The June 2012 U.S. heat wave: one of the greatest in recorded history

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 7:34 PM GMT on July 03, 2012

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Intense heat continues to bake a large portion of the U.S. this Tuesday, with portions of 17 states under heat advisories for dangerously high temperatures. The heat is particularly dangerous for the 1.4 million people still without power and air conditioning due to Friday's incredible derecho event, which is now being blamed for 23 deaths. The ongoing heat wave is one of the most intense and widespread in U.S. history, according to wunderground's weather historian, Christopher C. Burt. In his Sunday post, The Amazing June Heat Wave of 2012 Part 2: The Midwest and Southeast June 28-30, Mr. Burt documents that eighteen of the 298 locations (6%) that he follows closely because of their long period of record and representation of U.S. climate broke or tied their all-time heat records during the past week, and that "this is especially extraordinary since they have occurred in June rather than July or August when 95% of the previous all-time heat records have been set for this part of the country." The only year with more all-time heat records than 2012 is 1936, when 61 cities of the 298 locations (20%) set all-time heat records. The summer of 1936 was the hottest summer in U.S. history, and July 1936 was the hottest month in U.S. history.

According to wunderground analysis of the National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) extremes database, during June 2012, 11% of the country's 777 weather stations with a period of record of a century or more broke or tied all-time heat records for the month of June. Only 1936 (13% of June records broken or tied) and 1988 (12.5%) had a greater number of all-time monthly June records. I expect when NCDC releases their analysis of the June 2012 weather next week, they will rank the month as one of the top five hottest Junes in U.S. history.


Figure 1. Across the entire Continental U.S., 72% of the land area was classified as being in dry or drought conditions as of June 26, 2012. Conditions are not expected to improve much over the summer: the NOAA Climate Prediction Center’s latest drought outlook shows much of the U.S. in persistent drought conditions, with very few areas improving. The rains brought by Tropical Storm Debby did help out Florida and Georgia, however. Image credit: NOAA Environmental Visualization Laboratory.

The forecast: hot and dry
July is traditionally the hottest month of the year, and July 2012 is likely to set more all-time heat records. The latest predictions from the GFS and ECMWF models show that a ridge of high pressure and dry conditions will dominate the weather over about 80 - 90% of the country during the next two weeks, except for the Pacific Northwest and New England. This will bring wicked hot conditions to most of the nation, but no all-time heat records are likely to fall. However, around July 11, a sharp ridge of high pressure is expected to build in over the Western U.S., bringing the potential for crazy-hot conditions capable of toppling all-time heat records in many western states.

The intense heat and lack of rain, combined with soils that dried out early in the year due to lack of snowfall, have led to widespread areas of moderate to extreme drought over much of the nation's grain growing regions, from Kansas to Indiana. The USDA is reporting steadily deteriorating crop conditions for corn and soybeans, and it is likely that a multi-billion dollar drought disaster is underway in the Midwest.

The wunderground Extremes page has an interactive map that allows one to look at the records for the 298 U.S. cities that Mr. Burt tracks. Click on the "Wunderground U.S. Records" button to see them.

Quiet in the Atlantic
There are no threat areas to discuss in the Atlantic, and none of the reliable computer models are developing a tropical cyclone over the next seven days.

Have a great 4th of July holiday, everyone, and I'll be back Thursday with a new post.

Jeff Masters

Sheep Mountain Ablaze! (turbguy)
The Squirrel Creek Fire spread rapidly last night, and topped the crest of Sheep Mountain as we watched last night. This is a telephoto shot from our west patio. The line of light below the fire is Harmony Wyoming. Sheep mountain is 22 air miles away from us...
Sheep Mountain Ablaze!
Derecho Damage (apphotos)
A woman makes a photograph of Mike Wolfe's pick-up truck as it lies under a fallen tree in front of his house after a severe storm in Falls Church, Va., Saturday, June 30, 2012. Wolfe's daughter Samanth Wolfe created the for sale sign as a joke. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)
Derecho Damage
Derecho in Catlett (Lokigrins2)
Ground strike reflected off car
Derecho in Catlett
Mink Creek Fire (troxygirl48)
Fire currently burning on mink creek to johnny creek. the fire has claimed 10 house that i know of. My hearts go out to the families.
Mink Creek Fire

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Blob with spin shown by Grothar here off the NC coast will or won't develop? NHC determining what's going to happen with it now perhaps? Maybe another yellow circle tonight? Atlantic side giving us more action than we expected two days ago that's for sure.
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Pressure down to 1005mb, still a TD...

Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 82 Comments: 7613
Quoting Grothar:


I suppose you went back and looked? No wonder Kori wants to slap you. :)

;)
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Quoting washingtonian115:
I paid attention.....just didn't think anything would come from it.


Sure!! (How you doing Wash?)
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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:

No you didn't Gro.


I suppose you went back and looked? No wonder Kori wants to slap you. :)
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It's frontal according to the HPC/NHC:

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I stumbled upon these charts, I'd been looking for them for quite a while now and as you can see, we've had a significant improvement in rainfall over last year so far.


2012


2011



Who remembers 2007? That was bizarre. I don't think it broke 100 in the Dallas area that summer.

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Quoting Grothar:


I told you that you people don't pay attention. I posted it last night. tsk tsk


No you didn't Gro.
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Quoting Grothar:


I told you that you people don't pay attention. I posted it last night. tsk tsk

I paid attention.....just didn't think anything would come from it.
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Quoting WxGeekVA:


WHOA THERE WHERE DID THAT COME FROM?!?!?!


I told you that you people don't pay attention. I posted it last night. tsk tsk

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Not sure if frontal...
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Nice to see that Puerto Rico and parts nearby are finally getting some of the needed rain that they have been waiting on...........
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Quoting ncstorm:
huge spin off the east coast
Just named it already! LOL
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Quoting susieq110:
The Daily Wind-Up
NEW TROPICAL DISCUSSION OUT
Tropical Wave/ Possible System in the Gulf by this weekend.
http://035d83b.netsolhost.com/

I don't see a gulf system anytime soon.All though shear is favorable in the gulf ATM.
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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:


WHOA THERE WHERE DID THAT COME FROM?!?!?!
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Having a nice show of lightning with this thunderstorm on the weast in Puerto Rico. Happy 4th of july to all!
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huge spin off the east coast
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Under Bush we lost five million jobs, Obama inherited this mess and we lost another two million. Things have incredibly turned around with the creation of about 3.5 million or so jobs so far under Obama. Under Bush we didn't pay for either war, and at the same time we were giving hundreds of billions to the top five percent (Bush tax cuts) while shedding millions of jobs for average Americans. It was evil incarnate, and the fact they (The Right) have hoodwinked millions of Americans to think otherwise is really scary. We are now a Democracy in name only in so many ways. So while we celebrate the Fourth today, let us remember; what takes generations to achieve: Freedom, Democracy of and for the people, and so much more can easily be lost in a generation if not safeguarded by true Patriots.
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Quoting 19N81W:
The NHC has given that area in the eastern caribbean a yellow circle of 0%. I am wondering if it has a 0% chance of developing why put a circle around?

Because people will otherwise complain that the NHC folks are blind as bats or are willfully ignoring the obvious. The NHC can't win.
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New special update on my blog in lieu of the eastern Caribbean tropical wave and the new blob offshore of the northeastern United States...check it out!
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Quoting Guysgal:


Dude-you are so correct in your assessment. It's gonna go down worse than any science fiction flick has ever postulated. Food wars, water wars, oil wars, habitable climate wars, they are all ahead. All of the optimistic geeks who hold up technology as our savior are just praying to to a different Deity! If they think we can undo all the ecological harm done to our world since we surpassed the population that the planet could support (6 million, the population of NYC for instance), they are just whistling Dixie her lost(another lost cause by the way). The oligarchs will just buy the Arctic Circle and their minions will kill on sight, the Religious Right will try to find God's will in it, and the rest of us are just gonna shrivel in the heat and die.


So you going to sit on your hands and watch it play out?

Or are you going to do something to keep the worst from happening?
Member Since: February 22, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 1344
Quoting Grothar:


I just posted that, Nigel. Pay attention! :)

Yeah, i was distracted...lol.
Member Since: November 6, 2010 Posts: 11 Comments: 7849
Al Roker blogged this morning that hurricanes are a bad thing...especially if they are Cat 5. " Someday, we will have a Cat 7, and that will be really bad".

Stephanie Abrams could not be reached for comment, and Cantore is heading to Wilmington.

I cant wait for Warner Wolf to take over this blog. Its coming.
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Quoting Tribucanes:
Bob Wallace, I love optimism! I just see no energy worldwide to spur this change in the short term though. All the money is being spent to stop said changes in most quarters. As a realist I can only state what I see coming down the pipeline, but as long as there are smart, sincere, thinkers like you Bob and so many more here then, even I, hold out some hope that all hope is not lost in this cause. We need to elect more who think like you then Bob; you got a couple tens of millions to run?


Much of the rest of the world is charging ahead of the US when it comes to renewable energy.

China is leaving us in the smoke. China just raised their goal for installed solar to 21 gigawatts by 2015. Their original 2015 target was 5GW. China already has installed more wind than we have.

India is starting to move very quickly toward wind and solar.

Southern Australia is going to be 100% coal free this year. (And I don't think there's much natural gas in their mix.)

Germany has done an incredible job of installing solar. And now they are charging forward with offshore wind.

Here's a site, CleanTechnia, that specializes in reporting real stuff happening now. Read some of the stuff linked on the left hand side of the page - Wind, Solar, Clean Energy Now.

Link

And, yes, we need to elect leaders who will lead us into a cleaner, more comfortable future. We've got a chance to do that in November.
Member Since: February 22, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 1344
SPECIAL WEATHER STATEMENT
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE SAN JUAN PR
249 PM AST WED JUL 4 2012

PRC001-023-067-079-081-083-093-097-121-125-153-04 1945-
HORMIGUEROS PR-LAJAS PR-LARES PR-MARICAO PR-SABANA GRANDE PR-
SAN GERMAN PR-YAUCO PR-ADJUNTAS PR-LAS MARIAS PR-CABO ROJO PR-
MAYAGUEZ PR-
249 PM AST WED JUL 4 2012

...SIGNIFICANT WEATHER ADVISORY FOR STRONG THUNDERSTORMS OVER
MARICAO...

AT 242 PM AST...A LINE OF STRONG THUNDERSTORMS OVER MARICAO IS
PRODUCING TORRENTIAL RAIN...STRONG GUSTY WINDS BETWEEN 30 TO 50 MPH
AND DANGEROUS CLOUD TO GROUND LIGHTNING AS MOVES TO THE WEST AT 20
MPH. THIS LINE WILL CONTINUE TO AFFECT THE WESTERN INTERIOR AND
WESTERN INTERIOR AND THE SOUTHWEST SECTIONS OF PUERTO RICO THROUGH
AT LEAST 3:45 PM AST.

HEAVY RAINS MAY FLOOD LOW LYING AREAS SUCH AS DITCHES AND
UNDERPASSES. AVOID THESE AREAS AND DO NOT CROSS FLOODED ROADS AS
THEY MAY BE WASHED OUT. WATER LEVELS OF SMALL STREAMS AND RIVERS MAY
ALSO RISE QUICKLY...THEREFORE SEEK HIGHER GROUND IF THREATENED BY
FLOOD WATERS.

INTENSE LIGHTNING IS REPORTED WITH THIS LINE OF STORMS. IF
OUTDOORS...STAY AWAY FROM ISOLATED HIGH OBJECTS SUCH AS TREES. MOVE
INDOORS IF POSSIBLE. WHEN INDOORS...STAY AWAY FROM WINDOWS AND DOORS
AND AVOID USING TELEPHONES UNLESS IT IS AN EMERGENCY. TRY TO UNPLUG
UNNECESSARY ELECTRICAL APPLIANCES BEFORE THE THUNDERSTORM APPROACHES.

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Quoting nigel20:


I just posted that, Nigel. Pay attention! :)
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The Daily Wind-Up
NEW TROPICAL DISCUSSION OUT
Tropical Wave/ Possible System in the Gulf by this weekend.
http://035d83b.netsolhost.com/

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Member Since: November 6, 2010 Posts: 11 Comments: 7849
Repost from earlier.

Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:

I just wrote a new blog for today.

Tropical Depression Four-E forms, disturbance behind it likely to form as well
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Quoting PensacolaDoug:


Electric cars run on coal and natural gas.
Solar panels? I guess we can buy them by the gazillion from China now that the manufacturers here have folded even tho they recieved about a billion bucks from Obama. Just think of all those good American jobs that would be created if the pipeline from Canada was approved. Oil and it's derivatives are here to stay. Realville.


You know, Doug, this old world just keeps on changing.

A few years back our grid supply was 56% from coal.

This year it's under 36%

This year our grid supply is more than 4% wind.

We're on track to hit 1% from solar by 2015.

Fossil fuels are on the decrease. Renewables are on the increase, actually their rates of installation are accelerating.

Oil is not here to stay. Give us some better and more affordable EV batteries and oil will go the way of feedbags for ol' Dobbin.

Electricity is a significantly cheaper way to haul our behinds around. An EV using 0.32kWh/mile and charging with $0.12/kWh electricity costs less than four cents per mile.

To get driving that cheap with a 50mpg gasmobile you'd have to find some $2/gallon gas. (Even cheaper when you add in higher maintenance costs for fuel vehicles.)

And the really sad thing for gasmobiles is that late night charging costs are likely to be well under 12 cents per kWh. People will vote for EVs with their wallets.

--

The pipeline from Canada would have created a few hundred jobs for a couple of years. We'll likely still built it, the oil companies have a lot of political power. But all it will do is bring us some incredibly dirty oil from Canada (still ship our dollars over the boarder) and dig us deeper into the CO2 hole.

Member Since: February 22, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 1344
Quoting barbamz:


Sigh, everything is difficult, and there is always an unsuspected backslash:

Spiegel report from today:
Sunny Business
Germans Cough Up for Solar Subsidies


Altmaier ist ein Esel!
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16Z RAP 1KM Simulated Radar has a potent line of storms coming through my area around 10:00 tonight:



Click for da Loop-de-Loop
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04E
Member Since: November 6, 2010 Posts: 11 Comments: 7849


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Potent storms in Northern Minnesota... One can see both the cold and warm fronts because the lines of storms are on both.
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Quoting Patrap:


We grow a LOT of SugarCane down here, and well, we can run that as Ethanol till they catch up.

No schweat...







But you don't want to live next to that sugarcane field when they burn it!!
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Quoting PensacolaDoug:


Electric cars run on coal and natural gas.
Solar panels? I guess we can buy them by the gazillion from China now that the manufacturers here have folded even tho they recieved about a billion bucks from Obama. Just think of all those good American jobs that would be created if the pipeline from Canada was approved. Oil and it's derivatives are here to stay. Realville.


Sigh, everything is difficult, and there is always an unsuspected backslash:

Spiegel report from today:
Sunny Business
Germans Cough Up for Solar Subsidies
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Home movies from Hades, no it's actually Colorado! Link
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Antilles radar
Member Since: November 6, 2010 Posts: 11 Comments: 7849
So we have to become vegetarian in order to save the planet?.I'm eating steak right now.Mmmm mmm.
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Quoting WxGeekVA:
On the topic of the Higgs Boson:



Hope I don't offend anyone


I'm a Christian, but I'm not offended. It is sort of humorous, actually. Regardless, it's not like the "God particle" proves or disproves God's existence.
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Quoting washingtonian115:
I'm thinking "trough split" when I see that for some odd reason.
Maybe we will get Ernesto out of it. they are very common in July like Bret and Cindy last year.and Beryl and the unnamed system in 2006.
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Quoting BobWallace:


How about using some common sense, Doug?

We don't need to stop driving cars. We just need to do most of our driving with electricity from renewable sources. About 85% of our driving days are less than 40 miles. We could switch to PHEVs, do 85% of our driving with electricity, the 15% of longer days with oil, or better, biofuels.

We should soon have affordable EVs with sufficient range to allow us to do 100% of our driving with electricity.

We don't need to limit the size of our houses. We need to make our houses more efficient. We know how to build houses which require little additional heat and we can produce the electricity needed from renewable sources. Buildings should have solar panels to run their AC.

We do need to cut down on the amount of beef we eat. The amount and the methods we now use are hurting us.

More gardening and farming closer to point of consumption would be a help. But we can move food around using electricity.

We gain nothing by over the top statements of how "We've got to go back to living in caves to satisfy the greenies".

We have solutions right now that would cut our use of fossil fuels to an acceptable level. And our power and transportation would be cheaper than it now is.

Furthermore, just think of all those good American jobs which would be created if we would stop our political fighting and get on with the job of transforming our energy systems.


Electric cars run on coal and natural gas.
Solar panels? I guess we can buy them by the gazillion from China now that the manufacturers here have folded even tho they recieved about a billion bucks from Obama. Just think of all those good American jobs that would be created if the pipeline from Canada was approved. Oil and it's derivatives are here to stay. Realville.
Member Since: July 25, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 551
Wonder if this wave keeps up it's appearance and winds if we'll get the 10% bump tonight.
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Quoting Tropicsweatherpr:


Hi 115. IMO,they mentioned it because of reports from some of the islands of gusts to TS force that this wave is bringing.
Hello .Oh okay.I guess to give people a heads of the conditions it's bringing.
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Quoting washingtonian115:
I'm not to sure why the NHC even mentioned this area when it has unfavorable conditions working against it.Let's see high shear dry air..


Hi 115. IMO,they mentioned it because of reports from some of the islands of gusts to TS force that this wave is bringing.
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216 hours out

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Quoting ncstorm:
192 hours out
I'm thinking "trough split" when I see that for some odd reason.
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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.