Causes of the Russian heat wave and Pakistani floods

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 2:56 PM GMT on August 13, 2010

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The Great Russian Heat Wave of 2010 is one of the most intense, widespread, and long-lasting heat waves in world history. Only the European heat wave of 2003, which killed 35,000 - 50,000 people, and the incredible North American heat wave of July 1936, which set all-time extreme highest temperature records in fifteen U.S. states, can compare. All of these heat waves were caused by a highly unusual kink in the jet stream that remained locked in place for over a month. The jet stream is an upper-level river of air, between the altitudes of about 30,000 - 40,000 feet (10,000 - 12,000 meters). In July over Europe and Asia, the jet stream has two branches: a strong southern "subtropical" jet that blows across southern Europe, and a weaker "polar" jet that blows across northern Europe. The polar jet stream carries along the extratropical cyclones (lows) that bring the mid-latitudes most of their precipitation. The polar jet stream also acts as the boundary between cold, Arctic air, and warm tropical air. If the polar jet stream shifts to the north of its usual location, areas just to its south will be much hotter and drier than normal. In July 2010, a remarkably strong polar jet stream developed over northern Europe. This jet curved far to the north of Moscow, then plunged southwards towards Pakistan. This allowed hot air to surge northwards over most of European Russia, and prevented rain-bearing low pressure systems from traveling over the region. These rain-bearing low pressure systems passed far to the north of European Russia, then dove unusually far to the south, into northern Pakistan. The heavy rains from these lows combined with Pakistan's usual summer monsoon rains to trigger Pakistan's most devastating floods in history.


Figure 1. Winds of the jet stream at an altitude of 300 millibars (roughly 30,000 feet high). Left: Average July winds from the period 1968 - 1996 show that a two-branch jet stream typically occurs over Europe and Asia--a northern "polar" jet stream, and a more southerly "subtropical" jet stream. Right: the jet stream pattern in July 2010 was highly unusual, with a very strong polar jet looping far to the north of Russia, then diving southwards towards Pakistan. Image credit: NOAA/ESRL.

What caused this unusual jet stream pattern?
The unusual jet stream pattern that led to the 2010 Russian heat wave and Pakistani floods began during the last week of June, and remained locked in place all of July and for the first half of August. Long-lived "blocking" episodes like this are usually caused by unusual sea surface temperature patterns, according to recent research done using climate models. For example, Feudale and Shukla (2010) found that during the summer of 2003, exceptionally high sea surface temperatures of 4°C (7°F) above average over the Mediterranean Sea, combined with unusually warm SSTs in the northern portion of the North Atlantic Ocean near the Arctic, combined to shift the jet stream to the north over Western Europe and create the heat wave of 2003. I expect that the current SST pattern over the ocean regions surrounding Europe played a key role in shifting the jet stream to create the heat wave of 2010. Note that the SST anomaly pattern is quite different this year compared to 2003, which may be why this year's heat wave hit Eastern Europe, and the 2003 heat wave hit Western Europe. Human-caused climate change also may have played a role; using climate models, Stott et al. (2004) found it very likely (>90% chance) that human-caused climate change has at least doubled the risk of severe heat waves like the great 2003 European heat wave.


Figure 2. A comparison of the departure of sea surface temperature (SST) from average just prior the the start of the great European heat waves of 2003 and 2010. Temperatures in the Mediterranean Sea were up to 4°C above average in 2003, which has been implicated as a major cause of the Western European heat wave of 2003. Image credit: NOAA/NESDIS.

References
Feudale, L., and J. Shukla (2010), "Influence of sea surface temperature on the European heat wave of 2003 summer. Part I: an observational study", Climate Dynamics DOI: 10.1007/s00382-010-0788-0

Stott, P.A., Stone, D.A., and M.R. Allen (2004), "Human contribution to the European heatwave of 2003", Nature 432, 610-614 (2 December 2004) | doi:10.1038/nature03089. (Here is a free version of the paper, presented at a conference.)

The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) has posted an analysis of the recent extreme weather events, concluding, "the sequence of current events matches IPCC projections of more frequent and more intense extreme weather events due to global warming."

See also my posts, The Great Russian Heat Wave of 2010: 102°F in Moscow and, Over 15,000 likely dead in Russian heat wave; Asian monsoon floods kill hundreds more.

Moscow sees real relief from the Great Russian Heat Wave of 2010
For the first time in more than a month, temperatures at Moscow's Domodedovo airport failed to exceed 30°C (86°F) today. Clouds and thunderstorms blew into the city this morning, keeping the high temperature down to just 29°C (84°F). This breaks a string of 35 straight days when the temperature reached 30°C. At Moscow's official observing site, the Moscow Observatory, this string was 30 days. Moscow's average high temperature for August 13 is 20°C (68°F), so today's temperatures were still well above normal. However, today's cool-down marks the beginning of the end for Russia's great heat wave. The latest forecast for Moscow calls for high temperatures below 30°C for the coming week, and Moscow may not exceed that threshold for the remainder of summer. Long range forecasts from the ECMWF and GFS models continue to suggest that a series of troughs of low pressure will attack the ridge of high pressure anchored over Russia, bringing cooler temperatures just 5°C (8°F) above average to Russia late next week. By ten days from now, the ECMWF model shows a strong trough of low pressure over Moscow, and a end to the Great Russian Heat Wave of 2010. Moscow still has to concern itself with smoke from the wildfires burning southeast of the city; winds are expected to shift early next week and bring the smoke towards the city again. However, the cooler weather should aid fire-fighting efforts, so the smoke problems should not be as bad as last week's nightmare.


Figure 2. Image from NASA's Aqua satellite of smoke from wildfires burning to the southeast of Moscow yesterday, August 12, 2010. Northerly winds were keeping the smoke from blowing over the city. Image credit: NASA.

The tropics are quiet
The remnants of Tropical Depression Five continue to bring heavy rain to portions of Southeast Louisiana today. Up to five inches of rain has fallen in regions near New Orleans. The GFS model predicts that the remains of TD 5 could move off the coast of Mississippi by the middle of next week and regenerate, but none of the other models is making this forecast. Both the GFS and ECMWF models are predicting that a tropical storm will develop off the coast of Africa by next Friday, August 20.

Donations urgently needed in Pakistan
The devastation wrought by the worst flooding in Pakistan's history requires a huge response by the international community. Wunderblogger Dr. Ricky Rood, author of our Climate Change Blog, has a friend working in Pakistan who underscored the desperate situation there:

This is the worst natural disaster in the history of Pakistan in terms of number of people and area affected. Although not as many people have been killed as in the 2005 earthquake, we have already nearly 900,000 displaced persons thus far just in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Crops are destroyed; shops, hotels, and other business have simply been swept away in Swat, which had just this year been cleared of Taliban and was on the way to recovery; and districts closer to Peshawar and parts of Peshawar district are still, or perhaps again after yesterday/today, under water. After the immediate emergency response, it will be years of rebuilding to replace what has been lost and to start to develop again. I know you have the power to control the weather, so if you cold give us a week or two without more rain at least we could keep the helicopters flying and give people a chance to go to their homes, recover what might still be there, set up tents if we can get enough to them, and start to clean up."

She gave the following recommendations for charities that do work in the flood-ravaged zone, and are effective at getting aid to those who need it the most:

Doctors Without Borders

The International Red Cross

MERLIN medical relief charity

The mobile giving service mGive allows one to text the word "SWAT" to 50555. The text will result in a $10 donation to the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) Pakistan Flood Relief Effort.

She mentioned that it is better to send money to the organizations doing the relief work than to try to organize shipments of goods.

Jeff Masters

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425. xcool



CV STORMS.
Member Since: September 26, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 15684
424. xcool
da XXXtd5
Member Since: September 26, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 15684
Quoting Waltanater:
They don't take apps on walk-ins! Neither to they tell you anything else! Anyone have any REAL answers on how to obtain employment with them?


http://www.usajobs.gov/

Do a search for NHC.
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422. xcool
Member Since: September 26, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 15684
Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
Ernest F. Hollings Undergraduate Scholarship Program.
If you're interested in learning more click on the link below:

Hollings info

Thanks much! Will take a look tonight.
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Quoting xcool:
trouble comeing soon. oh boyzzz


xcool What type of trouble?
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419. xcool


Member Since: September 26, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 15684
Quoting txwxnut2:
Anyone paying attention to the persistant cloudiness/storms in the Southern Carribean?


That's something to look at..

I am too
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417. xcool
trouble comeing soon. oh boyzzz
Member Since: September 26, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 15684
Anyone paying attention to the persistant cloudiness/storms in the Southern Carribean?
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nic


Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 115456
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Quoting FLPandhandleJG:
It would be crazy if the models do come true to develop 05L back into TD then into a storm.. Has there been a system like this if it would of happen..?

Plus If this thing ramp up to hurricane status offshore and not a lot of ppl would evac that soon.. JMO


yeah, the most similar to this exact case (that is if TD 5 pulls this stunt) was Bertha 2002. No one remebers that, was barely a tropical storm most of its life.
Member Since: September 15, 2009 Posts: 539 Comments: 3712
Hardly a situation that bears any action as the system is well inland and models can be,well like blogger's sometimes.

Over reactive.

Ciao
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Member Since: July 2, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 2811
Lighting overhead here in MS. Just saw to cloud to ground strikes...yikes!! Don't mind the rain, keep the lightning.
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It would be crazy if the models do come true to develop 05L back into TD then into a storm.. Has there been a system like this if it would of happen..?

Plus If this thing ramp up to hurricane status offshore and not a lot of ppl would evac that soon.. JMO
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Quoting NCHurricane2009:


Yeah, Ike's remnant well inland was nuts. When a remnant starts surviving and developing underneath upper divergence from an upper trough (similar to how a non-tropical low does), things can go bananas well inland, especially if the remnant is the dominant low supported by the upper trough.
Yep,conditions are ripe....
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Quoting Stormchaser2007:
Bastardi thinks if the remnants of TD5 can get back into the Gulf near 28N, there could be "major" problems.

Dont shoot the messenger...


yeah, I just watched his video, seems to be more for the curve down and back around to LA again but not ruling out a TX landfall. we will see I guess.
Member Since: July 2, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 2811
Quoting NCHurricane2009:


I think that those models have potential to be right on track, that is if there is anything left to track. I saw a post above that said something about the pressure being 1009 to 1010 mb. If pressure climb further into the 1010s, then it may be dissipating over land. I am waiting to see if it survives land interaction.


To elaborate, the remnant low of TD 5 is still in "tropical" mode if you will. Its nowhere near any upper troughs to become extratropical or somewhat extratropical and strengthen that way. Its beneath an upper anticyclone as a typical warm core tropical cyclone (tropical cyclone) is structured. A tropical low uses low-level convergence and upper divergence from its upper anticyclone to systematically rise warm, moist air and condense them into clouds, and those clouds release latent heat. A NET ACCUMULATION OF LATENT HEAT intensifies the warm core, with surface pressures falling and the anticyclone above strengthening, and the vicious cycle continues.

The reality of the matter is that there may not be enough moisture over land to support the immense convection needed for latent heat ACCUMULATION. Yeah, there are clouds, but the latent heat produced in the circulation may not be enough to strengthen it (there may be more heat dissipation to the surroundings than accumulation).
Member Since: September 15, 2009 Posts: 539 Comments: 3712
I aint getting off no seafood without a decent price..

LOL
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The year of the plumes for our continent, it seems ...

Fires Around Moscow: Satellite Perspective Reveals Startling Images of Massive Smoke Clouds
ScienceDaily (Aug. 13, 2010) — Space scientists at the University of Leicester have released satellite images of vast plumes of smoke emanating from the peat bog fires which are currently sweeping across central and western Russia.

source and more: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/08/100813082649.htm
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403. xcool
NCHurricane2009 lol
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Quoting xcool:


I wish my local NWS would draw graphics like that, LOL.
Member Since: September 15, 2009 Posts: 539 Comments: 3712
Quoting stormlvr:


A consensus track a little further off shore and I'm on board.


I think that those models have potential to be right on track, that is if there is anything left to track. I saw a post above that said something about the pressure being 1009 to 1010 mb. If pressure climb further into the 1010s, then it may be dissipating over land. I am waiting to see if it survives land interaction.
Member Since: September 15, 2009 Posts: 539 Comments: 3712
Quoting pottery:

Yep.
And the offer does not apply to residents of New Orleans.
They are in Competition with me these days...
In fact, I heard they were planning to GIVE THIERS AWAY FREE !!

We are that...been trying to give those folks in Ala and Fla the rain they so much need
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Some rumbles of thunder and rain here taking shape. Thanks Patrap for posting your area map, shows where I am relative to NO.
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398. xcool
Member Since: September 26, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 15684
Bastardi thinks if the remnants of TD5 can get back into the Gulf near 28N, there could be "major" problems.

Dont shoot the messenger...
Member Since: June 9, 2007 Posts: 4 Comments: 15950
396. xcool
Mobile/Pensacola AFD


LONG TERM [MONDAY THROUGH THURSDAY]...AN INTERESTING PATTERN PLAYS
OUT FOR THE FORECAST AREA DURING THE LONG TERM PERIOD WITH THE
GFS/ECMWF/GEM MOVING THE SURFACE LOW WESTWARD ACROSS THE MARINE AREA
MONDAY TO NEAR SOUTHEAST LOUISIANA MONDAY NIGHT WHILE A TRAILING
FRONT FROM A CANADIAN SYSTEM MOVES INTO THE SOUTHEAST STATES AND
STALLS NORTH AND WEST OF THE REGION. THE GFS CONTINUES TO BE
SOMEWHAT STRONGER WITH THE SURFACE LOW AND APPEARS TROPICAL IN
NATURE AND THE GEM SOLUTION IS CLOSE TO THE GFS AS WELL. THE
EXTENDED RANGE HPC DISCUSSION NOTES THE CONSISTENCY OF THE GFS FOR
THIS TREND BUT SUSPECTS MODEL FEEDBACK PROBLEMS SO HAVE GONE WITH A
BLEND OF THE GFS/ECMWF/GEM WHICH MOVES THE SYSTEM NORTHWARD INTO THE
CENTRAL GULF COAST STATES AND WEAKENS TUESDAY INTO WEDNESDAY...BUT
WILL CONTINUE TO CLOSELY MONITOR. CONSIDERING THIS HAVE STAYED WITH
GOOD CHANCE DAYTIME POPS FOR MONDAY THROUGH THURSDAY WITH CHANCE TO
SLIGHT CHANCE POPS EACH NIGHT. TEMPERATURES WILL BE NEAR SEASONABLE
LEVELS BUT DID NOT GO AS COOL AS THE MEX FOR TUESDAY AND WEDNESDAY
FOR THE ABOVE REASONS. /29

Member Since: September 26, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 15684
Quoting Pensa2woodtx:
Last time I was on here,Lefty and Stormtop were here. After Ivan,Dennis and part of Katrina,I went to Mo. from Pcola, then moved here 6 weeks before Ike...my kids want me to go back north..LOL..StormW is on to it...be careful..what comes ashore doesn't always stay ashore


Yeah, Ike's remnant well inland was nuts. When a remnant starts surviving and developing underneath upper divergence from an upper trough (similar to how a non-tropical low does), things can go bananas well inland, especially if the remnant is the dominant low supported by the upper trough.
Member Since: September 15, 2009 Posts: 539 Comments: 3712
Quoting KimberlyB:


Uh....how about this.......THEIR NOT YOUR POSTS! Why, in the world, should you be allowed to go into other people's posts and change things or add things? That's.....well, that's just ridiculous.


Ok, ok. Bite my head off.
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Quoting pottery:

Hmmm!
You may need to check Patrap for that kind of delivery.
I have to warn you though, the NOLA clouds all have residual Crab-Scent in them, from all the boiling that has been going on there .
Not a problem, if you are OK with Crabs.

Stuffed crabs are one of my favorites. Maybe Patrap can enclose a dozen or two crabs to stuff. HMMMMM!!!
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Quoting NCHurricane2009:
Lets see here,

Just before TD 5 made landfall, a shortwave upper trough over the central US pushed the steering deep-layered ridge southeastward and also weakened it. Because the steering ridge weakened, it has been meandering about, waiting for the next shortwave upper trough. Looks like this afternoon, remnant low of TD 5 is beginning to move NEward into S Alabama and S Mississippi, moving in advance of the next upper trough. But I guess some models see it dissipating soon, while others see it missing this upper trough too, and meandering about southward and then westward across the northern Gulf while the next ridge builds in to the northwest.

It'll be interesting if TD 5's remnant does this. Not unheard of. Happened with Allison 2001, and Bertha 2002. Not sold on this happening yet though.


A consensus track a little further off shore and I'm on board.
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391. xcool
AL, 05, 2010081318, , BEST, 0, 314N, 882W, 25, 1008, LO
Member Since: September 26, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 15684
390. xcool
Member Since: September 26, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 15684
Last time I was on here,Lefty and Stormtop were here. After Ivan,Dennis and part of Katrina,I went to Mo. from Pcola, then moved here 6 weeks before Ike...my kids want me to go back north..LOL..StormW is on to it...be careful..what comes ashore doesn't always stay ashore
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388. BDAwx
According to this, wind shear across the Atlantic is the lowest it has been all year.


According to this, the wind shear is generally holding its own in the MDR.
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By the way, interesting how the warm SSTs in the Atlantic have caused the heat wave over Russia as Dr. Masters points out. When you have a warm surface, and that heat goes into the atmosphere (the sun's rays hit the surface through radiation, and its the surface that heat's the air through conduction), the atmosphere gets taller as it balloons (warm air expands). At the top of the warm air, you get an upper high pressure ridge (also called the "blocking" ridge) that causes the jet stream and all storms to deflect northward and miss Russia.

Heat waves and droughts are the worst. Here in NC, we had a drought this decade, and there were rumors that we might have to recycle our sewer water (I remember those just being rumors, and not true). We started get rain just in time, and we've been out of drought since.
Member Since: September 15, 2009 Posts: 539 Comments: 3712
Quoting Bordonaro:

Ha, ha, ha!!! Here in Arlington, TX it has been over 100F for 2 wks in a row. Heat Index at the 105-112F range, no area wide rain in over 1 month. Temps at Midnight here have been 90F or so. HOT!!

Can you fit them all in 1 envelope??

Hmmm!
You may need to check Patrap for that kind of delivery.
I have to warn you though, the NOLA clouds all have residual Crab-Scent in them, from all the boiling that has been going on there .
Not a problem, if you are OK with Crabs.
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...A FLASH FLOOD WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT UNTIL 200 PM CDT FOR NORTH
CENTRAL LAFOURCHE...NORTHWESTERN JEFFERSON...ST. CHARLES AND SOUTHERN
ST. JOHN THE BAPTIST PARISHES...


AT 108 PM CDT...NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE DOPPLER RADAR CONTINUED TO
INDICATE A CLUSTER OF THUNDERSTORMS CAPABLE OF PRODUCING FLASH
FLOODING. THESE STORMS WERE LOCATED ALONG A LINE EXTENDING FROM
WESTWEGO TO DESTREHAN...OR ALONG A LINE EXTENDING FROM AVONDALE TO
KENNER...MOVING EAST AT 20 MPH.
OTHER LOCATIONS IN THE WARNING INCLUDE BUT ARE NOT LIMITED TO
HARAHAN...NEW ORLEANS ARMSTRONG AIRPORT...MARRERO...BRIDGE CITY AND
METAIRIE

Gotta go...later everyone!
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Quoting pottery:

Yep.
And the offer does not apply to residents of New Orleans.
They are in Competition with me these days...
In fact, I heard they were planning to GIVE THIERS AWAY FREE !!
Then what am I messing aroung with you then if my neighbors are free? We did get a nice break here in NW Mobile, Al. today with the flooding rain. only 80 degrees right now. Ahh
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Quoting TexasHurricane:


oh wow...how strong is that showing? I realize it is still too early for anyting written in stone but I will definitely keep an eye out, since that is in my neck of the woods....

That physic person on here said TX was in the clear until at least mid September I believe.

hmmmmm, will they be right or wrong, that is the question.....


As soon as the huge blocking High over Europe and Asia breaks down, watch out. The weather patterns will return to normal by the end of next week.

I believe the Tropical Atlantic will starting cooking up some real big CV storms. The TUTT Low's and dry air will vanish quickly.
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Quoting tkeith:
367. Patrap 1:09 PM CDT on August 13, 2010I'm...err...saturated. Got caught up on the bridge :(


Itsa been a rumbler of a day for sure.
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Quoting Waltanater:
You mean Hollins University? Not sure what you mean by Hollins.
Ernest F. Hollings Undergraduate Scholarship Program.
If you're interested in learning more click on the link below:

Hollings info

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379. xcool


o wow
Member Since: September 26, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 15684
Quoting tkeith:
It seems ex-TD5 Low is close enough to the Gulf to sustain it, with conditions aloft improving. It has looked better to me since it got on land than it ever did over water.


Yeah, its got great upper anticyclonic flow over it. But right this moment, its slipping away further inland. TD 5's remnant looks alright, but still its not going to develop into a tropical cyclone over land, but rather just look cool over land.

The only impressive cases I can think of over land was Danny 1997 over eastern NC, Erin 2007 over Oklahoma, Gaston 2004 over eastern NC, and maybe Allison 2001 over the eastern seaboard. All of those cases had something in common. The remnant received supportive divergence aloft from an upper trough (which is how an extratropical cyclone develops), so its sort of non-tropical in how the remnants came back, but also somewhat tropical in how the system looks tropical and has no fronts. Danny ended up becoming a tropical cyclone again in the NW Atlantic, Gaston did the same like Danny too, but Allison turned frontal and extratropical while going into the NW Atlantic, and Erin's remnant over Oklahoma rapidly weakened after the shortwave upper trough that enhanced it left it behind.

TD 5 right now not near an upper trough.
Member Since: September 15, 2009 Posts: 539 Comments: 3712
You mean Hollins University? Not sure what you mean by Hollins.
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Quoting pottery:
FOR SALE---
Many clouds, some slightly used, conversing in Various Dialects.
All recently Re-Hydrated and ready to go!
Some Pregnant with Potential.
Special Offer For A Limited Time Only
While Stocks Last.

Send $1:00 and Pre-Addressed envelope.

Ha, ha, ha!!! Here in Arlington, TX it has been over 100F for 2 wks in a row. Heat Index at the 105-112F range, no area wide rain in over 1 month. Temps at Midnight here have been 90F or so. HOT!!

Can you fit them all in 1 envelope??
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Lowest pressures in the vicinity of ex-05L are ranging between 1010-1009mb. Click the image for a larger view.

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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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