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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poss event detected
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 170 Comments: 53446
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 170 Comments: 53446
Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:


Now THAT'S a blob about to move off of Africa!
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Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:

Looks like a pretty good area of convection in Africa, hopefully it can stay that robust for a while.
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628. wxmod
Quoting KoritheMan:

How can you justify a 99% probability based on a long-range prediction? I'm not berating you, I just want to understand your rationale.


Because I'm watching it building right now.
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Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 170 Comments: 53446
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 170 Comments: 53446
Quoting galvestonhurricane:


I'm no expert, but I disagree. I think the model runs are relatively accurate up to about 7 days, and after that are completely not trustworthy.


Models aren't perfect, but they have a somewhat decent "In The Ballpark" guess on what it'll be like most of the time.
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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:

Yes they can. It may not turn out exactly like predicted, but it gives us a great idea of what will happen. Obviously if the model has been showing a strengthening storm in the Gulf for several runs, the pattern favors development and it will need to be watched.


I'm no expert, but I disagree. I think the model runs are relatively accurate up to about 7 days, and after that are completely not trustworthy.
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Quoting galvestonhurricane:


I don't mean to rain on anyone's parade, but none of the models can be trusted after 7 days.

Yes they can. It may not turn out exactly like predicted, but it gives us a great idea of what will happen. Obviously if the model has been showing a strengthening storm in the Gulf for several runs, the pattern favors development and it will need to be watched.
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 31858
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
Have no fear about how much shear is in the atmosphere at the time the GFS has had the storm in the Gulf...it is probably pretty much nonexistent.



I don't mean to rain on anyone's parade, but none of the models can be trusted after 7 days.
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Have no fear about how much shear is in the atmosphere at the time the GFS has had the storm in the Gulf...it is probably pretty much nonexistent.

Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 31858
Quoting RitaEvac:
Sitting outside, lightning every 1-3 seconds, constant flashing, dead calm


Rain looks like it is going to move NW and miss us both...
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Quoting TomTaylor:

If we do get a competing situation it's really hard to accurately predict what would happen at this point. A lot will depend on the upper level situation and where we see the surface lows set up relative to each other. However, right now I'd have to favor the Atlantic in a competing situation because the GFS Ensembles depiction of a strong upper level anticyclone positioning itself over the Caribbean.



That's what I also noticed on the 500mb shear maps as well that leans more to the Atlantic. Alex for example when it developed in the Caribbean had a very strong anti-cyclone over it that helped protect it from the naturally higher shear of June.
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Sitting outside, lightning every 1-3 seconds, constant flashing, dead calm
Member Since: July 14, 2008 Posts: 1 Comments: 9628


Notice the two tornado warned storms ENE of Fort Collins and SE of Colorado Springs...
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Quoting CybrTeddy:
The likely scenario would be the Atlantic wins out in a competing situation - that is what happened with Arlene and Alex, they where given more time to develop and had more room too actually get going.

If we do get a competing situation it's really hard to accurately predict what would happen at this point. A lot will depend on the upper level situation and where we see the surface lows set up relative to each other. However, right now I'd have to favor the Atlantic in a competing situation because the GFS Ensembles depiction of a strong upper level anticyclone positioning itself over the Caribbean, which would favor development in the Atlantic over the East Pacific.


Member Since: August 24, 2010 Posts: 19 Comments: 4357
Anyone else notice the supercell near Fort Collins, Colorado?
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90W upgraded to Medium.

THE AREA OF CONVECTION PREVIOUSLY LOCATED NEAR 2.5N
160.0E, IS NOW LOCATED NEAR 3.5N 160.3E, APPROXIMATELY 240 NM SOUTH-
SOUTHEAST OF POHNPEI. ANIMATED MULTISPECTRAL SATELLITE IMAGERY
(MSI) SHOWS A LARGE AREA OF FLARING DEEP CONVECTION FORMING OVER A
CONSOLIDATING LOW-LEVEL CIRCULATION CENTER (LLCC). THE MSI AND A
072235Z AMSU-B 89 GHZ IMAGE DEPICT A DEEP, YET FRAGMENTED, RAINBAND
OVER THE SOUTH-SOUTHWESTERN PERIPHERY. COMPARISON OF THE BROAD
TURNING NOTICED JUST SIX HOURS AGO TO THE TIGHTER TURNING NOW SEEN
IN THE IMAGERY NOTED ABOVE INDICATES THAT THE DISTURBANCE MAY BE
INTENSIFYING FASTER THAN GUIDANCE HAS SUGGESTED. A 072234Z ASCAT
BULL'S-EYE PASS SHOWS A MORE SYMMETRIC LLCC WITH 15-20 KNOT WINDS
LOCATED A FEW DEGREES TO THE NORTHWEST AND SOUTHEAST OF THE LLCC.
RECENT SURFACE OBSERVATIONS FROM POHNPEI SHOW EASTERLY WINDS AT 05-
10 KNOTS WITH A CURRENT SLP OF 1010 MB. THE 071200Z PGTW SURFACE
STREAMLINE ANALYSIS SHOWS TWIN CYCLONIC CIRCULATIONS STRADDLING THE
EQUATOR NEAR 160E WHICH MAY BE PROVIDING FOR ENHANCED WESTERLY
WINDS IN THE AREA. RECENT UPPER-LEVEL ANALYSIS INDICATES THAT A
POINT SOURCE OF DIFFLUENCE MAY HAVE DEVELOPED OVER THE LLCC DUE TO
THE PERSISTENT STRONG CONVECTION AND EXCELLENT DIVERGENCE ALOFT.
ADDITIONALLY, THE DIVERGENT SECTOR OF A TROPICAL UPPER TROPOSPHERIC
TROUGH (TUTT) CELL LOCATED NORTHWEST OF THE LLCC IS ENHANCING THE
POLEWARD OUTFLOW. VERTICAL WIND SHEAR REMAINS WEAK AT 05-10 KNOTS.
SEA SURFACE TEMPERATURES IN THE REGION ARE FAVORABLE FOR TROPICAL
CYCLONE DEVELOPMENT AT 28-30 DEGREES CELSIUS. MAXIMUM SUSTAINED
SURFACE WINDS ARE ESTIMATED AT 12 TO 17 KNOTS. MINIMUM SEA LEVEL
PRESSURE IS ESTIMATED TO BE NEAR 1008 MB. DUE TO THE RECENT
CONSOLIDATION OF THE LLCC AND IMPROVING UPPER-LEVEL OUTFLOW, THE
POTENTIAL FOR THE DEVELOPMENT OF A SIGNIFICANT TROPICAL CYCLONE
WITHIN THE NEXT 24 HOURS IS UPGRADED TO MEDIUM.
Member Since: April 29, 2009 Posts: 75 Comments: 14206
Quoting weatherh98:


thats not a good smart choice. nothing is 100%

quantum physics


Rule number 1 of quantum physics: if you understand it, you are doing it wrong!
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Quoting cyclonekid:
A little off the topic, but not by much.

What if we had a tropical system like this hurricane in 1906? What would happen to the blog? Feud for thought. :)



Immeasurable levels of doom.
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Quoting wxhatt:
It's typical for the masses to be fixated on a forecast for a below average year (number wise), and then wham, there is that one major hurricane that developes in the gulf of mexico and rides up the east coast...


"Hurricane Donna--Had a very erratic path in the summer of 1960 that started in the Caribbean, then went to the Florida Keys, then into the Gulf of Mexico, where it would make a turn to the north and make a second landfall over Florida at Fort Myers. It continued northeastward across the Florida Peninsula, and moved back out into the Atlantic near Daytona Beach. Not done yet, Donna headed up the East Coast, and made another landfall at Topsail Island, North Carolina. It then finished its trip by heading into New England, and a final landfall across Long Island. At its peak, Donna had wind gusts ranging between 175 and 200 mph, a minimum central pressure of 27.46 inches, and a 13 foot storm surge. Its total damage cost was over one billion 1960 United States dollars while Donna left 50 people dead."



I Am Crazy About OLD ANTIQUE stuff!!


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New SST Anomaly map came out today. MDR, Caribbean and Central Atlantic have all warmed anomalously, meanwhile the Gulf and the East Atlantic have remained anomalously warm since the last Anomaly chart came out (June 3rd).


SST Anomaly Animation over the last 5 Weeks




SST Anomaly Change in the last 3 Days




SSTs should continue to warm (relative to the anomaly) as the NAO is forecasted to stay negative by the GFS Ensembles and ECMWF deterministic runs until at least mid June.
Member Since: August 24, 2010 Posts: 19 Comments: 4357
The likely scenario would be the Atlantic wins out in a competing situation - that is what happened with Arlene and Alex, they where given more time to develop and had more room too actually get going.
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Quoting galvestonhurricane:


Where do you live? I am in the Friendswood area.


Near NWS, whatever happens, there is a collision zone where the 2 boundaries collide, lightning both sides of me
Member Since: July 14, 2008 Posts: 1 Comments: 9628
Quoting RitaEvac:
Outflow boundary that was coming south from Houston has fizzled and has stalled on top of me right now in middle Galveston county, two areas of storms moving towards each other and I'm dead center of it


Where do you live? I am in the Friendswood area.
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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
The 18Z GFS run actually makes sense. We get low pressure in the Atlantic and the East Pacific, both competing. Eventually the East Pacific low/tropical storm is absorbed into the Atlantic low/tropical storm which moves northward due to a trough. It strengthens to strong tropical storm/minimal hurricane status before landfall in Florida.

While the intensity/track obviously isn't set in stone, I'd say it's likely that we'll get Chris between June 15 and 20.
Wait, why does it make anymore sense than any other model run? I'm confused lol.

Given current ensemble runs, I actually find the 18z quite unrealistic. GFS and ECMWF ensembles are in strong agreement with a strong ridge developing over the East US and a trough off the West coast in 10 days. With this type of set up it would be hard to pull anything out of the East Pacific. Also, while we may see competing lows merge into one over the Atlantic, I don't think we will see full development from a low in each basin and then merging into one storm as the 18z shows.

12z ECMWF 500mb Ensembles showing the trough in the west coast, and ridge over the East US. Also note the uncertainty over the east pacific as well as the track they take (out to sea, not the Atlantic).

Member Since: August 24, 2010 Posts: 19 Comments: 4357
Rapidly moving outflow boundary coming at me from the SW, incoming outflow boundary coming at me from NE, with stalled out washed out boundary directly over me...go ahead there fella... make my day

Member Since: July 14, 2008 Posts: 1 Comments: 9628
Quoting cyclonekid:
A little off the topic, but not by much.

What if we had a tropical system like this hurricane in 1906? What would happen to the blog? Feud for thought. :)

omg I looked that up yesterday and thought wow could we ever see a crazy track like that again..and hurricane Inez is another example of a crazy track and I'm thinking hurricane jeane too :o
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Quoting DavidHOUTX:

lets hope it holds together. Looks like a broad area of rain West of Houston. Maybe this L pressure will establish itself over the coastal area and give us some much needed rain.




How much did you get earlier?
Door is closing in, gonna be critical on where the cells form, one cell near Baytown popped, hopefully everything is gonna light up on radar lil later
Member Since: July 14, 2008 Posts: 1 Comments: 9628
Looks like a meso has formed to the west near Wharton and Needville
Member Since: July 14, 2008 Posts: 1 Comments: 9628
HPC showing low pressure in the EPAC/Caribbean on the extended





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Quoting DavidHOUTX:


lets hope it holds together. Looks like a broad area of rain West of Houston. Maybe this L pressure will establish itself over the coastal area and give us some much needed rain.


How much did you get earlier?
Door is closing in, gonna be critical on where the cells form, one cell near Baytown popped, hopefully everything is gonna light up on radar lil later
Member Since: July 14, 2008 Posts: 1 Comments: 9628
A little off the topic, but not by much.

What if we had a tropical system like this hurricane in 1906? What would happen to the blog? Feud for thought. :)

Member Since: July 14, 2009 Posts: 51 Comments: 1727
Anyone notice much of the Mediterranean Sea is well above average in SST anomalies?   Red is 25 degrees C.


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Looks like there's still a chance

From Lake Charles

PREV DISCUSSION... /ISSUED 357 PM CDT THU JUN 7 2012/

DISCUSSION...SCATTERED SHOWERS AND STORMS HAVE STARTED TO DEVELOP
ACROSS THE CWA. LOOKING AT THE MORNING KLCH SOUNDING... WHEN
MODIFIED TO THE LOW 90S, CAPE WILL BE AROUND 2K J/KG WHICH IS
SUFFICIENT TO ALLOW A FEW ROBUST STORMS THIS AFTERNOON. THIS WILL
COMBINE WITH ADDED SURFACE CONVERGENCE FROM A WEAKENING FRONTAL
BOUNDARY ALONG THE COAST, THE SEA BREEZE BOUNDARY, AND PWATS
AROUND 1.75 WILL ALLOW SCT TSRA TO CONTINUE UNTIL DAYTIME HEATING
IS LOST.

ACROSS THE SOUTHERN STATES AND WESTERN GULF... A WEAKENING FRONTAL
BOUNDARY IS LINGERING ACROSS THE NORTHERN GULF COAST, AN UPPER
LOW OVER TX CONTINUES TO SLOWLY MOVE SE TOWARD THE CWA, AND A
WEAK AND BROAD LOW OVER THE NW GULF CONTINUES TO LIFT NORTH. THE
FRONTAL BOUNDARY AND BROAD LOW WILL AID MASS CONVERGENCE OVER THE
NEXT FEW DAYS WHILE THE SHORT WAVE PROVIDES UPPER DIVERGENCE.
BASICALLY RAIN CHANCES WILL REMAIN ELEVATED THROUGH THE WEEKEND UNTIL
THE SHORT WAVE PASSES SUNDAY. RAIN CHANCES WILL BE HIGHEST OVER
THE EASTERN SECTIONS OF THE CWA SAT AND SUN AS MOISTURE STREAMS
NORTH FROM THE GULF THEN CHANCES WILL DECREASE FROM WEST TO EAST
AS DRIER AIR FILTERS IN LATER SUNDAY. LOCALLY HEAVY RAINFALL MAY
RESULT AS PWATS ARE EXPECTED TO CLIMB TO AROUND 2". A RETURN OF
MORE TYPICAL DIURNAL CONVECTION IS EXPECTED FOR THE FIRST HALF OF
THE COMING WEEK.

MARINE...WINDS AND SEAS ARE EXPECTED TO REMAIN BELOW SCA CRITERIA
THROUGH THE PERIOD, HOWEVER SCATTERED TO NUMEROUS SHOWERS AND
STORMS WILL BE POSSIBLE FRIDAY THROUGH SUNDAY WITH WINDS AND SEAS
HIGHER AROUND STORMS. SUNDAY INTO EARLY NEXT WEEK THE AREA WILL BE
BETWEEN A RIDGE OVER THE ATLANTIC AND A LOW OVER THE PLAINS WHICH
WILL INCREASE SOUTH WINDS TO AROUND 15KTS OR MORE
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Quoting RitaEvac:
Outflow boundary that was coming south from Houston has fizzled and has stalled on top of me right now in middle Galveston county, two areas of storms moving towards each other and I'm dead center of it


lets hope it holds together. Looks like a broad area of rain West of Houston. Maybe this L pressure will establish itself over the coastal area and give us some much needed rain.
Member Since: August 18, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 598
Big Wave over Venezuela

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Quoting RitaEvac:
Outflow boundary that was coming south from Houston has fizzled and has stalled on top of me right now in middle Galveston county, two areas of storms moving towards each other and I'm dead center of it


Hope you get some rain. I enjoyed my Shawshank moment. :)
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this is going to be a long season it seems like June is rushing were almOst in mid june seems like beryl was yesterday
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Outflow boundary that was coming south from Houston has fizzled and has stalled on top of me right now in middle Galveston county, two areas of storms moving towards each other and I'm dead center of it
Member Since: July 14, 2008 Posts: 1 Comments: 9628
Quoting Doppler22:

I think Ernesto and Isaac will both be major hurricanes. But i tihnk Isaac will hit the USA. I think this because I storms can mean big trouble for us... Examples: Isabel, Ivan, Irene
Isidore and Ike too :p
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Squeeze play

Member Since: July 14, 2008 Posts: 1 Comments: 9628
Quoting yqt1001:




Yep, That's it!
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Next year...BEWARE HURRICANE INGRID.

Lol just kidding. Ida aside, I feel like the new I names are less ominous in comparison to the old ones.
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18z Ensemble Members





also shows it missing the eastern side of florida and hitting the bahamas and NC
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Quoting weatherh98:
good night its too late


Oh please; I've been up since 8:30. :P
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Quoting windshear1993:
I think Ernesto is goin to be a major I can feal it

I think Ernesto and Isaac will both be major hurricanes. But i tihnk Isaac will hit the USA. I think this because I storms can mean big trouble for us... Examples: Isabel, Ivan, Irene
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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:

2009 was a very inactive season that featured a strong El Nino and unfavorable conditions. All indications point to the fact that 2012 is not going to be like that.
yea I hope not I want something to be worth watching this season unlike 2009 ..fish storms are good enough 2010 hurricane Danielle for example ;p
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My vote for the flagship storm this season is Gordon. I feel like it's an appropriate major hurricane name.
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Quoting windshear1993:
It might be too late for Kirk lol elnino might crush the later half of the season take 2009 hurricane Ida for example that year didn't even make it to the "k" named storm

2009 was a very inactive season that featured a strong El Nino and unfavorable conditions. All indications point to the fact that 2012 is not going to be like that.
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 31858

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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.