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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1275. extreme236
7:16 PM GMT on July 22, 2011
90L looks a little more decent convective wise. Not well organized but a bit more interesting looking.
Member Since: August 2, 2007 Posts: 19 Comments: 19234
1274. wunderkidcayman
5:17 PM GMT on July 22, 2011
I think 90L will take a southerly path
Member Since: June 13, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 9598
1273. MarcoIslandCat5
5:15 PM GMT on July 22, 2011
"lurk mode off"

Hey guys i was just looking at the water temps out there in the gulf can any one post the gulf temps for 2005 on this day would love to compare, thanks in advance.
Member Since: October 26, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 52
1272. hydrus
4:33 PM GMT on July 22, 2011
3 month precip outlook...
Member Since: September 27, 2007 Posts: 1 Comments: 19606
1271. blsealevel
4:32 PM GMT on July 22, 2011

This site might come in handy later on.

Probabilistic Hurricane Storm Surge



Link
Member Since: August 23, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 1918
1270. hydrus
4:31 PM GMT on July 22, 2011
Member Since: September 27, 2007 Posts: 1 Comments: 19606
1269. hydrus
4:27 PM GMT on July 22, 2011
Member Since: September 27, 2007 Posts: 1 Comments: 19606
1268. hydrus
4:13 PM GMT on July 22, 2011
Member Since: September 27, 2007 Posts: 1 Comments: 19606
1267. CaneHunter031472
4:04 PM GMT on July 22, 2011
Quoting ProgressivePulse:
In terms of Climatology, 90L will choose one of two paths.



850 Vort Heading right into the Likely hatched area.


Models are supporting the northern path.
Member Since: August 1, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 163
1266. zoomiami
3:53 PM GMT on July 22, 2011
Levi: Great update -- one of the best explanations of the steering currents with the highs, etc that I've seen.

Interesting that the setup that the models show is the setup that occurred with Hurricane Andrew, the high forced it on a straightline west until it got to a more favorable area for development, and it took off.

Not to mean that either one of these waves will develop into an Andrew, simply that the same type of steering pattern existed.

The deep high over the central part of the country will play a big part in the steering this year, so it will be interesting to see how it develops going into August.
Member Since: August 13, 2007 Posts: 10 Comments: 4136
1264. aspectre
3:50 PM GMT on July 22, 2011
aspectre "...where the heck is the dry air that folks have been saying would stop 90L from developing?..."
1167 AussieStorm "Dry air......
1170 sunlinepr "Dark areas represent dry air, moving along with the wave..

Thanks, guys. Didn't spot or misinterpreted the dry areas in the earlier photos.

After a valiant effort, exBret has gone to the Low in the Sky.
Meanwhile TSCindy is heading toward Newquay,UK

6hours between dots.
Cindy's max.sus.wind was between 50mph(80.5k/h) and 85k/h(52.8mph)
minus its average travel speed of 26.3mph(42.4k/h),
for a spin of 23.7to26.5mph(38.1to42.6k/h)

Copy&paste bda, 35.2n53.8w, 36.3n51.6w, 38.3n49.1w, 40.3n47.3w-42.3n45.0w, 42.3n45.0w-43.5n42.8w, 43.5n42.8w-44.5n39.9w, 44.5n39.9w-45.5N 37.0w, 44.5n39.9w-nqy into the GreatCircleMapper for more info
Member Since: August 21, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 4860
1261. BahaHurican
3:30 PM GMT on July 22, 2011
Quoting cloudburst2011:
baha thats the problem its not going n of pr its going to go south and thats right into the dom rep and haita very mountaionous terrain...will tear the sysytem apart..this will just be a rain maker in general if it makes it to south fla..if this gets in the se gom and is still a tw it could possibly with the warm ssts develop further into a tropical depression and bring some mischief somewhere along the gulfcoast..perhaps texas may get lucky...
Looking at that wave that went past here in the last 24 hours, enough of 90L will be N of the Antilles to allow for development there if conditions are right. Definitely right now they are not. I especially want to see what this looks like on Sat afternoon or Sunday, when its over / through the Big Islands. By then we'll see what is possible. But certainly your scenario is not out of the question; in fact it's got the model support....

Quoting aislinnpaps:
Thanks, everyone. I'm not very tech smart and have no idea how to switch to firefox, but going to just 50 worked.

I'm surprised no one yet is worrying and asking if we'll have a cane in the Gulf. I think some of the crowd is falling behind in worrying. *G*
LOL... I think the TX crew would be almost gleeful to see a storm if it would break the drought.... lol

Quoting BrockBerlin:
Hello guys doubt anyone remembers me although I was a somewhat regular poster here a few years back. I have picked up a lot of meteorological knowledge in the past 2 years (halfway now to my meteorology) so I can probably be a little more helpful now. However, I still have a lot to learn, and this site taught me a lot when I still in high school (most of my tropical meteorology knowledge up to this point is grounded in things I read on this site) so hopefully I can still learn a few more things.
Hey, Brock. Good to see u back and know ur pursuing that degree...

Jump in! We got a sauna in here... look at the temps... lol
Member Since: October 25, 2005 Posts: 19 Comments: 20742
1260. hydrus
3:29 PM GMT on July 22, 2011
Member Since: September 27, 2007 Posts: 1 Comments: 19606
1259. overwash12
3:29 PM GMT on July 22, 2011
Quoting IceCoast:


Why are we fools for watching something with ~20% chance of development? As a Meteorologist aren't we suppose to look at all these systems regardless of potential. For me, sometimes the systems that don't develop are as interesting as the ones that do. Isn't that your job as a meteorologist?
When he is wrong,i am sure you guys will let him know!
Member Since: June 24, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 1437
1258. stoormfury
3:28 PM GMT on July 22, 2011
ASCAT showing no LLC . it is still an open wave with some cyclonic turning near 13.9 N 54W
Member Since: August 22, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 2552
1256. Neapolitan
3:27 PM GMT on July 22, 2011
NEW BLOG ENTRY
Member Since: November 8, 2009 Posts: 4 Comments: 13304
1254. RitaEvac
3:26 PM GMT on July 22, 2011
I would expect power outages in the NE today, their power grid can't handle heat to well. Blackouts possible, and then people scramble and that's how people die and get killed.
Member Since: July 14, 2008 Posts: 1 Comments: 9625
1251. IceCoast
3:22 PM GMT on July 22, 2011
Quoting lucreto:
You guys are fools for tracking something with an ~ 20% chance of development this thing will be destroyed by the islands/dry air


Why are we fools for watching something with ~20% chance of development? As a Meteorologist aren't we suppose to look at all these systems regardless of potential. For me, sometimes the systems that don't develop are as interesting as the ones that do. Isn't that your job as a meteorologist?
Member Since: October 17, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 1267
1250. ProgressivePulse
3:22 PM GMT on July 22, 2011
In terms of Climatology, 90L will choose one of two paths.



850 Vort Heading right into the Likely hatched area.
Member Since: August 19, 2005 Posts: 5 Comments: 4863
1247. quakeman55
3:21 PM GMT on July 22, 2011
Quoting quakeman55:

TWC says it's up to 101, with a heat index of 117.

That is fother mucking nuts.

Oh yeah...
Link
Member Since: March 31, 2002 Posts: 1 Comments: 1276
1246. VentureH
3:20 PM GMT on July 22, 2011
Quoting BrockBerlin:
Hello guys doubt anyone remembers me although I was a somewhat regular poster here a few years back. I have picked up a lot of meteorological knowledge in the past 2 years (halfway now to my meteorology) so I can probably be a little more helpful now. However, I still have a lot to learn, and this site taught me a lot when I still in high school (most of my tropical meteorology knowledge up to this point is grounded in things I read on this site) so hopefully I can still learn a few more things.

If I ever stopped learning new things I'd probably be either dead or in a coma. Good luck on that met degree, and welcome back!
Member Since: September 27, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 25
1245. BahaHurican
3:20 PM GMT on July 22, 2011
Quoting hurricane23:


This wave is far from becoming anything to get to concerned about. The overall environment that is ahead is not to friendly to say the least as it may run into possible land interaction and a TUTT like feature.


That trough is what caught my eye this a.m. I thought I noticed something around 2 a.m., but wasn't giving my full attention. I think the wave would handle the land interaction, but not the trough as well. So this could get interesting....

Quoting SAINTHURRIFAN:
Thanks Adrian pretty much what i see also.Guess the thats not what the younguns on here wanted to hear lol.
Some of the old ones, too... lol
Quoting neutralenso:
Guys for now exclude the BAM models remember they showed bret in the GOMEX. Wait for the CMC, UKMET , GFDL and HWRF NOGAPS those are the important ones. im still going with my track wnw into the northern islands and afterwards just north of puerto rico. 90L kinda reminds me of dolly in 08. not what it looks like but kinda similar track
A word of advice with the statistical models like BAM of various varieties.... performance will vary from storm to storm, so just because they did badly with a trough split last week doesn't mean they won't do ok with a Twave this week. Right now the BAM models are doing a reasonable job based on current setup and steering.

Quoting FLWeatherFreak91:
We should see some moderate organization of this system while moving over the Bahamas. Whether or not it will make it to a depression before interaction with Fl is iffy.
Hey there, Freak! Great to see u in the blog...

Quoting cloudburst2011:
well the wave at 30 west did look really good but now the sal is sucking up all the convection from this wave...it looks like the same situation with the first wave..so another one bites the dust...its starting to look like the sal will rule over the cv season 2011...
Seriously doubt it. SAL is pretty typical, even a bit on the low side for July. ASO typically sees less SAL.

Member Since: October 25, 2005 Posts: 19 Comments: 20742
1244. quakeman55
3:20 PM GMT on July 22, 2011
Quoting Neapolitan:
It's 100 degrees in Baltimore. At 11:00 AM.

TWC says it's up to 101, with a heat index of 117.

That is fother mucking nuts.
Member Since: March 31, 2002 Posts: 1 Comments: 1276
1241. Neapolitan
3:18 PM GMT on July 22, 2011
It's 100 degrees in Baltimore. At 11:00 AM. (Heat index is 116.)
Member Since: November 8, 2009 Posts: 4 Comments: 13304
1240. hydrus
3:17 PM GMT on July 22, 2011
NOGAPS in 114 hours shows two systems...
Member Since: September 27, 2007 Posts: 1 Comments: 19606
1239. weathermanwannabe
3:15 PM GMT on July 22, 2011
Quoting BrockBerlin:
Hello guys doubt anyone remembers me although I was a somewhat regular poster here a few years back. I have picked up a lot of meteorological knowledge in the past 2 years (halfway now to my meteorology) so I can probably be a little more helpful now. However, I still have a lot to learn, and this site taught me a lot when I still in high school (most of my tropical meteorology knowledge up to this point is grounded in things I read on this site) so hopefully I can still learn a few more things.


Glad to see you back and hope the studies are going well......I know one thing that you did not learn from this site that you are probably dealing with at the moment; mathematical algorythms and model theory......
Member Since: August 8, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 8308
1236. overwash12
3:13 PM GMT on July 22, 2011
http://radblast-mi.wunderground.com/cgi-bin/radar/W UNIDS_map?station=AKQ&brand=wui&num=6&delay=15&typ e=N0R&frame=0&scale=1.000&noclutter=0&t=1311347430 &lat=0&lon=0&label=you&showstorms=0&map.x=400&map. y=240¢erx=400¢ery=240&transx=0&transy=0&showlabe ls=1&severe=0&rainsnow=0&lightning=0&smooth=0 weird looking radar ,upper return!
Member Since: June 24, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 1437
1234. hydrus
3:12 PM GMT on July 22, 2011
168 hour rain accum..
Member Since: September 27, 2007 Posts: 1 Comments: 19606
1233. Thoroside
3:12 PM GMT on July 22, 2011
I just hope it chooses North of the islands, for observation purposes. I think the scenario that Levi paints - generally thru and near the Hebert Box, the kind of favorable conditions there, it would all be very interesting to see. If this little unorganized cluster of showers could show some composure and gain substantial organization thru that area, it would be quite a tell and prognosticator of that being a very dangerous and welcoming area for anything that comes trekking along in a much more composed fashion.
Member Since: July 22, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 14
1232. ProgressivePulse
3:11 PM GMT on July 22, 2011
Didn't Bret go from 40% to depression in just a couple hours? Those percentages, IMO, are useless to a certain degree.
Member Since: August 19, 2005 Posts: 5 Comments: 4863
1231. aislinnpaps
3:11 PM GMT on July 22, 2011
In Louisiana we are at 86 degrees with a heat index of 84. I think I'll take back my 'It's hot already' comment I made earlier, all things relative...
Member Since: August 22, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 3113
1230. TropicalAnalystwx13
3:11 PM GMT on July 22, 2011
Good morning all. We may not be as hot as some of the places now, but we're getting there...

Fair

91 °F

(33 °C)
Humidity: 64 %
Wind Speed: SW 14 G 18 MPH
Barometer: 30.02" (1016.5 mb)
Dewpoint: 77 °F (25 °C)
Heat Index: 104 °F (40 °C)
Visibility: 10.00 mi.

I see we have 90L now too...SHIP and ICVN both bring it up to tropical storm status, and SHIPS take it up close to hurricane status. We will need to watch it, even though it does have a lot of land interaction.
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 109 Comments: 30291
1228. BDAwx
3:10 PM GMT on July 22, 2011
My PWS here in Bermuda is reading 85.0F with a dewpoint of 80F :O I can't imagine a higher dewpoint with 100 F temps!!!
Member Since: August 3, 2009 Posts: 51 Comments: 525
1226. HurricaneSwirl
3:09 PM GMT on July 22, 2011
Quoting lucreto:
You guys are fools for tracking something with an ~ 20% chance of development this thing will be destroyed by the islands/dry air


You do realize that's for the next 48 hours right? Nearly every storm that gets named is at 20% at one point in there life, unless it spins up really fast. Arlene started at 10%, slowly climbed to 20, and onwards. Bret started at 20%. Cindy started at 20% Just because this one is at 20% for the next 48 hours doesn't mean it can't develop. I do believe though that this one has a rough future if it goes on to traverse every north Caribbean island. But if people were fools for tracking something with a 20% for the next 48 hours, people would be fools for tracking 90% of named storms that come from those said disturbances with 20% chances..
Member Since: July 7, 2008 Posts: 2 Comments: 3237
1225. IceCoast
3:07 PM GMT on July 22, 2011
Already a heat index of 105 here in Massachusetts. That was the forecast max today, and its only 11 AM.

Lawrence Municipal Airport
Fair
96 °F
Humidity: 46 %
Wind Speed: W 10 G 16 MPH
Barometer: 29.76" (1007.5 mb)
Dewpoint: 72 °F (22 °C)
Heat Index: 105 °F (41 °C)
Visibility: 10.00 mi.
Member Since: October 17, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 1267

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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.