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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B3 75 dBZ 41,000 ft. VIL VIL 70 kg/m² Hail 100% chance Severe Hail 100% chance Max Hail Size>4.00 in. 4 knots SSW (205)
Very intense storm in East Colorado right now...
Member Since: June 23, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 589
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:

Some where around there.


Levi said in his beryl blog those dates so it was then
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Quoting KoritheMan:

Yep. Imagine if any of the NHC staff was cut during a major hurricane threat.

exactly. But I would hope they wouldn't be told to take time off without pay.
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Quoting cyclonekid:


How long have we been forecasting this activity in this time frame? Since the end of Beryl right?

Somewhere around there. Could have been a little before.
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32870
We have had some strong downpours in ECFL tonight but now it's settled down and so will I.

LinkWVLoop

Considering I got up at 4:30 this morning and yesterday a.m. think I'll go read myself to sleep. Glad to see the downpours. Natural Florida can handle a lot of rain.
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Quoting cyclonekid:


How long have we been forecasting this activity in this time frame? Since the end of Beryl right?


since Levi said it
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Quoting Tribucanes:
Conditions seem to have all come together this year to make it probable of at least a TS hitting the west coast of Florida. Steering currents in the Atlantic would indicate Florida to NC could be the target of anything forming in the Atlantic basin. Will steering currents remain as they are in the Atlantic?
hard to predict.
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Quoting Tribucanes:
Will steering currents remain as they are in the Atlantic?
Yes. My crystal ball says so.
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Quoting Tribucanes:
Conditions seem to have all come together this year to make it probable of at least a TS hitting the west coast of Florida. Steering currents in the Atlantic would indicate Florida to NC could be the target of anything forming in the Atlantic basin. Will steering currents remain as they are in the Atlantic?


They prolly wont change too too much but they may change a little
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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.


How long have we been forecasting this activity in this time frame? Since the end of Beryl right?
Member Since: July 14, 2009 Posts: 51 Comments: 1731
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:

You can't change the path of a major hurricane. So if it is going to make landfall, mind as well enjoy it...

with fresca
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Conditions seem to have all come together this year to make it probable of at least a TS hitting the west coast of Florida. Steering currents in the Atlantic would indicate Florida to NC could be the target of anything forming in the Atlantic basin. Will steering currents remain as they are in the Atlantic?
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Quoting WxGeekVA:


I'm a conscious being and I know I am alive. As Kori said: I think, therefore I am!


nope doesnt count,must be another being
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Quoting AussieStorm:

Not good, especially during August and September i.e: Hurricane Season.
Yep. Imagine if any of the NHC staff was cut during a major hurricane threat.
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Quoting KoritheMan:

According to solipsism*, no.

*Which is pretty much the stupidest philosophy ever.


hahahahahahhahhaha
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Quoting KoritheMan:


Implicitly agreeing with you.

Not good, especially during August and September i.e: Hurricane Season.
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Quoting weatherh98:


but am i sure your alive? is a conscious being sure your alive? but how do we know that that conscious being is alive? oh right the universal consciousness


I'm a conscious being and I know I am alive. As Kori said: I think, therefore I am!
Member Since: September 3, 2011 Posts: 13 Comments: 3477

Quoting weatherh98:


but am i sure your alive?
According to solipsism*, no.

*Which is pretty much the stupidest philosophy ever.
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Quoting KoritheMan:


He's picky. Me, not so much.


idc as long as its something
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Quoting AussieStorm:

????????


Implicitly agreeing with you.
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Quoting WxGeekVA:


I am 100% sure I am alive. U Mad Quantum Physics?


I think, therefore I am.
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Quoting KoritheMan:


Bleh.

????????
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Quoting WxGeekVA:


I am 100% sure I am alive. U Mad Quantum Physics?


but am i sure your alive? is a conscious being sure your alive? but how do we know that that conscious being is alive? oh right the universal consciousness
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Quoting weatherh98:


i thought it was cool... your buddy is cray

You can't change the path of a major hurricane. So if it is going to make landfall, mind as well enjoy it...
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32870
Quoting weatherh98:


actually they usually last for around 8 months... dont know why they had three in a row, i guess the pacific high never built in
thanks for answering me:)
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Quoting weatherh98:


i thought it was cool... your buddy is cray


He's picky. Me, not so much.
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Quoting windshear1993:
those elnino wasnt together it started in 1991 and went neutral in '92 then came back that year and same thing for 1993 and '94 ..like the oposite lanina which came in 2010 and faded in 2011 but then came back in 2011 lol i hope that helped
Thanks for the answer
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Quoting AussieStorm:
This ain't good

Weather Service proposes furloughs for up to 5,000 to close budget gap


Bleh.
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Quoting KoritheMan:
No it wasn't, because the squalls eventually stopped coming. That damned upper low. Plus, my buddy only wants to chase strong hurricanes. I have no problems with that, but if given the opportunity, I would chase a tropical storm as well.


i thought it was cool... your buddy is cray
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Quoting WxGeekVA:


Wow, that is a massive system! I thought tropical systems didn't form between 5N and 5S latitude because of the lack of the Coriolis effect being too weak there?


You're exactly right. However, there have been some exceptions. One drastic phenomena was Tropical Storm (Typhoon Vamei) in 2001. It formed at 1.4N and was able to sustain itself.



Member Since: July 14, 2009 Posts: 51 Comments: 1731
Quoting weatherh98:


thats not a good smart choice. nothing is 100%

quantum physics


I am 100% sure I am alive. U Mad Quantum Physics?
Member Since: September 3, 2011 Posts: 13 Comments: 3477
Quoting thunderbug91:

The core of the circulation is pretty tight though... NEXRAD has given it a TVS.

Look just to the west of Bottineau...
Member Since: June 23, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 589
Quoting weatherh98:


I would say a severe thunderstorm though.

The core of the circulation is pretty tight though... NEXRAD has given it a TVS.
Member Since: June 23, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 589
Quoting weatherh98:


Lee was fun, it was weak enough to not be overly dangerous but strong enough to be fun.
No it wasn't, because the squalls eventually stopped coming. That damned upper low. Plus, my buddy only wants to chase strong hurricanes. I have no problems with that, but if given the opportunity, I would chase a tropical storm as well.
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Quoting windshear1993:
well yea but i meant in terms of weather haha


i know haah
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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.
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32870
Quoting thunderbug91:

oh ok... still that is one brutal squall line..


I would say a severe thunderstorm though.
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Quoting KoritheMan:

I'm looking forward to a chase or two*. Buddy and I have wanted to go since 2010, but Bonnie and Lee were duds.

*If work permits. Drat.


Lee was fun, it was weak enough to not be overly dangerous but strong enough to be fun.
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Quoting weatherh98:


that is broad and it looks like its outflow dominant. wouldnt expect a warning... plus in about 20 minutes it will be the canadians problem

oh ok... still that is one brutal squall line..
Member Since: June 23, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 589
Quoting weatherh98:


Aint this whole world gone crazy though.
well yea but i meant in terms of weather haha
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Quoting thunderbug91:
Link
INSANE ROTATION in this storm... Has it been given a warning yet????


that is broad and it looks like its outflow dominant. wouldnt expect a warning... plus in about 20 minutes it will be the canadians problem
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Quoting washingtonian115:
Hey K-man.I looking forward to a interesting hurricane season.
I'm looking forward to a chase or two*. Buddy and I have wanted to go since 2010, but Bonnie and Lee were duds.

*If work permits. Drat.
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Quoting wxmod:


3 week, but I think it will be sooner.
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.
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Quoting windshear1993:
this season is going to be wieird and i guess this is the new generation of crazy global activity i assume lol


Aint this whole world gone crazy though.
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Looks like the moisture is really moving into the gulf coast
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Link
INSANE ROTATION in this storm... Has it been given a warning yet????
Member Since: June 23, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 589
Quoting weatherh98:


gotchya
Quoting weatherh98:


gotchya
this season is going to be wieird and i guess this is the new generation of crazy global activity i assume lol
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434. wxmod
Quoting KoritheMan:

99% based on a two week prediction?


3 week, but I think it will be sooner.
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SPECIAL WEATHER STATEMENT
... DEEP MOISTURE SURGING INTO THE AREA FROM THE GULF...

AS DEEPER MOISTURE MOVES OVER THE AREA THROUGH SUNDAY... RAIN CHANCES WILL REMAIN HIGH ALONG WITH HEAVY AMOUNTS OVER A SHORT PERIOD OF TIME. AVERAGE RAINFALL AMOUNTS ARE EXPECTED TO RANGE BETWEEN 2 AND 3 INCHES EACH DAY THROUGH SUNDAY OVER SOUTHEAST LOUISIANA AND COASTAL MISSISSIPPI. SOME LOCALIZED HIGHER AMOUNTS WILL BE POSSIBLE. THIS AMOUNT OF RAIN FALLING IN A SHORT PERIOD OF TIME WOULD CAUSE MODERATE FLOODING OF SECONDARY ROADWAYS AND LOW LYING AREAS. AS SOIL MOISTURE RISES WITH SUBSEQUENT RAINFALL... A FLASH FLOOD WATCH MAY BE NECESSARY.


sela... 2-3 inches of rain a day until sunday adds up to 6-9 inches, thats above the monthly average right there
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Quoting KoritheMan:

Agreed.
Hey K-man.I looking forward to a interesting hurricane season.
Member Since: August 14, 2010 Posts: 10 Comments: 17850

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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.

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