Hottest rain on record? Rain falls at 109°F in Saudi Arabia

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 11:24 AM GMT on June 07, 2012

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Pilgrims to the holy city of Mekkah (Mecca), Saudi Arabia must have been astonished on Tuesday afternoon, June 5, when the weather transformed from widespread dust with a temperature of 113°F (45°C) to a thunderstorm with rain. Remarkably, the air temperature during the thunderstorm was a sizzling 109°F (43°C), and the relative humidity a scant 18%. It is exceedingly rare to get rain when the temperature rises above 100°F, since those kind of temperatures usually require a high pressure system with sinking air that discourages rainfall. However, on June 4, a sea breeze formed along the shores of the Red Sea, and pushed inland 45 miles (71 km) to Mekkah by mid-afternoon. Moist air flowing eastwards from the Red Sea hit the boundary of the sea breeze and was forced upwards, creating rain-bearing thunderstorms. According to weather records researcher Maximiliano Herrera, this is the highest known temperature that rain has fallen at, anywhere in the world. He knows of one other case where rain occurred at 109°F (43°C): in Marrakech, Morocco on July 10, 2010. A thunderstorm that began at 5 pm local time brought rain at a remarkably low humidity of 14%, cooling the temperature down to 91°F within an hour.



Figure 1. Thunderstorms at 109°F? This true-color satellite image of Saudi Arabia taken at 2:10 pm local time (11:10 UTC) on June 5, 2012, shows a line of thunderstorms that developed along the edge of the sea breeze from the Red Sea. Three hours after this image was taken, Mekkah (Mecca) recorded a thunderstorm with rain and a temperature of 109°F (43°C.) Image credit: NASA.

More like a hot shower than a cooling rain?
Thunderstorms often produce big drops of cold rain, since these raindrops form several thousand meters high in the atmosphere, where temperatures are much cooler than near the surface. Some drops even get their start as snow or ice particles, which melt on the way to the surface. Additional cooling of the drops occurs due to evaporation on the way down. However, in the case of the June 4, 2012 Mekkah storm, I think the rain was probably more like a hot shower. Large raindrops, like the kind thunderstorms produce, fall at a speed of about 10 meters per second. A balloon sounding of the upper atmosphere taken at 3 pm local time at a nearby station (Al-Midinah) found that the bottom 1000 meters of the atmosphere was 97°F (36°C) or warmer. Thus, the thunderstorms' raindrops would have been subjected to 100 seconds of some very hot air on the way to the surface, likely warming them above 100°F by the time they hit the ground. A classic 1948 study of raindrops found that, in many cases, raindrop temperatures start off cold in the first few minutes of a rain shower, then warm up to within 1°C (1.8°F) of the air temperature within a few minutes. With the air temperature a sizzling 109°F (43°C) at the time of the June 4 thunderstorm in Mekkah, the raindrops could easily have been heated to a temperature of over 105°F (41°C) by the time they reached the surface!

How hot can it be and still rain?
If substantial amounts of liquid water are present on the Earth, the planet will experience rain, as long as some mechanism to lift the warm, moist air and cause condensation can be found. If the climate continues to warm as expected, we should see an increasing number of cases where it rains at temperatures well above 100°F. On Saturday, June 2, the temperature in Mekkah hit 51.4°C (124.5°F), a new record for the city, and just 1.1°F (0.6°C) below the all-time hottest temperature record for Saudi Arabia (125.6°F, or 52°C, recorded at Jeddah on June 22, 2010.) I expect that 20 - 40 years from now, we'll begin seeing occasional cases where rain falls at a temperature above 117°F (47°C) in the desert regions of North Africa and the Middle East.

I'll have a new post by Friday afternoon.

Jeff Masters

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Quoting FtMyersgal:


Sure hope you are right GT. I have to find a way to get the shields to drop in Lee County. Yesterday all the rain was to my south. Today most of it's north of me. sigh...
I hope I'm right, sometimes these masses of shower and t-storm complex falls apart before they reach on shore. If we can get the front to drop on farther south then the rain chances should increase.
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Are Volcanoes Disturbing Hurricanes?
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Warmest spring on record for the contiguous U.S., besting the previous record by 2.0F. March 2012 was the warmest on record, April 2012 the third warmest on record, and May 2012 the second warmest on record.

http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/sotc/national/2012/5
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I'd like to do my own Tropical Weather Outlooks. Too bad they don't make good maps of the Atlantic (mad face).
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 31451
Quoting GTcooliebai:
About to get downright washed out this afternoon in FL.



Sure hope you are right GT. I have to find a way to get the shields to drop in Lee County. Yesterday all the rain was to my south. Today most of it's north of me. sigh...
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Impressive mass of convection about to roll across C FL.


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Here's to hoping El Nino develops and early enough to have an impact. Otherwise, things are looking rather favorable for yet another active season, IMO.
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Quoting tampahurricane:
Is Hwy 6 lifted off the ground?


Nope it isn't. It is kind of weird it always shows up like that.
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Where? there are a few spots where it crosses other roads it may be elevated in the Houston area.

Quoting tampahurricane:
Is Hwy 6 lifted off the ground?

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Speaking of rain we have a had a lot of rain here on the northside of orlando since Tuesday. Woke up to some thunderstorms at 4:30am with torrential rains.
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Raining while 109F is amazing! Great post Doc!
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About to get downright washed out this afternoon in FL.

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Is Hwy 6 lifted off the ground?
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Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 169 Comments: 53296


event detected
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Really don't understand why Hwy 6 shows up on radar, always does this



Railroad runs along it as well

Even high Def radar shows it

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Quoting hydrus:
It was 51 degrees here on the plateau this morning, but with 48% humidity. Nice, but cooler than normal.
That sounds Awesome, wish I could have a Summer home there, humidity here is 90 to 100 every morning so far this year.
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faster and faster now
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Quoting GeorgiaStormz:
To all you wishcasters, look at TCFP now:


Model was, not us
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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:

There's really no need for that..


i didnt mean that in a mean way, i guess it does sound a little bit like that.
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Weather Chat Anyone?

I believe Weatherh98 and I finally removed the troll.
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.
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 31451
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............probabilities lessened in the gulf from yesterday
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TCFP:
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Quoting MississippiBoy2:

Hey we might get some more of that wet stuff that falls out of the sky,I think they call it rain been a little dry here.
lol
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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:

I see, thanks.


No problem. It's a coin flip on whether it will last into the meat of the season, but it's there for now.
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Kuena got decapitated. :( Most likely from wind shear.

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Quoting MississippiWx:


Basically, it is when the Atlantic ocean anomalies have warmth in the deep tropics, cold anomalies above it, and warm anomalies closer to the polar region. The significance of it is to focus upward motion in the MDR/SW Atlantic because of the sinking motion to the north.


I see, thanks.
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 31451
Lake Charles
NEXRAD Radar

Base Reflectivity 0.50° Elevation
Range 248 NMI



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59 TropicalAnalystwx13: ...the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean...will need to be watched very closely from ~June 15 and on. The East Pacific could get "Carlotta" out of this pulse as depicted by the GFS and ECMWF as well.
66 washingtonian115: Chris is a strong possibility even though the models aren't really feeling it...

Pretty much been: if EastPacific do, Gulf of Mexico don't, northwesternCaribbean don't.
If Carlotta fires up, it'll drain the energy out of what-might-have-become-Chris...
...at least until that storm-potential low has moved to the Atlantic off of the EastCoast. Or the "Chris" AreaOfInterest was never near the westCaribbean or the GoM
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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:

The waters continue to warm significantly...

I've never took the time to learn what the tripole signature is. Could you explain?


Basically, it is when the Atlantic ocean anomalies have warmth in the deep tropics, cold anomalies above it, and warm anomalies closer to the polar region. The significance of it is to focus upward motion in the MDR/SW Atlantic because of the sinking motion to the north.

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Could someone look reall really hard and find something we can track? I have tried.
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Quoting MississippiWx:
Kind of an interesting new SST anomaly map today. While the Atlantic/MDR is not well above average, it still looks like the Atlantic is overall the warmest basin (relative to average) on the globe at the moment. It had not been that way until recently. The -NAO has done its job, for sure. Also a nice tripole signature setting up in the Atlantic.


The waters continue to warm significantly...

I've never took the time to learn what the tripole signature is. Could you explain?
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 31451
Quoting Tropicsweatherpr:


Why you think it may turn out that way?

The forecast Sea Surface Temperature map shows the transfer of warm water towards the Central Pacific as we head into the peak of the season. The wind shear forecast shows a sharp increase next month followed by a rapid decline at the same time the waters start moving towards the Central Pacific.
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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:

There are indications if could be a Modoki El Nino.


I saw that forecast by the climate model, but I'm very skeptical. The -PDO is making it very difficult for warm anomalies to make much headway to the west into the Central Pacific, so I just have a hard time believing the peak of our El Nino will ever be a Modiki one in the Central Pacific.
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Kind of an interesting new SST anomaly map today. While the Atlantic/MDR is not well above average, it still looks like the Atlantic is overall the warmest basin (relative to average) on the globe at the moment. It had not been that way until recently. The -NAO has done its job, for sure. Also a nice tripole signature setting up in the Atlantic.

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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:

There are indications if could be a Modoki El Nino.


Why you think it may turn out that way?
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Quoting MississippiWx:


No surprise. It's coming.

There are indications if could be a Modoki El Nino.
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Quoting WxGeekVA:
I just went outside and there isn't a single cloud in the sky.... I haven't seen it so clear in a long time!
Have had several of those lately here in C IL, very nice - had dew points in upper 40s yesterday, today back to lower 50s. That "actual front" next Wed/Thurs is supposed to give us a 70 for high on next Thurs, we'll see. Enjoy those clear skies while they last!
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can a tropical storm develop out of an extratropical storm, or does it have to go subtropical first?
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Quoting GeorgiaStormz:
The rainman cometh...
And there will be more where that came from.
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Quoting Neapolitan:
The Climate Prediction center today upped the chances of an El Nino to 50%:

The extensive volume of above-average sub-surface water temperatures indicates that the tropical Pacific SST anomalies will likely warm further in the coming months. A majority of models predict ENSO-neutral to continue through the June-August (JJA) season (Fig. 6). Thereafter, most of the dynamical models predict El Niño to develop during JAS, while the statistical models tend to favor the continuation of ENSO-neutral. Thus, there remains uncertainty as to whether ENSO-neutral or El Niño will prevail during the second half of the year. The evolving conditions, combined with model forecasts (Fig. 6), suggest that ENSO-neutral and El Niño are roughly equally likely during the late northern summer and fall. The CPC/IRI forecast calls for ENSO-neutral conditions through JAS, followed by an approximately 50% likelihood for El Niño during the remainder of the year (see CPC/IRI consensus forecast).


No surprise. It's coming.
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Quoting DavidHOUTX:
Looks like that swirl off shore of TX/LA boarder is heading towards Texas! At least I hope it does lol

Hey I saw it first I want some of that rain too!!!!LOL
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Quoting bohonkweatherman:
That's it rub it in for all those in the South Sweating. :) I wont see that kind of weather until October if I am lucky.
It was 51 degrees here on the plateau this morning, but with 48% humidity. Nice, but cooler than normal.
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Quoting MississippiWx:


MCV...which we've had many of those in the Southern part of the country so far this summer. Seems like way more than normal and I'd like to know the cause.


There's another one near Campeche Mexico on the Yucatan
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If the gulf looks like this now, imagine what it will look like when the MJO comes back to the region..
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Quoting MississippiBoy2:
Do any of ya'll see a spin in GOM AT Texas/Lousiana border?


MCV...which we've had many of those in the Southern part of the country so far this summer. Seems like way more than normal and I'd like to know the cause.
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Member Since: July 14, 2008 Posts: 1 Comments: 9628
Quoting ClimateChange:


64 degrees here, with 66% humidity and a dewpoint of 53 degrees. Nice and refreshing. It's 62 degrees in the house right now, since the windows were cracked last night, and it dropped into the 40s.
That's it rub it in for all those in the South Sweating. :) I wont see that kind of weather until October if I am lucky.
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Quoting RitaEvac:


Pathetic looking, but is out there



Yes it is. I hope it gets its act together and gives us some rain.
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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.