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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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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1686. gator23
Quoting TexasHurricane:


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

you gulf centric folk dont realize that the east coast gets hit too...
Member Since: August 26, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 2182
Quoting Patrap:
Food for thought for the NHC "B" team


Tropical Storm Hermine 1998






95L



you are looking at just a pic and you fail to realize that Hermine originated from a tropical wave, not from a frontal boundary; location may be similar but their development was very different
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Quoting gator23:

you should have gone inland.
I had to leave at the last minute because of issues beyond my control. Decided to go west of the storm instead of the same direction of the storm. It had already began making the turn north when I left for CC.
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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!!
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...........
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Quoting bappit:
Just an idle thought ... who would you want to be paired up with during your rookie season?


Easy that would be that would be Sabrina Fein!
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1681. IKE
Quoting Hurricanes101:


95L is gone, seriously how many times we going to beat a dead horse?


I'll talk about it if I want to...
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1680. Story
Quoting AllBoardedUp:
Post#1593 Hey Story, the funny thing is I evacuated TO Corpus Christi from Galveston during Rita!


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...
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1679. IKE
Quoting TxMarc71:


Make it a Crown and 7.. or Crown and Coke and were in business!!


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

Quoting JBirdFireMedic:


Well I am not 1607, but if your serving...


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


Seriously?? There are more credentials on here than you can shake a stick at. Not to mention several future mets currently in school. You view tropical weather as entertainment?? Wow.
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.
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Quoting IKE:


They screwed up not sending a recon into 95L. They screwed up again today by canceling the recon.

I saw Crown Weather's take on 95L. He/she...not sure if it's a man or woman...thought it was a TD.


95L is gone, seriously how many times we going to beat a dead horse?
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Quoting bappit:
Just an idle thought ... who would you want to be paired up with during your rookie season?


Avila or Pasch
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We have been lucky with these storms this year...they just need to stay away from the relief well until it is done. Once that oil flow is stopped then cleanup will be more effective. We cant afford delays in the relief well drilling.
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Quoting TexasHurricane:


Hi Homeless...lol...


Lol. SmileyCentral.com
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1672. IKE
Quoting Patrap:
Food for thought for the NHC "B" team


Tropical Storm Hermine 1998






95L



They screwed up not sending a recon into 95L. They screwed up again today by canceling the recon.

I saw Crown Weather's take on 95L. He/she...not sure if it's a man or woman...thought it was a TD.
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Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
Avila! He's my favorite out of the entire NHC team.
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...
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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!!


lol...I was actually thinking that the other day..
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Quoting BahaHurican:
Yah, it was the Italian name that threw me off.... lol...

But if pple would read more than the TWO, and would look at the TWD every six hours, they would

1) get more detailed info about the state of the atmosphere or at least confirmation that the "experts" are thinking along similar lines as we amateurs have been thinking

2) would know the names of the pple who work in and out of NHC, since TAFB is not as separate as it seems. IOW, a lot of pple who write TWOs are also writing TWDs....



Marine Weather Discussion also has a lot of good info.
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1668. gator23
Quoting AllBoardedUp:
Post#1593 Hey Story, the funny thing is I evacuated TO Corpus Christi from Galveston during Rita!

you should have gone inland.
Member Since: August 26, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 2182
Quoting IKE:
1607....If you're old enough I've got a 7 and 7 here waiting on you.


Well I am not 1607, but if your serving...
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Quoting IKE:
1607....If you're old enough I've got a 7 and 7 here waiting on you.


Make it a Crown and 7.. or Crown and Coke and were in business!!
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1665. Levi32
Quoting bappit:
Just an idle thought ... who would you want to be paired up with during your rookie season?


Avila or Stewart.
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1664. Patrap
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
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 128866
Quoting RufusBaker:
So does this mean that everything will go towards texas this year?


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!!
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Quoting nrtiwlnvragn:


Michelle Mainelli, she is now at NCEP. TAFB forecasters almost always write the TWD.
Yah, it was the Italian name that threw me off.... lol...

But if pple would read more than the TWO, and would look at the TWD every six hours, they would

1) get more detailed info about the state of the atmosphere or at least confirmation that the "experts" are thinking along similar lines as we amateurs have been thinking

2) would know the names of the pple who work in and out of NHC, since TAFB is not as separate as it seems. IOW, a lot of pple who write TWOs are also writing TWDs....

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Quoting Levi32:
".....ELSEWHERE...TROPICAL CYCLONE FORMATION IS NOT EXPECTED DURING THE
NEXT 48 HOURS.

$$
FORECASTER STEWART/CANGIALOSI
both of them been around for a few years, Stewart longer though from what I can recall.
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1659. Patrap
Food for thought for the NHC "B" team


Tropical Storm Hermine 1998






95L

Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 128866
Quoting homelesswanderer:


RUFUS!! Stop that! SmileyCentral.com


Hi Homeless...lol...
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Was wondering after reading post 1621 (Erin)
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Quoting bohonkweatherman:
You can't get anything past MiamiHurricanes09
Lol, at least not easily.
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1655. gator23
Quoting RufusBaker:
So does this mean that everything will go towards texas this year?

not at all.
Member Since: August 26, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 2182
Quoting 1647. sebastianflorida 12:44 AM GMT on July 08, 2010

ok and why would you say that? Give us a reason
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Quoting bappit:
Just an idle thought ... who would you want to be paired up with during your rookie season?
Avila! He's my favorite out of the entire NHC team.
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Quoting earthlydragonfly:


Oh.... I had to post it??? Dang it..

LOL
You can't get anything past MiamiHurricanes09
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1649. gator23
Yikes the Mexicans in that area don't need this.
Member Since: August 26, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 2182
Quoting RufusBaker:
So does this mean that everything will go towards texas this year?


RUFUS!! Stop that! SmileyCentral.com
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Quoting HurricaneSwirl:


He was also one of the forecasters that put up the four circles

Link

Even more evidence of how they are the least conservative team (Stewart/Cangialosi)
I think next advisory 96L will probably go down to yellow w/ 0 percent.
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Quoting RufusBaker:
So does this mean that everything will go towards texas this year?


South Texas or Mexico..... :) I have absolutely no idea.....
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Post#1593 Hey Story, the funny thing is I evacuated TO Corpus Christi from Galveston during Rita!
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1643. bappit
Just an idle thought ... who would you want to be paired up with during your rookie season?
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Quoting StormW:
From 18Z

img src="Photobucket" alt="" />

img src="Photobucket" alt="" />

img src="Photobucket" alt="" />


so landfall this time tomorrow night?

unless it goes further north
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Quoting IKE:


That's ridiculous if a TWO is based on who is on shift. I'm not saying it is or isn't but it's wrong if that's how they operate.


IDK, it could just be a couple coincidences, but I do believe that each team has their slight biases.
Member Since: July 7, 2008 Posts: 2 Comments: 3237
So does this mean that everything will go towards texas this year?
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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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