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 PurpleDrank:
COMMONLY USED ABBREVIATIONS

Z:zulu time


you'd be surprised how often I've heard the term zulu time.

hardly ever
friend best not start with me the outcome will not be in you're favour
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The reasons the models are all scatterminded with not developing/developing the African wave is because the uncertainty with the trough, some show it being pushed into the islands with no development due to land interaction and have shown it being effected by the trough then pushed west by the ridge into the USA.
Member Since: July 8, 2005 Posts: 259 Comments: 24021
69, you're wrong (or should I say backwards)
Member Since: July 14, 2008 Posts: 1 Comments: 9630
Quoting jasonweatherman2011:
i do not like this tropical wave at all!



yep, getting better organized !!!
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I do not do this often but I had to say something. It honestly annoys me when meteorologist depend on computer models so much. I heard Dr. Masters state that none of the "reliable" computer models predict development. Well the ECMWF and CMC has been showing the wave developing and now the NOGAPS also is jumping on board later down the road.

I have nothing against masters and he is the expert. Don't think I am downgrading him because I am now. I am just stating that there are a lot of meteorologist that do this.What happened to trusting your instinct? The computer models are suppose to tools to help us predict things but they shouldn't be the tool that predicts the weather for us. Computer Models are constantly changing and NOAA loves to change their forecast every 12 hours. I hear people all the time stating that weather forecasters have no clue what is going to happen. I declare this is because we relie on computer models too much.

Time to go back to the basics and remember that once there were no models to predict storms.
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the TW near 50w moving wnw in the last few frames.
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Quoting jasonweatherman2011:
i do not like this tropical wave at all!


She will not move in that direction. A little bit more north. She will be close to Puerto Rico.
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06z NOGAPS develops the African wave, 00z ECMWF ensembles* shows development too.
Member Since: July 8, 2005 Posts: 259 Comments: 24021
Yep Cindy starting to become Extratropical clearly now on satellite.
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Quoting HurricaneDean07:
It appears the atlantic is trying to keep pace with the EPAC.
I appears that the EPAC probably wont see another storm this month(which would mark a pretty decently quiet July for the EPAC)
And the Atlantic possible to get another storm late this month, we could see a good competition between the two basins...

EPAC: 4
ATL: 3(4th Possible in a week)


This the general concept (quote) and link to the conference presentation summary by Klotzbach below.......Seems interesting to me as to this season, so far, in both basins (specifically the E-Pac v. Atlantic).....If we do get another, or, two E-Pac storms over the next several weeks (along with a simultaneous Atlantic system) then a few follow-up papers will certainly be written or presented on "what" caused this activity in both basins I would think.

Another relationship that has been noted in previous years but has been documented more thoroughly recently is the inverse relationship between Atlantic and eastern North Pacific tropical cyclone activity (Lander and Guard 1998, Elsner and Kara 1999, Klotzbach 2006, Wang and Lee 2009, Collins 2010, Wang and Lee 2010). When Atlantic activity is heightened, eastern North Pacific activity tends to be reduced and vice versa. Wang and Lee (2009) demonstrate an out-of-phase relationship between the two basins and the Accumulated Cyclone Energy (ACE) index (Bell et al. 2000). They demonstrate that this relationship is likely due to the fact that same-signed upper-level wind anomalies act to increase vertical wind shear in one basin while reducing it in the other basin, due to the fact that climatological upper-level winds are westerly in the Atlantic, while they are easterly in the eastern North Pacific. Convective Available Potential Energy (CAPE) also is observed to typically be of opposite sign between the two basins. Collins (2010) shows that the inverse relationship is primarily due to storms forming in the western part of the eastern North Pacific basin (likely due to the ENSO signal discussed in the previous paragraph).

Link
Member Since: August 8, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 9134
Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
COMMONLY USED ABBREVIATIONS

I knew some of these, but not all. Very handy list of CUA's. Thanks, Keeper, for educating us!
Member Since: September 27, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 25
COMMONLY USED ABBREVIATIONS

Z:zulu time


you'd be surprised how often I've heard the term zulu time.

hardly ever
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Have until 11PM EDT to have 50mph storm according to cloudburst
Member Since: July 14, 2008 Posts: 1 Comments: 9630
Quoting PurpleStank:
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?


You have mail.

I'm getting real ticked. I'm getting accused of something that I would never do in my life. If I did it, I would have said that I did it right here and now. I'm getting set up by someone, but I don't know by who.
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Quoting Minnemike:

the truest of us cannot wait to seize the day! one of the happiest moments of the year for me :)

Spoken like a true Minnesotan! :) I remember the excitement of finally getting to break out the sleds and snow pants.
Member Since: September 27, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 25
I'm not saying people should just dismiss this year by any means so don't get me wrong. However, as far as the Tampa Bay area goes, I think the chances of a hurricane strike are much lower now over the last few years then they were several years ago around here. The reason why, is that the atmospheric patterns during the 2004 to 2005 period, as well as some other years during recent history allowed bombardment of Florida, yet we still came out untouched here. I believe that was probably our best chance of a dangerous hurricane striking here and it may not come back for a while. Lets face it, a major hurricane striking the Tampa Bay area is a rare probability and most of us who live here will either move else where or die of old age before we experience one. Snowfalls in Tampa Bay are common, just to put it into perspective.

Even for more prone areas like the Central Gulf Coast, the Panhandle, and all of South Florida will likely not experience a bombardment of hurricanes like those years for a while. Look into history, jam packed periods of tropical cyclone bombardments just aren't that common in the Atlantic region. Yet I think many have become worried that every year will again resemble those years, just out of shear horror that has struck us. I'm not expecting anything more of people, we should be shocked by such things. I also am not saying we should blow off potential hurricane disasters by any means. But if we can, we should learn to be prepared, but not dread every hurricane season out of fear. Cause chances are most of the years ahead will not much the recent horrors like we had in 2004 and 2005.
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I guaranteee if I went up there and felt the weather, it would be about like it is here down in Houston on oppresive days,
Member Since: July 14, 2008 Posts: 1 Comments: 9630
2011 Storms
All Active Year


Atlantic
03L.CINDY
02L.BRET

East Pacific
04E.DORA

Central Pacific

West Pacific
93W.INVEST
08W.MA-ON

Indian Ocean

Southern Hemisphere
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I think all locations up north have defective dewpoint readings up there, heat indices of 120+ I'm not buying into that crap
Member Since: July 14, 2008 Posts: 1 Comments: 9630
Quoting ssmate:
This will be the only time I ever get to correct the Dr. But Morehead, MN had a dew point of 88 which sets the MN record. Morehead had a heat index on an incredible 135.5F.

Do you have a source for that dewpoint? That would be incredible...
Member Since: November 8, 2009 Posts: 4 Comments: 13531
ssmate- That dew point reading has been proven false by the NWS in Grand Forks
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NOGAPS

Link
Member Since: August 19, 2006 Posts: 13 Comments: 15288
This will be the only time I ever get to correct the Dr. But Morehead, MN had a dew point of 88 which sets the MN record. Morehead had a heat index on an incredible 135.5F.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
COMMONLY USED ABBREVIATIONS
.AOI:area of interest
.C:celsius
.CAT:category
.CDO:central dense overcast
.EWRC:eye wall replacement cycle
.GMT:greenwich mean time
.H:HURRICANE
.INV:invest
.IR:infra-red
.ITCZ:intertropical convergence zone
.KTS:knots
.MB:millibars
.MH:MAJOR HURRICANE
.MSLP:minimum sea level pressure
.MWS:maximum wind speed
.NHC:National Hurricane Centre
.RMW:radius of maximum winds
.SST:sea surface temperature
.STS:subtropical storm
.SAL:sahara air layer
.TCFA:Tropical Cyclone Formation Alert
.TC:tropical cyclone
.TD:tropical depression
.TS:tropical storm
.UTC:universal time
.VIS:visible sat image
.WV:water vapour sat image
.Z:zulu time
*************************************************
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90L looks to be coming on board
Member Since: July 14, 2008 Posts: 1 Comments: 9630
I'm not saying people should just dismiss this year by any means so don't get me wrong. However, as far as the Tampa Bay area goes, I think the chances of a hurricane strike are much lower now over the last few years then they were several years ago around here. The reason why, is that the atmospheric patterns during the 2004 to 2005 period, as well as some other years during recent history allowed bombardment of Florida, yet we still came out untouched here. I believe that was probably our best chance of a dangerous hurricane striking here and it may not come back for a while. Lets face it, a major hurricane striking the Tampa Bay area is a rare probability and most of us who live here will either move else where or die of old age before we experience one. Snowfalls in Tampa Bay are common, just to put it into perspective.

Even for more prone areas like the Central Gulf Coast, the Panhandle, and all of South Florida will likely not experience a bombardment of hurricanes like those years for a while. Look into history, jam packed periods of tropical cyclone bombardments just aren't that common in the Atlantic region. Yet I think many have become worried that every year will again resemble those years, just out of shear horror that has struck us. I'm not expecting anything more of people, we should be shocked by such things. I also am not saying we should blow off potential hurricane disasters by any means. But if we can, we should learn to be prepared, but not dread every hurricane season out of fear. Cause chances are most of the years ahead will not much the recent horrors like we had in 2004 and 2005.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
It appears the atlantic is trying to keep pace with the EPAC.
I appears that the EPAC probably wont see another storm this month(which would mark a pretty decently quiet July for the EPAC)
And the Atlantic possible to get another storm late this month, we could see a good competition between the two basins...

EPAC: 4
ATL: 3(4th Possible in a week)
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Hurricane Dora will likely increase upwelling but increase temperatures off the California coast near the partly cut-off California Current.

SST vs. Chlorophyll - California coast
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heat waves seem to occur a lot on this planet.

hey, so do freezes.

I'm starting to make the connections here.

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Quoting sphealey:
I admit to being puzzled the use of the word "threat" (or "threatened") in the tropical storm discussions. No one wants to be slammed by a hurricane, and any storm carries risk to life and property damage. But with the entire midsection of the continent baking in 100 deg.F with no rain in sight, and pretty much everything south of the Ohio and east of the Sierra Nevadas suffering from drought, I don't think anyone would object to a tropical storm or two coming ashore in the Gulf or the southeast.

sPh


Tropical storm ...yes, I'd take one. Nothing more though. Houston didnt get too much rain when it was raining here the other day ... we got .16 inch. We need a few more rainy days otherwise flooding will be huge if we get any kind of rainfall
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Morning Cybrted....
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Well, thanks for explaining.
Member Since: July 20, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 2925
Quoting cat5hurricane:
The official high temperature reading at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport came in yesterday at 99 sultry degrees, just shy of the record 101 degrees for that day.

Indeed, the 1995 Chicago Heat Wave was hotter, and thus proved to be much more deadly, killing over 700 people in the city alone. In 1999, Chicago also saw oppressive heat and humidity levels in the middle of July, resulting in heat indexes higher than yesterday's 108 degrees.

Furthermore, than great Midwest hot summer and drought in 1988 will always be remembered as well, where numerous records were set.

Oppressive heat and humidity is part of the climate in the Midwest. It always has been, and always will be. But folks up that way know it will not last, and will be dreading winter once the first snowflakes begin flying in November.

The killer heat waves have indeed been a part of life in the Midwest for decades. But as the climate changes, they are becoming more frequent, and, in fact, it's predicted that within a few decades, the hottest summers now will be cooler than the coolest summers then. IOW, they ain't seen nothin' yet. ;-)

All in all, it's been a hot July across the area:

Uh-oh
Member Since: November 8, 2009 Posts: 4 Comments: 13531
Thanks Keep, that helps a lot
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Quoting yonzabam:


Well, I know 'AOI' means 'area of interest, although I'm sure many on here won't know that.

'XX' is Roman numerals for 20.

'XL' is Roman numerals for 40

So, we have 'area of interest 20/40'


Nope, sorry. Doesn't help.
aoi is right xx means no number yet xl means atlantic xe would be pacific

lets say it like this

04l storm 4 atlantic
mh major hurricane
d don
c5 cat

like this when all together

SAMPLE ONLY

04L/MH/D/C5
MARK LOCATION
29.95N/89.98W
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I admit to being puzzled the use of the word "threat" (or "threatened") in the tropical storm discussions. No one wants to be slammed by a hurricane, and any storm carries risk to life and property damage. But with the entire midsection of the continent baking in 100 deg.F with no rain in sight, and pretty much everything south of the Ohio and east of the Sierra Nevadas suffering from drought, I don't think anyone would object to a tropical storm or two coming ashore in the Gulf or the southeast.

sPh
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Quoting jasonweatherman2011:
much cooler water temp coming soon


Unless it happens to go to the areas of red!
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Nigel, it appears there's a hot bed in the Bahamas(Really warm waters) and if the CATL wave were to get in the that, well, UH OH...

Dora looks like Andrew, except dora has a bigger eye.
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Sorry, mis"copy&paste"d on comment22. Now corrected.
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Thanks Dr.; This year has the most early season activity since 2008, when Hurricane Dolly got named on July 20. Do not know how that will translate going into the heart of the season but I would also note that the E-Pac/Pacific season has also been very active this year so far with simultaneous storms in each basin at times as well. Turning into quite an anomaly and I don't know what to make of it since the usually observed "inverse" relationship between the two basins is sort-of being thrown on it's head at the moment.
Member Since: August 8, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 9134
Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
AOI/XX/XL




Well, I know 'AOI' means 'area of interest, although I'm sure many on here won't know that.

'XX' is Roman numerals for 20.

'XL' is Roman numerals for 40

So, we have 'area of interest 20/40'


Nope, sorry. Doesn't help.
Member Since: July 20, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 2925
facts are important, are they not? Especially on a weather blog.
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Quoting cat5hurricane:
Oppressive heat and humidity is part of the climate in the Midwest. It always has been, and always will be. But folks up that way know it will not last, and will be dreading winter once the first snowflakes begin flying in November.

the truest of us cannot wait to seize the day! one of the happiest moments of the year for me :)
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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?


The NASA site has good material for young people
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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?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:

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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.