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 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.
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good night its too late
Member Since: June 17, 2011 Posts: 11 Comments: 6439
Quoting yqt1001:


lmao!!
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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 had a strong El Nino. 2012 should not.
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Quoting weatherh98:


I was talking about kurt with TA13
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
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Quoting WxGeekVA:


I think it will be Kirk. I asked Cleverbot and he said so.


Quoting WxGeekVA on December 1st 2011:

Breaking News: Cleverbot says that Florida will get hit by a major hurricane next year!!!!

Me: Will the United
States get hit by a major hurricane next year?
Cleverbot: No, the flamingos will.
Me: So Florida is going to
get hit?
Cleverbot: No, Florida is a state.
Me: I mean, is Florida going to get hit by a major hurricane next
year?
Cleverbot: Probably.
Me: How many?
Cleverbot: Me.
Me: You are a major hurricane?
Cleverbot: No
.
Me: I'm going to ask you again: Are you a major hurricane?
Cleverbot: Yes.
Me: What is your hurricane
name?
Cleverbot: Kirkland is my middle name.
Me: You will be Major Huricane Kirk, and hit Florida, right?

Cleverbot: Indeed.
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Quoting KoritheMan:


Am I the only one who likes looking at naked swirls almost as much as major hurricanes? Both are elegant in their own way.


I think it looks way cool
Member Since: June 17, 2011 Posts: 11 Comments: 6439
Quoting WxGeekVA:


I think it will be Kirk. I asked Cleverbot and he said so.


I was talking about kurt with TA13
Member Since: June 17, 2011 Posts: 11 Comments: 6439
Quoting weatherh98:


no

this is a major


Am I the only one who likes looking at naked swirls almost as much as major hurricanes? Both are elegant in their own way.
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Quoting windshear1993:
I think Ernesto is goin to be a major I can feal it


I think it will be Kirk. I asked Cleverbot and he said so.
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Quoting weatherh98:


no

this is a major
haha mabe but issac for sure lol ;p
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Quoting TXCWC:


Wouldn't 1 storm interfer with the development of the other? Seems like they would be pretty close to each other, yes, no?
This morning's depiction of Carlotta on the ECMWF depicted a rather large circulation, so I would say yes, at least initially.
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Quoting windshear1993:
I think Ernesto is goin to be a major I can feal it


no

this is a major
Member Since: June 17, 2011 Posts: 11 Comments: 6439
568. TXCWC
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:

I say both. "Carlotta" two to three days before "Chris".


Wouldn't 1 storm interfer with the development of the other? Seems like they would be pretty close to each other, yes, no?
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it seems like the pacific and Atlantic are competing
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Quoting windshear1993:
I think Ernesto is goin to be a major I can feal it

Isaac will be a Cat 5 for sure.

Good night everyone :)
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I think Ernesto is goin to be a major I can feal it
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Quoting TXCWC:
Almost within 10 day Euro forecast period - very interested to see what it will say - I do think there will be a storm, question will be on which side:

I say both. "Carlotta" two to three days before "Chris".
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Quoting TXCWC:
Almost within 10 day Euro forecast period - very interested to see what it will say - I do think there will be a storm, question will be on which side:

Possibly both.
And I agree that it will be very important for this storm to get the support of the Euro... If the Euro is going to pick this one up it would start doing so tomorrow when it gets in range.
And since it picked up on the East Pac storm the GFS has been showing I think it's pretty likely it picks up Chris.
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Quoting stormpetrol:


Link
Link


Thanks for that

i have the cimss link thanks anyway
Member Since: June 17, 2011 Posts: 11 Comments: 6439
561. TXCWC
Almost within 10 day Euro forecast period - very interested to see what it will say - I do think there will be a storm, question will be on which side:

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Quoting hydrus:
Might be taking on a negative tilt..
Ooh, this guy knows his stuff! ;)
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Quoting weatherh98:



i havent looked at it


Link
Link
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It's Raining :)

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Quoting stormpetrol:
SW Caribbean, shear dropping, Tropical wave approaching, watch the Colombia coast for convection emerging in the SW Caribbean Sea for "potential" development! JMO.



i havent looked at it
Member Since: June 17, 2011 Posts: 11 Comments: 6439
SW Caribbean, shear dropping, Tropical wave approaching, watch the Colombia coast for convection emerging in the SW Caribbean Sea for "potential" development! JMO.
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Long way out, but the gfs has the trough moving east now. Might be taking on a negative tilt..
Member Since: September 27, 2007 Posts: 1 Comments: 19506
Quoting MAweatherboy1:
The storm in Colorado has three active tornado warnings on it right now... That one would be perfect to track.


Member Since: June 17, 2011 Posts: 11 Comments: 6439
The storm in Colorado has three active tornado warnings on it right now... That one would be perfect to chase.
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Quoting kipperedherring:
Thanks Kori! I think I'm with you! Any thoughts on intensity ??
Based on a reasonable average of the model runs over the last several days, and of course climatology, I'll say a moderate to strong tropical storm.
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Quoting MAweatherboy1:

What do you think about the chances of Carlotta preceding Chris by a couple days? Seems like there's pretty good agreement on that in the models.

Yeah, I'd give it about the same percentage (60-70%).
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Quoting washingtonian115:
I'm just kidding around :).You bestowed such a beautiful well written opinion.
I like it when you post those.. It adds humor to the blog.
Member Since: September 27, 2007 Posts: 1 Comments: 19506
Quoting KoritheMan:

Alex is also just one of many such storms, so generalizing an entire set based on it is wrong.

I simply used Alex as a prime example with it being the closest in time. Obviously not all consolidate slowly and rapidly intensify afterwards, but many have been known to.
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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
I'd say there is a solid 60-70% chance we get "Chris" between June 15 and June 20.

What do you think about the chances of Carlotta preceding Chris by a couple days? Seems like there's pretty good agreement on that in the models.
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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:

Alex is a prime example of a storm that took a long time (8 days!) to consolidate, but then rapidly intensified in the Bay of Campeche/Gulf of Mexico.

Alex was of true, true monsoonal origins though so it shouldn't take this system nearly as long.
Alex is also just one of many such storms, so generalizing an entire set based on it is wrong.
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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:

Alex is a prime example of a storm that took a long time (8 days!) to consolidate, but then rapidly intensified in the Bay of Campeche/Gulf of Mexico.

Alex was of true, true monsoonal origins though so it shouldn't take this system nearly as long.

I just read that monsoonal storms take longer to go and then can go through RI due to lots of moisture. like you said
Member Since: June 17, 2011 Posts: 11 Comments: 6439
I'd say there is a solid 60-70% chance we get "Chris" between June 15 and June 20.
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Quoting hydrus:
sniffle,...whine...
I'm just kidding around :).You bestowed such a beautiful well written opinion.
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Quoting weatherh98:


thought it was harder for monsoonal storms to go the rapid intensification.

Alex is a prime example of a storm that took a long time (8 days!) to consolidate, but then rapidly intensified in the Bay of Campeche/Gulf of Mexico.

Alex was of true, true monsoonal origins though so it shouldn't take this system nearly as long.
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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:

We won't know until it happens. Monsoonal circulations take a while to spin up, but when they, do usually intensify quickly afterwards.


thought it was harder for monsoonal storms to go the rapid intensification.
Member Since: June 17, 2011 Posts: 11 Comments: 6439
Quoting MAweatherboy1:
Anyone else tracking that storm in East-Central Colorado? It has strong rotation, a confirmed tornado, 70mph winds at least and baseball size hail.


Link Pueblo Radar

It's headed toward Simla Colorado
Member Since: July 11, 2006 Posts: 14 Comments: 11036
Quoting washingtonian115:
Stop trying to sound intelligent and articulate...
sniffle,...whine...
Member Since: September 27, 2007 Posts: 1 Comments: 19506
Quoting MAweatherboy1:
While I think a storm around this time is possible the intensity forecast on the 18z GFS is way overdone



18z GFS has a notorious record for being the worst run so don't get too excited.


Thats cooky
Member Since: June 17, 2011 Posts: 11 Comments: 6439
Quoting MAweatherboy1:
Anyone else tracking that storm in East-Central Colorado? It has strong rotation, a confirmed tornado, 70mph winds at least and baseball size hail.


I never saved the image for the cloud top height site so don't have the link but it would be interesting to see that one .
Member Since: July 11, 2006 Posts: 14 Comments: 11036
Quoting hydrus:
I must exculpate myself from your statement. I never once drooled over the model runs that were pertinent to Arlene. I may have had a semi, but at no time during the model runs did I drool or slobber. I resent your remark sir, and demand a complete and full pardon...:)
Stop trying to sound intelligent and articulate...
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Quoting MAweatherboy1:
While I think a storm around this time is possible the intensity forecast on the 18z GFS is way overdone



18z GFS has a notorious record for being the worst run so don't get too excited.

We won't know until it happens. Monsoonal circulations take a while to spin up, but when they, do usually intensify quickly afterwards.
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Quoting kipperedherring:
Good! Hope all is well with you! I may have missed it earlier, but what are your thoughts on the GFS and development in the gulf around mid-month?
I'm buying it. The synoptic pattern favors it, especially with the upward MJO forecast to swing back this-a-way.
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While I think a storm around this time is possible the intensity forecast on the 18z GFS is way overdone



18z GFS has a notorious record for being the worst run so don't get too excited.
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Another lovely day. Watching the pop up stationary storms hovering / streaming off of the Chattahoochee / Nantahala National forests (N. Carolina/Georgia border)

Whenever I see that I wonder about the mechanism at play. Would we have more showers in North/mid Gerogia if the forest was still around? Would it happen less if the area was uniform in forest? Is it due to the air streaming south over the mountains interacting with atmospheric moisture? The showers happen quite often in the late afternoons/evenings. No showers around elsewhere, at least not at first, just over the forested areas.
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About JeffMasters

Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.

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