will have enough time to transition into a tropical storm.

Trouble Brewing In The Long Range Model Guidance: The long range guidance like the GFS model and the European model are strongly hinting at tropical development in the eastern Atlantic by around July 17th to July 19th and this has the potential to be our first Cape Verde long track storm. The very long range GFS model (goes out 2 weeks) forecasts this particular system to be on the doorstep of the Lesser Antilles and Barbados around July 22nd. It should also be noted that the GFS model also is hinting at something trying to get going just north of Puerto Rico around July 17th.

I bring this up because it is not out of the question and I would not be at all surprised to have our first Cape Verde long tracked storm around Mid-July. The ensemble guidance is also strongly hinting at this with the ensemble members showing low pressure east of the Lesser Antilles around mid-July. Also teleconnections favor this type of an event. So, obviously this is something to keep an eye out for over the next week or two


IMO....visible Satellite does not support the above about 96L..Sorry! Just my opinion! The CoC is wrapping now just off Shore of the Yucatan 21.2N 90.4W
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ok.. so the junk off the SE Texas coast is the part of 96 that sped off? Is this the part the models were originally picking up when they had 96 coming to Galveston?

If so.. the models have been doing good, in my opinion.
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In September 1979, my wife and I were about 3 months married when Hurricane David came through Jupiter, FL up through where I lived at the time (Port St. Lucie, FL). I thought it was so cool with all the wind and stuff. We didn't lose power and cable tv stayed online. After experiencing Hurricanes Frances and Jeanne, I never ever ever ever want to go through another one.
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What heat? We got 3.3" of rain from "Alex" last week, and 1.4" from "96L" so far this week (or 95, or both??!!) Our heat wave peaked just before that. I don't wish any storms on anyone naturally, but a southeast texas drought is a misnomer, that's for sure. Anyone have any thoughts on the spin around 13N 43W???
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Quoting SAINTHURRIFAN:
but doug as far as winds and surge combined try 190 sustained camille, or 35 ft surge of water near waveland katrina. contrary to belief it seems our little coastline gets all the record breakers lol have a blessed day.



LOL! I have seen all I wish to see of landfalling 'canes. Like I said in the earlier post. I'm cured!
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Quoting SAINTHURRIFAN:
but doug as far as winds and surge combined try 190 sustained camille, or 35 ft surge of water near waveland katrina. contrary to belief it seems our little coastline gets all the record breakers lol have a blessed day.


Camille surge Height was 24 Ft..in Biloxi.


Waveland was on the West side of the Eyewall with offshore winds..
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There is nothing wrong with having a desire to see a cane, but just remember to have your kit ready. Obviously if you are in a flood zone and a big surge comes you must evacuate, but if you have shutters or plywood...going through a cat 1 or 2 is not too bad if you are prepared.
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but doug as far as winds and surge combined try 190 sustained camille, or 35 ft surge of water near waveland katrina. contrary to belief it seems our little coastline gets all the record breakers lol have a blessed day.
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Thank-you, Dr. Rob!

I was a little surprised to find my neck of the woods (NW VT) being part of the main Tropical blog post until I read that heat wave deaths are "more than all of the deaths due to lightning, flooding, tornadoes, hurricanes, and earthquakes."

Since many of us don't have air conditioning, this is our difficulty, much as folks in the south struggle when it snows, not having snowplows. To tell you the truth, I'd rather have minus-20 temps than plus-95! You can always add layers, but you can only take off layers just so far!

Those of you in the south who have managed at times without AC might want to tell your friends to the north some of your coping tips. Moreover, if you know someone up here who may not truly realise the dangers of working hard out in the heat, please give them a call.

I work at the local pubic Library and it's incredible how many people come through and comment that they were "out in the garden for three hours" in the middle of the day, while it's 93 degrees out! Easy to say "DUH!" but they just aren't experienced in what could go wrong. Or, as my husband likes to say it, "They're too young to know all that could happen."

Thanks! Take care, everybody!
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96L - no noise upstairs .... but [ "I've got a bad feeling about this drop." ]





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morn' hh..



Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 428 Comments: 129903
Quoting hydrus:
You went through Eloise? I would like to hear your experience on that. Eloise was a weird and powerful storm.


I was 15 when Eloise came thru. My neighborhood didn't suffer the surge like we did in IVAN. What I remember from Eloise is mostly trees blown over and lots of busted limbs. I didnt have a car then so I wasn't able to get out and do much surveying.But what I saw for damage was mostly superficial.
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Quoting Patrap:

and here comes round....20? Mornin' Pat.
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your right doug ms/al line right at land fall 135mph winds ivan 120. have a condo on orange beach, folks form thier and toward fort morgan still say freddy is the king. i know mobile and east ms do as far as winds go lol
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I had a conversation with one of my customers yesterday about preparing/evacuating for a storm. She insists that "her house has been here for 60 years and there is no need to leave" even for a cat3 or 4. I pointed out there hasn't been a direct hit here in Panama City in decades. She then inisted that Opal was a direct hit...Which it was not. I thought it was a PCola hit and it was. It is sad that even people that should know better, don't.
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Here is Crown Wx's Tropical Discussion


Invest 96-L: Invest 96-L is looking quite pathetic this morning as it lacks persistent deep convection, although some new thunderstorm activity has begun to develop on the western side of this system over the past hour or two. Invest 96-L is a broad low pressure system that is located near the northwestern coast of the Yucatan Peninsula. The reason for the lack of deep convection near the center of the storm is that the low-level circulation and the mid-level circulation have split. The low-level circulation is tracking towards the central Texas coast, while that mid-level circulation is tracking towards northeast Mexico. This decoupling will make for a tough road for this system to really develop. It is possible that the mid-level center could develop further and lead to a new low level center developing and then going further and developing into a tropical cyclone. However, the combination of cooler, upwelled ocean waters from Alex and dry air, it seems less likely this morning that this system will develop into a tropical depression or a tropical storm.

With that said, the upper Texas coast, especially the Houston-Galveston area will have some very stormy weather today with widespread thunderstorms, heavy rainfall of around 2 inches expected and gusty winds. That mid-level center is forecast to track onshore in northeast Mexico during Thursday afternoon. It is still possible that this system could spin up into a tropical depression/tropical storm today into Thursday morning, especially as it nears the coast and takes advantage of the shape of the coastline and this is something that will be monitored closely.

Non-Tropical Low Pressure System Located 250 Miles West-Northwest Of Bermuda: I’m watching with some interest a non-tropical area of low pressure that is located about 250 miles west-northwest of Bermuda or near 35 North Latitude, 69 West Longitude. This is a very large system and is producing some convection near the center. It appears that this low pressure system will track southwestward today through Thursday and will be located just off of the coast of North Carolina late Thursday. After that, a frontal system will sweep this low pressure system out into the open Atlantic by this weekend. While this system will be watched very closely over the next few days, I do not think it will have enough time to transition into a tropical storm.

Trouble Brewing In The Long Range Model Guidance: The long range guidance like the GFS model and the European model are strongly hinting at tropical development in the eastern Atlantic by around July 17th to July 19th and this has the potential to be our first Cape Verde long track storm. The very long range GFS model (goes out 2 weeks) forecasts this particular system to be on the doorstep of the Lesser Antilles and Barbados around July 22nd. It should also be noted that the GFS model also is hinting at something trying to get going just north of Puerto Rico around July 17th.

I bring this up because it is not out of the question and I would not be at all surprised to have our first Cape Verde long tracked storm around Mid-July. The ensemble guidance is also strongly hinting at this with the ensemble members showing low pressure east of the Lesser Antilles around mid-July. Also teleconnections favor this type of an event. So, obviously this is something to keep an eye out for over the next week or two
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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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