Over 15,000 likely dead in Russian heat wave; Asian monsoon floods kill hundreds more

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 3:13 PM GMT on August 09, 2010

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The Great Russian Heat Wave of 2010 brought temperatures of 37°C (99°F) to Moscow today, and smog and smoke from wildfires blanketed the city for a sixth straight day. Air pollution levels were 2 - 3 times the maximum safe level today, and peaked on Saturday, when when carbon monoxide hit 6.5 times the safe level. The death toll from heat and air pollution increased to approximately 330 people per day in Moscow in recent days, according to the head of the Moscow health department. Yevgenia Smirnova, an official from the Moscow registry office, said excess deaths in Moscow in July averaged 155 per day, compared to 2009. The heat wave began on June 27. These grim statistics suggest that in Moscow alone, the Great Russian Heat Wave of 2010 has likely killed at least 7,000 people so far. A plot of the departure of July 2010 temperatures from average (Figure 1) shows that the area of Russia experiencing incredible heat is vast, and that regions southeast of Moscow have the hottest, relative to average. Moscow is the largest city in Russia, with a population just over ten million, but there are several other major cities in the heat wave region. These include Saint Petersburg, Russia's 2nd most populous city (4.6 million), and Nizhny Novgorod, Russia's 5th most populous city (1.3 million people.) Thus, the Russian population affected by extreme heat is at least double the population of Moscow, and the death toll in Russia from the 2010 heat wave is probably at least 15,000, and may be much higher. The only comparable heat wave in European history occurred in 2003, and killed an estimated 40,000 - 50,000 people, mostly in France and Italy. While the temperatures in that heat wave were not as extreme as the Russian heat wave, the nighttime low temperatures in the 2003 heat wave were considerably higher. This tends to add to heat stress and causes a higher death toll. I expect that by the time the Great Russian Heat Wave of 2010 is over, it may rival the 2003 European heat wave as the deadliest heat wave in world history.


Figure 1. A comparison of August temperatures, the peak of the great European heat wave of 2003 (left) with July temperatures from the Great Russian Heat Wave of 2010 (right) reveals that this year's heat wave is more intense and covers a wider area of Europe. Image credit: NOAA/ESRL.

Worst Russian heat wave in 1,000 years of history
The temperature at Moscow's Domodedovo Airport hit 99°F (37°C) today. Prior to this year, the hottest temperature in Moscow's history was 37.2°C (99°F), set in August 1920. The Moscow Observatory has now matched or exceeded this 1920 all-time record five times in the past two weeks. Temperatures the past 27 days in a row have exceeded 30°C in Moscow. Alexander Frolov, head of Russia's weather service, said in a statement today, "Our ancestors haven't observed or registered a heat like that within 1,000 years. This phenomenon is absolutely unique." There is some slight relief in sight--the latest forecast for Moscow calls for high temperatures of 31 - 33°C (88 - 91 °F) Wednesday though Sunday.

Belarus records its hottest temperature in history for the second day in a row
The Russian heat wave has also affected the neighboring nations of Ukraine and Belarus. All three nations have recorded their hottest temperatures in history over the past few weeks. Belarus, on the western border of Russia, recorded its hottest temperature in history on Saturday, August 7, when the mercury hit 38.9°C (102°F) in Gomel. This broke the all-time record for extreme heat set just one day before, the 38.7°C (101.7°F) recorded in Gorky. Prior to 2010, the hottest temperature ever recorded in Belarus was the 38.0°C (100.4°F) in Vasiliyevichy on Aug. 20, 1946. As I described in detail in Saturday's post, Belarus' new all-time extreme heat record gives the year 2010 the most national extreme heat records for a single year--seventeen. These nations comprise 19% of the total land area of Earth. This is the largest area of Earth's surface to experience all-time record high temperatures in any single year in the historical record. Looking back at the past decade, which was the hottest decade in the historical record, Seventy-five countries set extreme hottest temperature records (33% of all countries.) For comparison, fifteen countries set extreme coldest temperature records over the past ten years (6% of all countries). Earth has now seen four consecutive months with its warmest temperature on record, and the first half of 2010 was the warmest such 6-month period in the planet's history. It is not a surprise that many all-time extreme heat records are being shattered when the planet as a whole is so warm. Global warming "loads the dice" to favor extreme heat events unprecedented in recorded history.

July SSTs in the tropical Atlantic set a new record
Sea Surface Temperatures (SSTs) in the Atlantic's Main Development Region for hurricanes had their warmest July on record, according to an analysis I did of historical SST data from the UK Hadley Center. SST data goes back to 1850, though there is much missing data before 1910 and during WWI and WWII. SSTs in the Main Development Region (10°N to 20°N and 20°W to 80°W) were 1.33°C above average during July, beating the previous record of 1.19°C set in July 2005. July 2010 was the sixth straight record warm month in the tropical Atlantic, and had the third warmest anomaly of any month in history. The five warmest months in history for the tropical Atlantic have all occurred this year. As I explained in detail in a post on record February SSTs in the Atlantic, the Arctic Oscillation (AO) and its close cousin, the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO), are largely to blame for the record SSTs, though global warming and Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO) also play a role.

The magnitude of the anomaly has increased slightly since June, because trade winds over the tropical Atlantic were at below-normal speeds during July. These lower trade wind speeds were due to the fact that the Bermuda-Azores High had below-normal surface pressures over the past month. The Bermuda-Azores High and its associated trade winds are forecast to remain at below-average strength during the next two weeks, according to the latest runs of the GFS model. This means that Atlantic SST anomalies will continue to stay at record warm levels during the remainder of August, and probably during September as well. This should significantly increase the odds of getting major hurricanes in the Atlantic during the peak part of hurricane season, mid-August through mid-October.


Figure 2. The departure of sea surface temperature (SST) from average for August 9, 2010. Image credit: NOAA/NESDIS.

94L
A area of disurbed weather (94L) over South Florida is generating disorganized heavy thunderstorms over Florida and the adjacent waters, but is not a threat to develop today due to high wind shear of 20 - 30 knots. The latest SHIPS model forecast predicts that wind shear will fall to the moderate range, 10 - 20 knots, tonight through Thursday. This relaxation in shear may allow 94L to begin to organize. However, 94L will not have much time over the Gulf of Mexico to become a tropical depression or tropical storm, as steering currents favor a westward or west-northwestward motion over the Gulf that would bring the storm ashore over the northern Gulf coast by Wednesday or Thursday. NHC is giving 94L a 20% chance of developing into a tropical depression by Wednesday morning. The Hurricane Hunters are on call to investigate 94L on Tuesday afternoon.

93L
A tropical wave (Invest 93) in the middle Atlantic Ocean is close to tropical depression status. The disturbance has a well-defined surface circulation, but only a limited amount of heavy thunderstorm activity, thanks to dry air and wind shear of 10 - 20 knots affecting it due to a large upper-level low pressure system to the west. Wind shear is expected to stay in the moderate range, 10 - 20 knots, over the next two days, which should allow 93L to become a tropical depression by Tuesday. NHC is giving a 70% chance 93L will become a tropical depression by Wednesday morning. Both the GFDL and HWRF models predict 93L will develop, and the GFDL predicts the storm will become a hurricane. A strong trough of low pressure moving across the central Atlantic should force 93L to turn northward on Wednesday, and 93L should only be a concern to shipping interests. None of the reliable computer models are forecasting tropical cyclone development in the Atlantic over the next seven days, other than for 93L.

A exceptionally slow-starting typhoon season
There is one bit of good weather news to report. Over in the Western Pacific, typhoon season has been remarkably quiet this year. Prior to yesterday's formation of Tropical Storm Dianmu, just three named storms had formed this year--Tropical Storm Omais, Typhoon Conson, and Typhoon Chanthu. The average for this point in the season is ten storms. Sunday's total of three named storms in the West Pacific tied 2010 with 1998, 1954, and 1975 as the slowest starting Western Pacific typhoon season on record, for the date August 8. Now that we have Tropical Storm Dianmu in the Western Pacific, 2010 ranks as the 4th slowest start to a typhoon season as of August 9. Reliable records of typhoon activity go back to 1951.


Figure 3. Heavy downpours triggered landslides and mud-rock flows in China's Gansu Province, early Sunday morning. Image credit: www.news.cn.

The deadly 2010 monsoon kills hundreds more in China, India, and Pakistan over the weekend
The Asian Southwest Monsoon has been exceptionally deadly this year. Northwest China's Gansu province was hard hit over the weekend with torrential monsoon rains, and the resulting flooding and landslides claimed at least 127 lives. At least 1300 people are missing in the disaster. Fresh monsoon rains in Pakistan over the weekend triggered landslides that killed sixty more people, in addition to the 1,500 - 1,600 people who died in monsoon floods that began in late July. At least 137 died in floods and landslides in the neighboring Indian state of Kashmir over the weekend, with 500 people missing. Monsoon flooding and landslides have also killed at least 65 people in Afghanistan in the past two weeks. Dave's Landslide blog has some great discussions of the flooding and destruction wrought by the terrible monsoon rains this year in Pakistan, India, Afghanistan, and China. I plan to write much more about this year's deadly monsoon on Tuesday.

Next post
I'll have an update Tuesday.

Jeff Masters

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August 8: Current 7-10 day forecast models see little if any tropical activity on the horizon.
Per FSU http://www.coaps.fsu.edu/~maue/tropical/

Heard a little piece on the radio today, tampa bay station, stating that FSU experts think that the season will be not nearly as active as all the other experts. So checked it out. Link above. This may be old news on the blog today, but they said it, so don't shoot the messenger.
Claim it would be extremely difficult to have that many storms in by the end of the season and that the cycle for severe storms is over.
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good line of thunderboomers moving SW across SE LA. Hope it makes it to the rest of the state - we need it
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UKMET takes 94L to 1005mb at 72hrs:



EURO has 94L making landfall in the same area at 1009mb.
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Quoting nola70119:


That banding to the east is what I am hearing on my roof in the form of rain......we just had a big line of thunderstorms move through as well......




thats old,its about td2 not 94l,for a second,it had me too,i was like,know way!!!
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Quoting Hurricanes101:


satellite observations disagree with you

the center was closed when it was classified, weakened a bit after that, but then re-intensified before landfall.

TD 2 was a borderline call, we have had several of those this season; 93L is another one that at this time is clearly not a classified system.

All in all the NHC has done a good job with the borderline systems this season


I *respectfully* disagree. I remember tracking TD2 that night, it opened up, in fact the satellite showed the circulation completely disrupted by dry air. In my opinion, it didn't weaken a bit, it weakened tremendously, then made a comeback before landfall.
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Back to Everglades City on 94l Miami radar is starting to look very interesting.
Member Since: August 18, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 3113
Hey Nea! No rebuttal to post number 4?
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TD2 was one of the worst forecasts made in recent memory... you classify the thing, then an hour later hardly anything remains of it. Not a TD because the clouds and thunderstorm activity was not persistent enough until literally an hour before landfall. Even then it was hardly "organized" does anybody remember the Dvorak numbers?
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Quoting clwstmchasr:
StormW,

Based on your recent analysis, I know you expect the tropics to ramp up in a week or so but do you believe that the aggressive numbers put out by CSU are still realistic?


Actually 5 days.....
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Quoting nola70119:


What are you trying to do confuse us?


You should've read the date! :P
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Quoting reedzone:


or 5 hours, but before then, it was an open wave.


satellite observations along with recon information at the time disagree with you

the center was closed when it was classified, weakened a bit after that, but then re-intensified before landfall.

TD 2 was a borderline call, we have had several of those this season; 93L is another one that at this time is clearly not a classified system.

All in all the NHC has done a good job with the borderline systems this season
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Quoting aspectre:
The Russian heatwave is being accompanied by drought in the nations bordering the BlackSea.
Since wheat is extremely fungible in the world trade market -- ie nobody cares whether they are buying Australian wheat, Canadian wheat, etc, or Russian wheat -- a near-doubling of wheat prices can be expected to cause high rises in bread, pasta, etc prices.
It will also lead to higher prices for food over all. Some wheats are used as feed for dairy, farm, and ranch animals. And when the availability of that feed wheat goes down and the prices increase, the prices of substitute feed grains also increase. Which leads to meat and milk price increases, including prices for farm-raised fish.
I've been wondering also if this extreme heat wave is likely to lead to a further shrinking of the Caspian and Aral Seas....
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Again people, it's an arguable matter, not gonna get any further on it.
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Awesome work, Storm! I know you must feel like you're casting your pearls before the swine here at times...but most of us very much appreciate the time, effort, research, and thought that goes into posts like your 616. Nicely done...
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Quoting Hurricanes101:


read again, that was the 1st advisory for TD 2 a month ago, has nothing to do with 94L


What are you trying to do confuse us?
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Quoting StormW:


That's all going to depend on the 200mb pattern. Have to see if the wind shear forecast remains the same, or if we see something a little more conducive.

Humberto was under a shearing pattern for a few days, and almost went poof. Then the upper pattern did a total 180, and we wound up with a CAT 1 Hurricane.


There you have it folks.....200mb pattern.
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Quoting StormW:
Okay...thoughts regarding the so called "slow" August start. Don't know how close I am to correct...Levi, your thoughts are welcomed on this.

1.) The Indian Monsoon plays a role in our Tropical activity (Cape Verde systems, and tropical wave strength). Looking at this graph of the Indian Summer Monsoon Index, it's been fluctuating. If you notice where it has peaked, I believe you'll find it matches pretty close to where we have seen an increase of activity this season. It has recently seen an upswing (as we can tell from headlines), and this is why we have seen better looking waves coming off the west coast of Africa, albeit hard to start, they've been looking better. Should this remain positive in the range it's in, we should have an increase in activity, soon. However, that will work hand in hand with the next item:



Here is some previous years data as well;
Indian Summer Monsoon Index

2.) MJO. You've heard most of us harp on the MJO and the forecast, etc. Yes, we are in an upward motion phase of the MJO...and I know a lot of you will say, "But StormW, you said when we got to the upward motion phase, activity would ramp up"? Well, it has slightly...however, we are not where we need to be yet. Yes, we have upward motion, but it's not in full swing. They haven't updated the real time Index yet, however, it is still within that inner circle, indicating a weak signal. If you look at the models forecast of the Index, you can count about how many days to go, before it comes back into either Octant 1 or 2. When it does, this will work with the Indian Monsoon, if that value is still positive, and you'll see more wave than you care for.









3.) Yes, we've had SAL outbreaks, another negative factor. However, they have become less intense and less frequent. Rainfall has increased over the past week over the Sahel in Africa. As we head into the negative phase of the NAO, dust should be a moot point.

4.) If you've noticed the current SST anomalies, they are still very, very warm. Now you might say, "Storm, if the SST's are so warm, why does it seem so dead. I'll answer that...because if you remember what Levi and I were posting about the Atlantic Tripole, well, it's kinda changed. Basically, the whole Atlantic is above normal. This has a tendency to distort the upward motion we spoke of earlier this season, meaning it snot as focused in the MDR right now, as it was earlier in the season. This leads to another and final item I'll touch on:



5.) I guess by now, most of you understand that the heat over the East and SE U.S. has been induced by a mega ridge, forever it seems. This is what Levi and I and Drak refer to as a 500mb positive height anomaly. Well, in about 2 weeks (I would gather), This positive height anomaly is forecast to shift pretty far NE, and usher in some cooler temperatures. As this happens, Mother Nature is going to see, and this process will also cause the upward motion in the MDR to be the main focal point in the Atlantic.

Yes, I said activity would BEGIN to pick up this week, however I also said, I wouldn't expect to see a ramp up of the Cape Verde activity until around mid month (about 14 August).

You can take this for what it's worth, but just pointing out data.


I think you nailed it Storm!
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Quoting reedzone:


and it all died an hour later.. when convection wanes and the circulation got distorted by dry air, they classified it, then an hour later, it dissipated. It's an arguable matter, I respectfully disagree with TD2 classification.
Same thing with 93L. If it would have been classified this morning, all the convection would have died an hour later. Keep in mind that 02L was classified at night time, it was a TD with a weak circulation, what else can you expect from a system during DMIN?
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Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
Here is a satellite image of 02L about 5 hours prior (image is from 14:31 UTC; it made landfall around 19:30 UTC) to landfall and honestly it looks a heck of a lot better than what 93L looks like right now.



or 5 hours, but before then, it was an open wave.
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680. IKE
Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
It has an anticyclone aloft. Upper level conditions should remain rather conducive at 10 knots of wind shear.


From Dr. Masters...."Wind shear is expected to stay in the moderate range, 10 - 20 knots, over the next two days, which should allow 93L to become a tropical depression by Tuesday."
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The Gulf is certainly warmer than I can recall seeing - Ever!!!
All you folks living down there keep a keen weather eye! That ligntning looked impressive about 1600 GMT - 11:00 am. I'm up just above Bogalusa and looking forward to some good thundershowers later in the day but I want it all to clear out until after Friday so I can see the Perseid's meteor shower. It's been growing in intensity over the past few days with quite a few fireballs this year. If you're out after 11 pm local time whereever look up for a few (30 should be an indicator of the night) minutes and it should be a shower to remember this year. Full report at www.spaceweather.com and www.heavens-above.com .
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Thank you all for the reply's Please email any stories you would like to FLDART1@YAHOO.COM Once again thank you all for sharing.
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Quoting Hurricanes101:
ZCZC MIATCDAT2 ALL
TTAA00 KNHC DDHHMM
TROPICAL DEPRESSION TWO DISCUSSION NUMBER 1
NWS TPC/NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL AL022010
1000 PM CDT WED JUL 07 2010

DATA FROM SATELLITES...NOAA RECONNAISSANCE AIRCRAFT...AND SURFACE
OBSERVATIONS INDICATE THE LARGE LOW PRESSURE SYSTEM OVER THE
WESTERN GULF OF MEXICO HAS ACQUIRED ENOUGH ORGANIZATION TO BE
CLASSIFIED AS A TROPICAL DEPRESSION.
ALTHOUGH INNER-CORE CONVECTION
HAS WANED OVER THE PAST FEW HOURS...OUTER CONVECTIVE BANDING TO THE
EAST OF THE CENTER HAS BEEN INCREASING. DROPSONDE DATA FROM TWO
NOAA AIRCRAFT ON A RESEARCH MISSION IN AND AROUND THE DEPRESSION
INDICATE SURFACE WINDS NEAR 30 KT IN THE EASTERN SEMICIRCLE...AND
THIS WAS USED AS THE INITIAL INTENSITY FOR THIS ADVISORY.


and it all died an hour later.. when convection wanes and the circulation got distorted by dry air, they classified it, then an hour later, it dissipated. It's an arguable matter, I respectfully disagree with TD2 classification.
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Quoting nola70119:


That banding to the east is what I am hearing on my roof in the form of rain......we just had a big line of thunderstorms move through as well......


read again, that was the 1st advisory for TD 2 a month ago, has nothing to do with 94L
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Thanks for sharing your knowledge, StormW! I'm still holding my breath for a quiet season here on the MS Gulf Coast.
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Quoting nola70119:


That banding to the east is what I am hearing on my roof in the form of rain......we just had a big line of thunderstorms move through as well......


That was a tid bit from TD 2, in July.
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Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
Here is a satellite image of 02L about 5 hours prior to landfall and honestly it looks a heck of a lot better than what 93L looks like right now.



agreed, I think some really do get offended when the NHC and others disagree with their opinions
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its seem there are many ULLs this year. They seem to pop up where a tropical storm is trying to form. It would not surprise me at all, if the earth had an immune system and the ULLs were the red blood cells.
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Storm,thanks for the earlier analysis,breaks it all down systematically on what may happen come the middle of August,its just watch and wait.
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Quoting Hurricanes101:
ZCZC MIATCDAT2 ALL
TTAA00 KNHC DDHHMM
TROPICAL DEPRESSION TWO DISCUSSION NUMBER 1
NWS TPC/NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL AL022010
1000 PM CDT WED JUL 07 2010

DATA FROM SATELLITES...NOAA RECONNAISSANCE AIRCRAFT...AND SURFACE
OBSERVATIONS INDICATE THE LARGE LOW PRESSURE SYSTEM OVER THE
WESTERN GULF OF MEXICO HAS ACQUIRED ENOUGH ORGANIZATION TO BE
CLASSIFIED AS A TROPICAL DEPRESSION.
ALTHOUGH INNER-CORE CONVECTION
HAS WANED OVER THE PAST FEW HOURS...OUTER CONVECTIVE BANDING TO THE
EAST OF THE CENTER HAS BEEN INCREASING. DROPSONDE DATA FROM TWO
NOAA AIRCRAFT ON A RESEARCH MISSION IN AND AROUND THE DEPRESSION
INDICATE SURFACE WINDS NEAR 30 KT IN THE EASTERN SEMICIRCLE...AND
THIS WAS USED AS THE INITIAL INTENSITY FOR THIS ADVISORY.


That banding to the east is what I am hearing on my roof in the form of rain......we just had a big line of thunderstorms move through as well......
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Quoting reedzone:


Then TD2 was NOT a Tropical Cyclone until 2 hours before landfall.
Here is a satellite image of 02L about 5 hours prior (image is from 14:31 UTC; it made landfall around 19:30 UTC) to landfall and honestly it looks a heck of a lot better than what 93L looks like right now.

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The Russian heatwave is being accompanied by drought in the nations bordering the BlackSea.
Since wheat is extremely fungible in the world trade market -- ie nobody cares whether they are buying Australian wheat, Canadian wheat, etc, or Russian wheat -- a near-doubling of wheat prices can be expected to cause high rises in bread, pasta, etc prices.
It will also lead to higher prices for food over all. Some wheats are used as feed for dairy, farm, and ranch animals. And when the availability of that feed wheat goes down and the prices increase, the prices of substitute feed grains also increase. Which leads to meat and milk price increases, including prices for farm-raised fish.
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Wow did I come back in time......thanks for the info Storm! And thanks for making it easy for us lay people to read.

Local mets were talking about 94L this AM. Heading to N'awlins this weekend....looks like I'll need the umbrella.
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Thank you for post #635! That was funny!
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Quoting StormW:


That's all going to depend on the 200mb pattern. Have to see if the wind shear forecast remains the same, or if we see something a little more conducive.

Humberto was under a shearing pattern for a few days, and almost went poof. Then the upper pattern did a total 180, and we wound up with a CAT 1 Hurricane.
Hi Storm, I noticed most models look to send 94L to LA....should we still be keeping an eye on it here in SE TX?
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Quoting twhcracker:


i am 40 miles north of the gulf and it was heat index of 116 at my house one day last weekend. I went to change out my horse's water and when i poured it onto my foot it was scorching hot just like hot water out of the spigot as hot as it gets.


I know what you mean. When I go out in the afternoons to use the water hose its hot and takes at least 2 minutes to get back to mild!
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i wish i had a farmers almanac so we could compare it to storms forecast :)
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Thanks for the explanation Storm
Maybe some people will realize it takes more than a sat photo and a model to forecast.
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ZCZC MIATCDAT2 ALL
TTAA00 KNHC DDHHMM
TROPICAL DEPRESSION TWO DISCUSSION NUMBER 1
NWS TPC/NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL AL022010
1000 PM CDT WED JUL 07 2010

DATA FROM SATELLITES...NOAA RECONNAISSANCE AIRCRAFT...AND SURFACE
OBSERVATIONS INDICATE THE LARGE LOW PRESSURE SYSTEM OVER THE
WESTERN GULF OF MEXICO HAS ACQUIRED ENOUGH ORGANIZATION TO BE
CLASSIFIED AS A TROPICAL DEPRESSION.
ALTHOUGH INNER-CORE CONVECTION
HAS WANED OVER THE PAST FEW HOURS...OUTER CONVECTIVE BANDING TO THE
EAST OF THE CENTER HAS BEEN INCREASING. DROPSONDE DATA FROM TWO
NOAA AIRCRAFT ON A RESEARCH MISSION IN AND AROUND THE DEPRESSION
INDICATE SURFACE WINDS NEAR 30 KT IN THE EASTERN SEMICIRCLE...AND
THIS WAS USED AS THE INITIAL INTENSITY FOR THIS ADVISORY.
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The little blob that could is still holding it's own. Looks like someone squirted some lighter fluid on it as the convection is increasing. They couldn't have thrown gas on the thing it is just too small.

I can see it now, the first mini-cane in the making. When it roars ashore as a cat 5 it will leave a swath of destruction 2 miles wide....
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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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