U.S. heat wave blamed for 22 deaths; Bret and Cindy no threat

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 3:07 PM GMT on July 21, 2011

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The dangerous U.S. heat wave of July 2011 will continue to bring another day of exceptionally humid heat to over 100 million Americans today, with 33 states plus the District of Columbia currently under heat advisories. The heat index--how hot the air feels when factoring in both the temperature and the humidity--exceeded 100° in twenty states in the Central and Eastern U.S. on Wednesday, peaking at 123° in Council Bluffs, Iowa. At least 22 deaths are being blamed on the heat in the Midwest. The extreme humidity that has accompanied this heat has made it a very dangerous one, since the body is much less able to cool itself when the humidity is high. The high humidities are due, in great part, to the record rains and flooding in the Midwest over the past few months that have saturated soils and left farmlands flooded. Accompanying the heat has been high levels of air pollution, which also contributes to mortality. Air pollution is expected exceed federal standards and reach code orange, "Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups", in at least 22 states today, according to the latest forecasts from EPA.

The extreme heat peaked in Chicago yesterday, where the temperature hit 100° at Midway Airport and the Chicago Lakefront station. Rockford, Illinois hit 100°, the first time in 22 years that city had seen 100° temperatures. Detroit is expected to hit 100° for the first time in sixteen years today, and I think I'm going to skip the Ann Arbor Art Fair! New York City and the mid-Atlantic states are expected to be near 100° 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°. The heat will continue in 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. A few notable highlights from this week:

Omaha, Nebraska has been above 80° for a four-day period beginning on July 17. This is the 2nd longest such stretch on record, next to the 8-day period that ended July 25, 1934. Multi-day periods when the low temperatures do not cool off below 75° are associated with high heat wave death rates.

Amarillo, Texas recorded its 26th day of 100° temperatures yesterday, tying the city's record for most 100° days in a year, last set in 1953. Record keeping in the city goes back to 1892.

Minneapolis, Minnesota, recorded its highest dew point ever, 82°, on Tuesday. The heat index hit a remarkable 118° in the city, which tied July 11, 1966 for the highest heat index on record in the city. Minnesota's all-time highest dew point temperature of 86° was tied on Sunday, in Madison. The previous record was in St. James and Pipestone in July of 2005.

The latest National Weather Service storm summary has a list of cities where the heat index exceeded 100° yesterday.


Figure 1. On Wednesday, heat advisories for this dangerous heat wave covered portions of 33 states plus the District of Columbia, an area with 141 million people--about half the population of the U.S.

Tropical Storm Bret no threat
Tropical Storm Bret continues to struggle with high wind shear of 20 - 30 knots, and high shear is expected to affect the storm the remainder of the week. The combination of high wind shear and dry air nearby should act to destroy Bret by Sunday, and the storm is not a threat to any land areas.

Tropical Storm Cindy forms
Tropical Storm Cindy formed yesterday 600 miles to the east of Bermuda. Cindy's formation was 24 days ahead of the usual formation date for the third named storm of the Atlantic hurricane season, which is August 13. This year has the most early season activity since 2008, when Hurricane Dolly got named on July 20. Wind shear is a moderate 10 - 20 knots, and is expected to remain moderate for several days. However, Cindy has moved over cool ocean waters of 25°C this morning, and this temperature is 1.5°C below the threshold of 26.5°C that tropical storms typically need in order to maintain their strength. With Cindy predicted to move over waters of just 21°C by Friday morning, the storm doesn't have long to live. Cindy is not a threat to any land areas.

An African wave worth watching
An African wave near 12N 50W, 700 miles east of the Lesser Antilles Islands, is moving west to west-northwest at about 15 mph, and is generating a limited amount of heavy thunderstorms due to the presence of a large amount of dust and dry air from the Sahara. This wave will spread heavy rain showers and strong gusty winds to the northern Lesser Antilles beginning on Saturday. The wave has a modest degree of spin to it, and is under low wind shear, 5 - 10 knots. Once it finds a moister environment near the Bahama Islands early next week, it could develop. Of the latest 00Z and 06Z runs of the four reliable models for predicting formation of a tropical depression, only the NOGAPS model shows development of the wave. The NOGAPS predicts the wave could attain tropical depression status on Wednesday, just off the coast of South Carolina. The other models generally depict too much wind shear over the Bahamas for the wave to develop. The eventual track of the wave once it reaches the Bahamas early next week is uncertain; there will be a trough of low pressure located off the U.S. East Coast that will be capable of turning the wave to the north, along the East Coast. However, it is also quite possible that the wave would be too weak and to far south to feel the influence of this trough, and instead would enter the Gulf of Mexico.


Figure 2. Morning satellite image of Hurricane Dora.

Hurricane Dora in the Eastern Pacific close to Category 5
Hurricane Dora in the Eastern Pacific put on an impressive burst of intensification over the past 24 hours, and is now a very impressive Category 4 storm with 155 mph winds, just 1 mph short of Category 5 status. Dora is expected to move parallel to the coast of Mexico, and should not cause any major trouble in that country. Dora is the second major hurricane in the East Pacific this year; Hurricane Adrian topped out as a Category 4 storm with 140 mph winds in early June.

Think cold. Way cold!
Those of us sweltering in today's heat would do well to consider that on this date in 1983, Vostok, Antarctica shivered at -128°F--the coldest temperature ever measured on Earth. The low tonight in Vostok is expected to be a relatively balmy -80°F.

Jeff Masters

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Quoting jasonweatherman2011:
i do not like this tropical wave at all!

i likez itz lotz
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Quoting Patrap:
LIVE: Atlantis about to enter the OPF at KSC


Wonder whats the person driving the yellow truck new job is going to be once he parks the spacecraft!
Member Since: August 23, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 1918
Member Since: August 2, 2010 Posts: 21 Comments: 9882
I don't know if she'll do it.

Weakening flag on for Dora, here: http://www.ssd.noaa.gov/PS/TROP/DATA/2011/adt/tex t/04E-list.txt

She does seem to be losing some intensity in eyewall, all directions, but especially northern eyewall. Possibly from the blob to the north drawing too much moisture in surface winds away from that which would otherwise support that northern eyewall.



See the loop here: http://rammb.cira.colostate.edu/ramsdis/online/lo op_640.asp?product=tropical_gw_4km_ir4_floater
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Quoting wpb:


anything that far north 21n will fish out


That is incorrect...
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Member Since: August 2, 2010 Posts: 21 Comments: 9882
Quoting wpb:


anything that far north 21n will fish out


Incorrect.
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Quoting HurricaneDean07:
Be back in a bit...
Have to continue packing for my trip to the coast...
Thanks for the notice and status update.
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LIVE: Atlantis about to enter the OPF at KSC
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Be back in a bit...
Have to continue packing for my trip to the coast...
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1300Z = 13:00 UTC = 1:00pmGMT

zulu and UTC don't split the day into AM and PM.*

zulu doesn't use a colon to separate the hour from the minutes-after.
Also "oh one hundred"..."thirteen hundred"..."thirteen oh one"...

* Using lower case without a spacing is a personal quirk to visually separate number from meridian from time zone without leaving a space-break for computer code to create a line-break leaving a singular time or date or time&date split between two different lines
Member Since: August 21, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 4860
Don't usually see this directly on the coast of Massachusetts.

Boston, Logan International Airport
Mostly Cloudy
94 °F
(34 °C)
Wind Speed: SW 20 MPH
Barometer: 29.69" (1005.2 mb)
Dewpoint: 72 °F (22 °C)
Heat Index: 102 °F (39 °C)
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159. wpb
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:


They're going to fly into that tropical wave in the C ATL once it is in range?


anything that far north 21n will fish out
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Minnemike- Paul Douglas mentioned it in the trib it was from an AWOS station but here is a link from the NWS that seems to discredit it Link
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Quoting TaylorSelseth:


I posted this on the old blog last night:

Link

Oh, I see. Grand Forks NWS has a nice write-up about the possibility of a record. In part:

"In looking at the data from the surrounding stations, several of the North Dakota Agricultural Network Stations (NDAWN) had similar readings. At face value, this supports the Moorhead dew-point of 88F. However, the NDAWN stations are located in such a way as to measure the moisture of the crop canopy environment, not the atmosphere. So, on the one hand if the dew-point did hit 88 degrees Fahrenheit, resulting in a Heat Index of 130 degrees Fahrenheit, it was not because of true meteorological effects but because of an agricultural bias. This makes the information, relative to official climatic sources, less representative, and should be used with caution.

While it is possible the Moorhead dew-point did reach 88 degrees Fahrenheit, it did so because the weather station is located in an agricultural field surrounded by water, or very wet soils, and crops that release a great deal of water vapor into the atmosphere. The sensor while measuring the moisture of a very local place, did not represent the free atmosphere as a whole. There are very specific rules and regulations dictating the location of weather equipment, the type of vegetation and distance from agricultural crops."


IOW, I guess we'll see...
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Quoting CybrTeddy:
Normally when the NHC calls for a recon even if its in a few days we see invest not before too long.


It'd be nice to have this declared as an invest.
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Quoting Barefootontherocks:


Here's the scoops on it from NWS Grand Forks, ND. They're investigating.

Hottest place on Earth?
Quoting 47n91w:


Not PWS, and it did make the news on the Grand Forks NWS Office page. But yes, there are some questions about it's validity. Here's a snip from the write-up (link):

Hottest Place On Earth?

Was Moorhead Minnesota one of the Hottest Places on Earth Tuesday afternoon? Based on data from the Moorhead Automated Weather Observing System (AWOS), there was a period of time when the dew-point temperature reached 88 degrees Fahrenheit! Values this high are usually reserved for locations such as the Mexican Gulf Coast, Saudi Arabia or other extremely hot and humid places. But, was the dew-point actually that high?

Going back and reviewing the data from the Moorhead Airport, it would appear at first blush the data is accurate. Accurate, but not representative. Verifying the data will take some time however. There are several reasons to question the precision of the dew-point sensor.
I see. Thanks!

Continuing, maybe accurate but not representative:
"First: The AWOS is surrounded by Sugar Beets and Soy Beans - two of the most prodigious transpiring plants. Second, there was very heavy rainfall Tuesday morning across the region. This rain served to saturate the local soils and encourage plant growth. Plus, under the sensor is 4-6" high clover in flower (clover you would find in your yard, not the crop), with much ponding water within a few feet of the sensor as well. Third, when compared to the Automated Surface Observation System (ASOS) at Fargo's Hector Field the maximum dew-point was 5 degrees lower, peaking at 83 degrees Fahrenheit for one hour only. (Below is a table comparing the Fargo ASOS and Moorhead AWOS for part of the day)"
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Atlantic Ocean View (Updated ~3 hours)

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Quoting largeeyes:
Did the nhc discussion ever say dora explores? I looked and never saw said text.


"A MUCH FASTER RATE OF WEAKENING IS EXPECTED AFTER
TWO DAYS AS DORA EXPLORES THE COLDER WATERS OF THE EASTERN
PACIFIC."
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Quoting cloudburst2011:
all star probably because the NHC has nothing better to watch right now...its still very weak and the catw shrunk considerably


Writing advisories on three other storms..... nothing to do.
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Dora Viz

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Did the nhc discussion ever say dora explores? I looked and never saw said text.
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Quoting Neapolitan:

Do you have a source for that dewpoint? That would be incredible...


I posted this on the old blog last night:

Link
Member Since: August 29, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 324
Normally when the NHC calls for a recon even if its in a few days we see invest not before too long.
Member Since: July 8, 2005 Posts: 259 Comments: 24575
Quoting AllStar17:
I'm wondering if we'll get a little mention of the CATL tropical wave soon (like 10%).


actually surprised they didnt do it this morning
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Quoting atmoaggie:
A great many PWS sites have a poor dewpoint/humidity observation quality and tend to record anomalously high. Maybe it's one of those?


Not PWS, and it did make the news on the Grand Forks NWS Office page. But yes, there are some questions about it's validity. Here's a snip from the write-up (link):

Hottest Place On Earth?

Was Moorhead Minnesota one of the Hottest Places on Earth Tuesday afternoon? Based on data from the Moorhead Automated Weather Observing System (AWOS), there was a period of time when the dew-point temperature reached 88 degrees Fahrenheit! Values this high are usually reserved for locations such as the Mexican Gulf Coast, Saudi Arabia or other extremely hot and humid places. But, was the dew-point actually that high?

Going back and reviewing the data from the Moorhead Airport, it would appear at first blush the data is accurate. Accurate, but not representative. Verifying the data will take some time however. There are several reasons to question the precision of the dew-point sensor.
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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
I think Dora has peaked at 155 mph. Looking at satellite loops, the ring of convection in the eyewall of Dora has warmed a bit, and the eye looks to be becoming a little more ragged and unclear.





Yeah, it appears that the inversion layer inside the eye is now lifting, and the eye may have entered the phase where surface outflow into the eyewall has reversed to inflow straight to the vortex center, indicating the weakening phase. She has been an impressive storm.

Back later.
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Quoting Levi32:


In range is actually ~55W.


Yeah. It's almost there, too.

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139. 7544
Quoting ncstorm:


very interesting..the NHC is seeing something to warrant a possible flight


hmm maybe a yellow circle at 2pm ?
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I'm wondering if we'll get a little mention of the CATL tropical wave soon (like 10%).
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I think Dora has peaked at 155 mph. Looking at satellite loops, the ring of convection in the eyewall of Dora has warmed a bit, and the eye looks to be becoming a little more ragged and unclear.



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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:


They're going to fly into that tropical wave in the C ATL once it is in range?


In range is actually ~55W.
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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:


They're going to fly into that tropical wave in the C ATL once it is in range?


Sounds like it. They will probably wait to see how organized it becomes, and change plans accordingly.
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Quoting lucreto:


Cloud top got his masters from Colorado State and has been working with me on the SHIPS intensity model for several years now.


err.
Member Since: July 8, 2005 Posts: 259 Comments: 24575
Quoting Baybuddy:
Off topic question:

My son has been to astronomy camp and loved it. Any suggestions for good sites for a young star gazer? Also, what about good starter telescopes?
just a suggestion,get as large a mirror as you can afford for your budget.
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Quoting atmoaggie:
A great many PWS sites have a poor dewpoint/humidity observation quality and tend to record anomalously high. Maybe it's one of those?


Here's the scoops on it from NWS Grand Forks, ND. They're investigating.

Hottest place on Earth?
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How to Avoid and Treat Heat Exhaustion and Heat Stroke

By Sharon O'Brien,


As summer temperatures climb in some parts of the U.S., more people are vulnerable to heat exhaustion and heat stroke.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) report that approximately 400 people die each year from excessive natural heat, and that these deaths are preventable.

And while seniors are more likely to be affected by high temperatures and heat-related problems than younger people, heat exhaustion and heat stroke can affect anyone if the conditions are right.

This includes animals. Please provide shade and plenty of cool, fresh drinking water for your pets, and never leave a pet, child or elderly person in a locked car on hot days.

What are the Symptoms of Heat Exhaustion?
People respond to heat exhaustion in different ways, but the CDC reports that common symptoms include:

* Heavy sweating
* Paleness
* Muscle cramps
* Tiredness
* Weakness
* Dizziness
* Headache
* Nausea or vomiting
* Fainting
* Skin: may be cool and moist
* Pulse rate: fast and weak
* Breathing: fast and shallow
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Quoting alfabob:
LLC trying to establish itself, ASCAT picked up a half closed circulation while RGB looks like it has improved since (probably ~75% closed now). If it keeps up, it may be a TD/TS by the time it reaches the islands.


Nothing about this is even remotely close to closed. There isn't even a full semicircle of turning.

Remember that wind vectors as they appear on satellite are storm-relative, and can give the illusion of a nearly closed circulation, but that is only storm-relative. Relative to the earth's surface, such features can be very open, as is the case here. Unless the storm-relative westerly wind vectors attain a magnitude greater than that of the westward forward velocity of the storm, it will not be a westerly wind relative to the sea surface.

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Quoting IceCoast:
This is interesting.

NOUS42 KNHC 211500
WEATHER RECONNAISSANCE FLIGHTS
CARCAH, NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER, MIAMI, FL.
1100 AM EDT THU 21 JULY 2011
SUBJECT: TROPICAL CYCLONE PLAN OF THE DAY (TCPOD)
VALID 22/1100Z TO 23/1100Z JULY 2011
TCPOD NUMBER.....11-051

I. ATLANTIC REQUIREMENTS
1. NEGATIVE RECONNAISSANCE REQUIREMENTS.
2. OUTLOOK FOR SUCCEEDING DAY.....NEGATIVE.
3. ADDITIONAL DAY OUTLOOK: POSSIBLE LOW
LEVEL INVEST AT 24/1800Z NEAR 21.0N 69.0W.


They're going to fly into that tropical wave in the C ATL once it is in range?
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This is interesting.

NOUS42 KNHC 211500
WEATHER RECONNAISSANCE FLIGHTS
CARCAH, NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER, MIAMI, FL.
1100 AM EDT THU 21 JULY 2011
SUBJECT: TROPICAL CYCLONE PLAN OF THE DAY (TCPOD)
VALID 22/1100Z TO 23/1100Z JULY 2011
TCPOD NUMBER.....11-051

I. ATLANTIC REQUIREMENTS
1. NEGATIVE RECONNAISSANCE REQUIREMENTS.
2. OUTLOOK FOR SUCCEEDING DAY.....NEGATIVE.
3. ADDITIONAL DAY OUTLOOK: POSSIBLE LOW
LEVEL INVEST AT 24/1800Z NEAR 21.0N 69.0W.
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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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