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

Share this Blog
8
+

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

Reader Comments

Comments will take a few seconds to appear.

Post Your Comments

Please sign in to post comments.

or Join

Not only will you be able to leave comments on this blog, but you'll also have the ability to upload and share your photos in our Wunder Photos section.

Display: 0, 50, 100, 200 Sort: Newest First - Order Posted

Viewing: 975 - 925

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23 | 24 | 25 | 26Blog Index

Just did a blog update. Feel free to check it out.

I'll be back later.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
04E/XX/D
That's amazing
Member Since: August 24, 2010 Posts: 19 Comments: 4358
972. emguy
I agree. The wave has clearly split in to...Looks like 2 very weak vorticities too. I think Levi did a great job on calling a wave split days ago...now lets see if he called it right with preferring the northern one. I do prefer that one myself as well.

NHC Shortwave link loop shows this very nicely.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
I see a circulation near 13n and 52w
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Saharan dust over the evening skies in Puerto Rico
Link
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
04E/XX/D
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
XX/XX/XL
MARK
11N/28W
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
XX/AOI/XL
MARK
13.23N/53.43W
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
The wave is trying to fire up some convection.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
It did split in 2...


Member Since: Posts: Comments:
The drought is starting to loosen its hold in NOLA. The crepe myrtles are in full bloom finally.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
960. JLPR2
Well this is interesting:


22/0232 UTC 28.7N 143.5E ST2.5 MA-ON -- West Pacific
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Dora is weakening just as how it strengthened.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting angiest:


We'll take some of your rain! Since October 1st we are about 23 inches low.

I would gladly send you some, if there was a way of transporting rain laden cloud i would send it.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
TDBret hound (line segments on the left) lost scent of the track (single dots of 99L)
left behind by TSCindy vixen (line segments on the right)
Considering Bret's high travel-speed relative to it's max.sus.wind, Bret is unlikely to last until the next NHC report... though the approaching Dmax might save it.

The distance between the two rightmost single dots to the left of the Cindy line segments represents the 3hours between ATCF'sTDnumbering and NHC'sTSnaming.
Otherwise, 6hours between dots.
Bret's max.sus.wind was between 55k/h(34.2mph) and 35mph(56.3k/h)
minus its average travel speed of 22.2mph(35.7k/h)
for a spin of 12to12.8mph(19.3to20.6k/h)
Cindy's max.sus.wind was between 50mph(80.5k/h) and 85k/h(52.8mph)
minus its average travel speed of 23.2mph(37.3k/h),
for a spin of 26.8to29.6mph(43.2to47.7k/h)

Copy&paste 32.8n72.6w-33.1n71.7w, 33.1n71.7w-33.8n70.6w, 33.8n70.6w-34.2n69.7w, 34.2n69.7w-35.6n68.1w, bda, 32.7n68.3w, 32.9n67.4w, 33.2n66.5w, 33.4n65.5w, 33.2n63.8w, 33.1n61.8w, 33.1n59.5w, 33.3n56.9w, 34.5n54.7w, 35.2n53.8w, 36.3n51.6w-38.3n49.1w, 38.3n49.1w-40.3n47.3w, 40.3n47.3w-42.3n45.0w, 42.3n45.0w-43.5n42.8w into the GreatCircleMapper for more info.
Member Since: August 21, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 4860
Quoting AussieStorm:

A typical winter east coast low. slow moving that has combined with a high that is sending very moist winds towards the coast. There has been reports of 3 landslides that have closed or partially closed roads. Roads are flooded in some areas. I brought strong wind, 90km/h+ to parts of the coast.


We'll take some of your rain! Since October 1st we are about 23 inches low.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Levi32:
Dora about to get a massive shave...prepare for another fantastic EPAC dissipation.

great poofer
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Dora about to get a massive shave...prepare for another fantastic EPAC dissipation.

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting floodzonenc:
Aussie, is there any flooding occurring form all that rainfall? What type of weather system are you experiencing to cause such a long-duration rain event?

A typical winter east coast low. slow moving that has combined with a high that is sending very moist winds towards the coast. There has been reports of 3 landslides that have closed or partially closed roads. Roads are flooded in some areas. I brought strong wind, 90km/h+ to parts of the coast.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Yesterday was such a great day on the blog, everybody was getting along, sure we were a bit off topic but at least there was no trolls!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting floodzonenc:


Sounds like Paradise to me :)

Well. we have had 8.6in of rain in the 4 days and still falling.


Sydney Rain Radar

Last 24hrs rainfall

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
With the exception of a very few small areas, all of NWS Houston's CWA is now classified as D4 (Exceptional) drought, the highest level. I think last week we had two counties classed as D3.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting CybrTeddy:
Hey Aussie still cold down there?

Now
53.2°F steady
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting doabarrelroll:


completely off topic for a weather blog
I'm sorry I brought it up. It was a political/ weather comment. I just get a little ticked when I know that those Somali pirate punks will steal some of the donated supplies to fatten their bellies so they can continue their pirating and terrorist activities. I wish the rains would come and the good villagers could continue their lives.

But you do agree with what I was saying, right?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Hey Aussie still cold down there?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
night all back at 4am
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting doabarrelroll:


completely off topic for a weather blog

Get a life dude, you are not JFV. be gone.


This is what 3.5days of rain, 220mm/8.6in, has done to a potted plant i have out the back, all the water saving granules have sucked up all the water they can and have pushed out the soil.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting TomTaylor:
yea thanks Taz, may have to do that.

I like to give people the benefit of the doubt though when deciding whether or not people are trolls on here.


your wecome
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting jasonweatherman2011:
this not a tropical anymore!!!

Ex-Tropical now. for sure.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Hmmm, seems we could use DestinJeff.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Tazmanian:
TomTaylor this poof him and its all good am going too do the same
yea thanks Taz, may have to do that.

I like to give people the benefit of the doubt though when deciding whether or not people are trolls on here.
Member Since: August 24, 2010 Posts: 19 Comments: 4358
Quoting TomTaylor:
so the hundreds of other off topic posts on here aren't troll comments?



this give doabarrelroll the poof like i did and all is good
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting doabarrelroll:


completely off topic for a weather blog
so the hundreds of other off topic posts on here aren't troll comments?

Surely you don't think everybody is a troll, right?
Member Since: August 24, 2010 Posts: 19 Comments: 4358
TomTaylor this poof him and its all good am going too do the same
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Stormchaser2007:
Nice TUTT in the Caribbean.

that's an ULL, not a TUTT
Member Since: August 24, 2010 Posts: 19 Comments: 4358
Quoting doabarrelroll:


3rd world countries bite the US? odd and off topic but hey good trolling
how's that trolling?
Member Since: August 24, 2010 Posts: 19 Comments: 4358

Viewing: 975 - 925

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23 | 24 | 25 | 26Blog Index

Top of Page

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.