Famine declared due to drought in Somalia; U.S. heat wave shifts east

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 3:43 PM GMT on July 20, 2011

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The main rainy season rains have failed again in the Horn of Africa--the region of East Africa comprising Somalia, Kenya, and Ethiopia. Rainfall over most of the Horn of Africa between February and July 2011 was 2 - 8 inches (50 - 200 mm) below average, leading to today's official declaration that famine conditions now exist. The region is experiencing a humanitarian emergency with more than 2 million malnourished children needing lifesaving action. The Horn of Africa has two rainy seasons, a main rainy season in April/May, and then the "short rains" of October/November. The main 2010 April/May rainy season brought above average rains to the region. However, the October/November 2010 "short rains" failed, as did the April/May 2011 main rainy season rains. The failure of two consecutive rainy seasons is a devastating blow for East Africa. African countries are highly dependent on rain-fed agriculture for both employment and economic production, with agriculture accounting for more than 50% of gross domestic product and up to 90% of employment across much of the continent (World Development Indicators 2009, World Bank). One third of the population of Africa lives in drought-prone areas (World Water Forum, 2000), and about 25% of the population of Africa currently experiences high water stress. Remarkably, several nations in East Africa have been selling their land to other countries to raise food for export in recent years. These nations include Ethiopia and Sudan, who both receive massive food aid from the U.N. World Food Program. According to the fascinating and sobering book, World on the Edge by Lester Brown, in January 2009, Saudi Arabia celebrated the arrival of the first shipment of rice on land they had acquired in Ethiopia, where the World Food Program was feeding 5 million people at the time. Saudi Arabia has been actively buying land in other countries to raise crops since the recent failure of agriculture in their country after they pumped their aquifers dry. India, South Korea, and Saudi Arabia have all brought land to grow crops in Sudan, which was the site of the World Food Program's largest famine relief effort in 2010. The world is running short of food, and nations that cannot feed themselves are aggressively competing to buy land to grow food where land costs are low, like East Africa.


Figure 1. Rainfall over most of the Horn of Africa between February and July 2011 was 2 - 8 inches (50 - 200 mm) below average, leading to a deadly drought in the region. Image credit: NOAA Climate Prediction Center.

Another day of dangerous heat in the Midwest
The dangerous Central U.S. heat wave of July 2011 will continue to bring another day of exceptionally humid heat to the Midwest today, and will also begin bringing temperatures in the mid-90s with high humidity to much of the mid-Atlantic and New England. The heat index--how hot the air feels when factoring in both the temperature and the humidity--exceeded 100°F in sixteen states in the center of the country on Tuesday, with the dangerous heat extending from Texas northwards to North Dakota, Minnesota, and Wisconsin. At least thirteen deaths are being blamed on the heat in the Midwest. The heat index hit a torrid 129°F at Newton, Iowa on Tuesday, and a heat index in excess of 120° was recorded at several locations in North Dakota, Iowa, Illinois, and Minnesota.


Figure 2. Predicted maximum heat index for Friday, July 22, 2011. Portions of 35 states are predicted to have a heat index in excess of 100°, with a heat index in excess of 115° expected over large portions of Virginia, Maryland, and Delaware. Image credit: NOAA.

Heat wave headed to the Eastern U.S.
The extreme heat will shift slowly eastwards this week, peaking in Chicago today, Detroit and Pittsburgh on Thursday, and New York City and the mid-Atlantic states on Friday. The forecast high of 103° in Washington D.C. for Friday is just 3° below the hottest temperature ever recorded in the city, 106°. This will no doubt stimulate some predictable quotes on global warming. The heat will remain in place over the mid-Atlantic states through Sunday, then ease on Monday when a cold front is expected to pass through. Wunderground's climate change blogger Dr. Ricky Rood has some good insights on the current heat wave in his latest post.

Tropical Storm Bret no threat
Tropical Storm Bret continues to spin off the U.S. East Coast, but is a weak storm with 50 mph winds, and is not expected to affect any land areas. Wind shear is a high 20 - 25 knots, and is expected to remain in the high range for the next three days. The combination of high wind shear and dry air nearby should act to keep Bret from strengthening, and the storm should slowly decay as it heads out to sea over the next few days.

Invest 99L no threat
Satellite imagery suggests that a low pressure system near 34N, 55W, about 500 miles east of Bermuda, is close to tropical depression strength. This system, dubbed Invest 99L, has been given a 60% chance of developing into a tropical depression by NHC. The storm is headed east-northeastwards out to sea, and is not a threat to any land areas. The storm will move over cool ocean waters below 25°C by Thursday morning, so it has just a short window of time to develop.

An African wave worth watching
An African wave near 45W, midway between the coast of Africa and the Lesser Antilles Islands, is currently generating a limited amount of heavy thunderstorms due to the presence of a large amount of dust and dry air from the Sahara. However, this wave has a modest degree of spin to it, and it is possible it could develop once it finds a moister environment near the Bahama Islands early next week. The last few runs of the UKMET model have shown development of this wave by Tuesday over the Bahamas. The ECMWF and NOGAPS models show that this wave will become a strong tropical disturbance by Tuesday over the Bahamas, while the GFS model shows no development. If this wave does develop, it may recurve before hitting the U.S., since the models agree that there will be a large trough of low pressure present over the U.S. East Coast early next week.

Jeff Masters

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1686. CaneHunter031472
4:08 PM GMT on July 21, 2011
Not much to show. GFS 06z T=120hrs

Member Since: August 1, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 169
1685. caneswatch
3:51 PM GMT on July 21, 2011
.
Member Since: October 8, 2008 Posts: 14 Comments: 4553
1684. wolftribe2009
3:41 PM GMT on July 21, 2011
Quoting HurricaneDean07:
From the looks of it the CATL wave will probably be mentioned in the 2 PM TWO, as 0 or 10%


I disagree with the 0%, if they mentione dit as ) than they shouldn't even mention it at all. I actually would say 10-20% but I more likely think they would mention it later tonight after DMAX
Member Since: July 22, 2010 Posts: 6 Comments: 752
1683. wolftribe2009
3:38 PM GMT on July 21, 2011
Quoting WeatherfanPR:



I was telling the same yesterday. I think this TW is taking a southerly track.


Yea I saw that the wave hasn't moved northward much and was wondering about that. We have to watch the wave behind it too. It is farther south and the ECMWF was showing it developing once it reached the Eastern Caribbean.
Member Since: July 22, 2010 Posts: 6 Comments: 752
1682. wolftribe2009
3:36 PM GMT on July 21, 2011
Quoting viman:
Quick questions guys/gals
Is there model support for the Tropical Wave in the CATL? TIA
Been looking, but not sure if I'm looking in the right places.


THhe ECMWF has been showing the wave developing in the lesser antils before hitting south florida and moving into the gulf next week. The CMC was showing the storm curving northward and getting very close to North Carolina.
Member Since: July 22, 2010 Posts: 6 Comments: 752
1681. HurricaneDean07
3:30 PM GMT on July 21, 2011
Keep in my mind im talking about an "EYE LIKE" Feature and it more on it eastern side tucked, but just something to look at...
Member Since: October 3, 2010 Posts: 40 Comments: 4129
1680. HurricaneDean07
3:28 PM GMT on July 21, 2011
1679~ Forgot link for Cindy floater here you go:
Link
Member Since: October 3, 2010 Posts: 40 Comments: 4129
1679. HurricaneDean07
3:27 PM GMT on July 21, 2011
Cindy has her Circulation tucked in the center of the storm(sort of) but is developing a "eye like" type feature.... Interesting....

Seem like everyone storm this season attempted to get an eye...
Alrene at landfall check pics(its not deep and cleared But you can see it)
Bret Eye like feature developed
Cindy Possible Eye like feature developing...

Hmmm.... interesting...
Member Since: October 3, 2010 Posts: 40 Comments: 4129
1678. CaneHunter031472
3:24 PM GMT on July 21, 2011
Quoting SAINTHURRIFAN:
Cane, not Storm W. Storm Top Is a old timer that got banned in 2006.He came back with a new handle every year but you can't miss his posts or comments. He is easy to identify.His name is Lenny, that is what we knew him as from his blog years ago.Hes from NO,La and makes these same statements routinely.Out of 200 predictions he made 1 came true Katrina.After he got full of himself and took all kinds of congrats from everyone,After getting my power restored,I went back to Joe Bastardi's blog and read what he said at 6;A.M. on Friday Aug 26, 2005 at6; Am.Bastardi basically nailed what happened with katrina that morning.Which was still when the NHC had it still projected it to hit the Fla Panhandle.This is where stormcloud,top,burst,lenny, got the information he spewed to be a 100% prediction.I remember Bastardis post that morning like yesterday.He said sub 920mb, possible cat 5 ,not hitting eastern gulf but hitting Ms/la line.Well he nailed that one.As far as Cloud, he has not even been able plagarize a prediction to come true lol.In closing no he is not Storm W, he is Storm Top.


I remember him now, I joined WU in Sepetember 2005 unlike what it says here that I joined in August 2007. I remember him posting before. Anyway when Katrina happened I was in the Navy stationed in Jacksonville Florida, but my wife and Kids where living in Gautier MS. so I followed the storm very closely. I had access to a Navy site which is very similar to this one and which I used to brief pilots about weather conditions for their preflight briefings. Katrina Killed two pilots in Jacksonville days before hitting MS the outer bands reached all the way there and weather was very unstable. I did predict that it would hit Gulfport MS which is not too far where it actually hit, but I would never posted anything if I was a member of WU because I do not believe that was my place. I'm not a professional so this sort of prediction can be irresponsible I leave it to them. I did tell my wife to grab the kids and get the heck out of there which she did.
Member Since: August 1, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 169
1677. HurricaneDean07
3:22 PM GMT on July 21, 2011
Are you kidding me! Bret's circulation just tucked under the convection, he is definetley still fighting...
Member Since: October 3, 2010 Posts: 40 Comments: 4129
1676. nigel20
3:21 PM GMT on July 21, 2011
Member Since: November 6, 2010 Posts: 11 Comments: 7881
1675. HurricaneDean07
3:20 PM GMT on July 21, 2011
From the looks of it the CATL wave will probably be mentioned in the 2 PM TWO, as 0 or 10%
Member Since: October 3, 2010 Posts: 40 Comments: 4129
1674. nigel20
3:20 PM GMT on July 21, 2011
Member Since: November 6, 2010 Posts: 11 Comments: 7881
1673. AstroHurricane001
3:17 PM GMT on July 21, 2011
Hurricane Dora is very close to category 5 strength, possible annular hurricane.
Member Since: August 30, 2008 Posts: 8 Comments: 2835
1672. nigel20
3:16 PM GMT on July 21, 2011
Quoting WeatherfanPR:



I see a due west movement.
ok
Member Since: November 6, 2010 Posts: 11 Comments: 7881
1671. AstroHurricane001
3:16 PM GMT on July 21, 2011
Toronto, ON:

The heat index (we call it Humidex here) in Canada's largest city could get up to the equivalent of 120 Farenheit today, while the UV rating is off the charts. Better turn on the air conditioning, but keep it at a high temperature to save power. After all, an indoor temperature of 80F is still 40F cooler than what it feels like outside.

Toronto's highest recorded temperature is 38.3C, while the predicted high for the city is 38C today. I live in Southern Ontario...I don't have air conditioning. Horray!
Member Since: August 30, 2008 Posts: 8 Comments: 2835
1670. WeatherfanPR
3:15 PM GMT on July 21, 2011
Quoting nigel20:
what is it's current movement, W or WNW?



I see a due west movement.
Member Since: August 23, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 1570
1668. HurricaneDean07
3:14 PM GMT on July 21, 2011
With two storms were picking up ACE quickly....

Now ACE at 5.28(yesturday, 4.08)
Arlene: 1.63
Bret: 2.82
Cindy: 0.83
Member Since: October 3, 2010 Posts: 40 Comments: 4129
1667. SAINTHURRIFAN
3:13 PM GMT on July 21, 2011
Cane, not Storm W. Storm Top Is a old timer that got banned in 2006.He came back with a new handle every year but you can't miss his posts or comments. He is easy to identify.His name is Lenny, that is what we knew him as from his blog years ago.Hes from NO,La and makes these same statements routinely.Out of 200 predictions he made 1 came true Katrina.After he got full of himself and took all kinds of congrats from everyone,After getting my power restored,I went back to Joe Bastardi's blog and read what he said at 6;A.M. on Friday Aug 26, 2005 at6; Am.Bastardi basically nailed what happened with katrina that morning.Which was still when the NHC had it still projected it to hit the Fla Panhandle.This is where stormcloud,top,burst,lenny, got the information he spewed to be a 100% prediction.I remember Bastardis post that morning like yesterday.He said sub 920mb, possible cat 5 ,not hitting eastern gulf but hitting Ms/la line.Well he nailed that one.As far as Cloud, he has not even been able plagarize a prediction to come true lol.In closing no he is not Storm W, he is Storm Top.
Member Since: August 20, 2005 Posts: 5 Comments: 706
1666. HurricaneDean07
3:12 PM GMT on July 21, 2011
Satellite Estimates think Cindy at 995 MB, with around 60 mph winds,(could be upped to 65 mph)
CI# /Pressure/ Vmax
3.1 / 995.0mb/ 47.0kt
Member Since: October 3, 2010 Posts: 40 Comments: 4129
1665. CaneHunter031472
3:11 PM GMT on July 21, 2011
Quoting wolftribe2009:
mourning everybody

well it looks like I was right on with Cindy's intensity. I stated in my Wunderground blog yesterday that I expected her to reach 50-60 MPH. I also see that Bret continues to stick around. I wouldn't be surprised to see him around for a couple more days at least.

I think we will have an invest for the CATL wave within the next 48 hours (More likely the next 24 hours). Computer models have been stating that organization is expected to start once it reaches the northern antils.

Do any of you feel skeptical about the turn to the WNW? Do you have a feeling it might stay in the Caribbean?


I am a bit skeptical. Previous runs had it crossing FL as a stronger system and the latest runs changed for it not to develop as strong as before and recurving to the north. I guess they are detecting a stronger trough now, but the problem I have with this is that this trough business is so uncertain in the long range that to me everything would be fair game. I guess I will keep monitoring the Models to see if a trend starts to develop.
Member Since: August 1, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 169
1664. nigel20
3:10 PM GMT on July 21, 2011
Quoting WeatherfanPR:
starting to look good.

what is it's current movement, W or WNW?
Member Since: November 6, 2010 Posts: 11 Comments: 7881
1662. Neapolitan
3:09 PM GMT on July 21, 2011
NEW BLOG ENTRY
Member Since: November 8, 2009 Posts: 4 Comments: 13471
1661. WeatherfanPR
3:07 PM GMT on July 21, 2011
Quoting wolftribe2009:
mourning everybody

well it looks like I was right on with Cindy's intensity. I stated in my Wunderground blog yesterday that I expected her to reach 50-60 MPH. I also see that Bret continues to stick around. I wouldn't be surprised to see him around for a couple more days at least.

I think we will have an invest for the CATL wave within the next 48 hours (More likely the next 24 hours). Computer models have been stating that organization is expected to start once it reaches the northern antils.

Do any of you feel skeptical about the turn to the WNW? Do you have a feeling it might stay in the Caribbean?



I was telling the same yesterday. I think this TW is taking a southerly track.
Member Since: August 23, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 1570
1660. CaneHunter031472
3:06 PM GMT on July 21, 2011
Quoting yonzabam:


Nah, you're confusing him with StormW


StormW yeah that is him. I'm glad it's not the same person, cause I have a great respect for StormW and it would be lost if he was comming here to be a Troll under a new Name. StormW wasn't always right in his forecast, but he was a nice person who was always eager to answer questions. I still see his new blog and read his predictions, although i like Levi's blog much better, especially the video.
Member Since: August 1, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 169
1659. PurpleStank
3:04 PM GMT on July 21, 2011
1608. caneswatch 9:47 AM EDT on July 21, 2011
@1597

We are all wrong sometimes. You just gotta say when you are.




you mean like giving away someone's personal information from Facebook?
Member Since: July 12, 2011 Posts: 1 Comments: 88
1658. WeatherfanPR
3:04 PM GMT on July 21, 2011
starting to look good.

Member Since: August 23, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 1570
1657. viman
3:03 PM GMT on July 21, 2011
Quick questions guys/gals
Is there model support for the Tropical Wave in the CATL? TIA
Been looking, but not sure if I'm looking in the right places.
Member Since: August 12, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 376
1655. wolftribe2009
3:02 PM GMT on July 21, 2011
mourning everybody

well it looks like I was right on with Cindy's intensity. I stated in my Wunderground blog yesterday that I expected her to reach 50-60 MPH. I also see that Bret continues to stick around. I wouldn't be surprised to see him around for a couple more days at least.

I think we will have an invest for the CATL wave within the next 48 hours (More likely the next 24 hours). Computer models have been stating that organization is expected to start once it reaches the northern antils.

Do any of you feel skeptical about the turn to the WNW? Do you have a feeling it might stay in the Caribbean?
Member Since: July 22, 2010 Posts: 6 Comments: 752
1654. yonzabam
3:01 PM GMT on July 21, 2011
Quoting CaneHunter031472:


Stormtop? Is he the blogger that was banned last year? Storm? The USCG dude? He has a new site, but I won't mention it here tho.


Nah, you're confusing him with StormW
Member Since: July 20, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 2913
1653. CaneHunter031472
2:57 PM GMT on July 21, 2011
Quoting SAINTHURRIFAN:
Well cloudburst alias StormTop alias lenny i guess your silence on the post means we gotcha.it also means no poboy for me and Pat what a bet moocher you are lol.


Stormtop? Is he the blogger that was banned last year? Storm? The USCG dude? He has a new site, but I won't mention it here tho.
Member Since: August 1, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 169
1652. SAINTHURRIFAN
2:54 PM GMT on July 21, 2011
Well cloudburst alias StormTop alias lenny i guess your silence on the post means we gotcha.it also means no poboy for me and Pat what a bet moocher you are lol.
Member Since: August 20, 2005 Posts: 5 Comments: 706
1650. blsealevel
2:47 PM GMT on July 21, 2011
Latest El Niño/La Niña Watch Data
LATEST IMAGES - 07/03/2011



What is sea-surface height?

The height (or "relief") of the sea surface is caused by both gravity (which doesn't change much over 100's of years), and the active (always changing) ocean circulation. The normal slow, regular circulation (ocean current) patterns of sea-surface height move up and down (warming and cooling and wind forcing) with the normal progression of the seasons ... winter to spring to summer to fall. Using theory of ocean dynamics, TOPEX/Poseidon and Jason sea-surface heights can be used to calculate how much heat is stored in the ocean below. The year-to-year and, even, decade-to-decade changes in the ocean that indicate climate events such as the El Niño, La Niña and Pacific Decadal Oscillation are dramatically visualized by these data. Sea-surface height is the most modern and powerful tool for taking the "pulse" of the global oceans.



What are we looking at?

These images show sea surface height anomalies with the seasonal cycle (the effects of summer, fall, winter, and spring) removed. The differences between what we see and what is normal for different times and regions are called anomalies, or residuals. When oceanographers and climatologists view these "anomalies" they can identify unusual patterns and can tell us how heat is being stored in the ocean to influence future planetary climate events.

Link
Member Since: August 23, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 1918
1647. emcf30
2:45 PM GMT on July 21, 2011
Dora Looking impresive




Member Since: August 7, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 1933
1646. hurricanehunter27
2:45 PM GMT on July 21, 2011
Ugh dora is sooooo close 155mph
Member Since: July 22, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 3841
1644. nigel20
2:44 PM GMT on July 21, 2011
Member Since: November 6, 2010 Posts: 11 Comments: 7881
1643. nigel20
2:43 PM GMT on July 21, 2011
Member Since: November 6, 2010 Posts: 11 Comments: 7881
1642. reedzone
2:43 PM GMT on July 21, 2011
Cindy remains a 60 mph. TS per the 11 a.m. advisory.
Member Since: July 1, 2008 Posts: 13 Comments: 7340
1641. nigel20
2:43 PM GMT on July 21, 2011
Member Since: November 6, 2010 Posts: 11 Comments: 7881
1640. nigel20
2:41 PM GMT on July 21, 2011
Member Since: November 6, 2010 Posts: 11 Comments: 7881
1639. nigel20
2:39 PM GMT on July 21, 2011
Member Since: November 6, 2010 Posts: 11 Comments: 7881
1638. CaneHunter031472
2:37 PM GMT on July 21, 2011
GFS 06z 384hrs. CV storm predicted.

Member Since: August 1, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 169
1637. blsealevel
2:37 PM GMT on July 21, 2011
Quoting VAbeachhurricanes:



love those high resolution shots.


Yea me too

might be able to find one of Dora pretty soon
Member Since: August 23, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 1918
1636. 1344
2:36 PM GMT on July 21, 2011
I cant wait for the adv!
Member Since: August 13, 2009 Posts: 1 Comments: 176

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About

Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.