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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Quoting stillwaiting:
the aoi near hispaniola is being enhanced by ul divergence being caused by the tutt cell to its west,doubtful anything forms in the next 24-36hrs,maybe this weekend depending if it gets into the gom


The TUTT is also shearing the crap out of this thing
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the aoi near hispaniola is being enhanced by ul divergence being caused by the tutt cell to its west,doubtful anything forms in the next 24-36hrs,maybe this weekend depending if it gets into the gom
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Quoting Patrap:
TWC thing was a bad dream, Im glad it wasnt true.

Phew.....


In da states we have this concept of "Humor", u should try it once.

It dont hurt, much.

: )


Sure seems to hurt you a lot. Seeing as how you are always railing against it. At least from anyone but you, that is.
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BOOM:

luckily not many were back there

Link
try the 43 sec video

I have a video of it on an iphone, i will try to see what i can do with it
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Quoting trHUrrIXC5MMX:
nicely packed storm Daniel


does it have a CDO?
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nicely packed storm Daniel
Member Since: April 23, 2011 Posts: 104 Comments: 14871
Quoting ncstorm:


looks like the monsoon trough is lifting north in the sahel.

this could decrease the SAL
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Quoting GeorgiaStormz:


lucky.
So are we talking about htat wwave by PR now?


yea, the one that had a yellow on it yesterday
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Quoting weatherh98:


morning. i got to sleep in. have practice at 5 though


lucky.
So are we talking about htat wwave by PR now?
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1137. ncstorm
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Quoting ProgressivePulse:
No reason for any circles ATM as the wave is sitting in the jet axis.



not to mention the shear inhibiting any development in the next 48-72
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No reason for any circles ATM as the wave is sitting in the jet axis.

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Quoting GeorgiaStormz:
Fireworks show went over with a bang last night in the city of woodstock north of me where i was watching.

It started great, and then after a minute there was a defective firework that exploded very low and set of 20-30 more fireworks that were down by their launching pads.
Couldnt really see the explosions, but it sounded bad.
Luckily only 2 people suffered minor injuries, but it pretty much ended the show..


morning. i got to sleep in. have practice at 5 though
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1133. Patrap
TWC thing was a bad dream, Im glad it wasnt true.

Phew.....


In da states we have this concept of "Humor", u should try it once.

It dont hurt, much.

: )
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 421 Comments: 127695
Quoting Grothar:


They either get too much or too little.


Anyone else sing "Lothar of the Hill People" in their head every time Grothar posts?

Anyone??
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Quoting islander101010:
some spin there south of hispanola look for a yellow


we already had a yellow. they took it off
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Fireworks show went over with a bang last night in the city of woodstock north of me where i was watching.

It started great, and then after a minute there was a defective firework that exploded very low and set of 20-30 more fireworks that were down by their launching pads.
Couldnt really see the explosions, but it sounded bad.
Luckily only 2 people suffered minor injuries, but it pretty much ended the show..

the show did continue after a while, but a lot of people left
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if you check the latest sst anomalies, the 180W and 160W actually have cooled a little. we are on board with a weak el nino in september forming. right now the atmosphere is neutral and the gulf is boiling hot
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some spin there south of hispanola look for a yellow
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Quoting Tropicsweatherpr:
Here comes El Nino. CPC July update made today has the news.

Link


Its coming faster than most of us thought
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1126. ncstorm


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Here comes El Nino. CPC July update made today has the news.

Link
Member Since: April 29, 2009 Posts: 75 Comments: 14073
on a better keybd sorry ive read some of herberts old books. there were lots of debatable issues back then. still are today. the library is loaded with volumns of hurricane info. this season hopefully does shut down like taz and others are saying. but sheared tw's are dangerous too "stormtops" k one for example
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this wave is funny because its getting sheared so bad thatt the low is ROUGHLY south of port au prince and the rain is around PR.

you can see it on the TPW
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Quoting SFLWeatherman:
That is one big tropical wave


Euro has it slipping in the west coast of florida. it looks like it will go somewhere round florida. WATCH OUT
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That is one big tropical wave
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Quoting StormTracker2K:


Yup! It looks like it is going to interact with an upper trough early next week across the SE US. As that happens shear will be non-existant. So the area around FL and the Bahamas will need to be watched for a tropical surprise.


What Was

000
FXUS62 KMFL 030740
AFDMFL

AREA FORECAST DISCUSSION
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE MIAMI FL
340 AM EDT TUE JUL 3 2012

A SERIES OF SHORT WAVES...MOVING
OVER THE TOP OF THE DEEP RIDGE AND MOVING SE OVER THE GREAT LAKES
AND THE NEW ENGLAND REGION...DEEPENS AN UPPER TROUGH SE ALONG THE
E U.S. COAST...THE ADJACENT N ATLC AND OVER THE FLA PENINSULA THURS
-DAY NIGHT AND INTO THE WEEKEND. THIS SHOVES THE UPPER RIDGE TO THE
W AND LEAVES THE FLA PENINSULA IN A COL AREA BETWEEN THE HIGH TO THE
W AND THE ATLC RIDGE WHICH WILL PERSIST THROUGH THE WEEKEND AND INTO
EARLY NEXT WEEK.


What is now

000
FXUS62 KMFL 051118
AFDMFL

AREA FORECAST DISCUSSION
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE MIAMI FL
ISSUED 329 AM EDT THU JUL 5 2012

..A DEEPENING TROUGH OVER THE GREAT LAKES REGION WILL EXTENDS SW
INTO THE SOUTHERN GREAT PLAINS SHOVING THE HIGH PRESSURE SYSTEM IN
THE CENTRAL U.S. WESTWARD WITH THE ATLC RIDGE BECOMING DOMINANT OVER
OVER THE FLA PENINSULA
. AT THE SURFACE AND LOW LEVELS OF THE ATMO
-SPHERE... A RIDGE FROM THE ATLC WILL EXTENDS WESTWARD OVER THE FLA
PENINSULA. THROUGH THIS PERIOD...THE POSITIONING OF THE SURFACE
/UPPER HIGH PRESSURE SYSTEMS KEEP S FLA IN A FAIRLY DEEP EASTERLY
WIND FLOW.
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Quoting weathermanwannabe:
I'm out.....Have a great day folks and remember and pray for the Farmers in the mid-West. Dr. M. alluded to a crop pending crop disaster and here is the am story on MSNBC. A real bad situation unfolding.

Fears of new Dust Bowl as heat, drought shrivel corn in Midwest


Link


sad because the corn is fantastic this year.
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I'm out.....Have a great day folks and remember and pray for the Farmers in the mid-West. Dr. M. alluded to a crop pending crop disaster and here is the am story on MSNBC. A real bad situation unfolding.

Fears of new Dust Bowl as heat, drought shrivel corn in Midwest


Link
Member Since: August 8, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 8850
Quoting Grothar:


OH, YEAH, Well, one lesson I learned years ago was never argue with a leatherneck. :)


I hit a leatherneck on time in gitmo. Got the ___ whipping of my life as my CO laughed.

Lessen learned
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Quoting ILwthrfan:


The Gulf has exploded temperature wise since Debby has left the area.

June 25th.



July 3rd



and its gotten even hotter since the third

there are some 31s and 32s celcius off the LA coast.

i can asure you they are thst hot too, went swimming out there yesterday
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Quoting weatherh98:


at least that water hasnt had a TON of time to warm up



Its still hot but it isnt more than 82 as oppossed to the LA coast

temps of about 90


The Gulf has exploded temperature wise since Debby has left the area.

June 25th.



July 3rd

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1114. ncstorm

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Quoting cyclonekid:
TS Daniel at 11pm.

EP, 04, 2012070512, , BEST, 0, 141N, 1100W, 35, 1003, TS, 34, NEQ, 30, 0, 0, 0, 1008, 210, 30, 0, 0, E, 0, , 0, 0, DANIEL, M,


yup. saw that. as i said earlierr though

3.4 / 995.5mb/ 53.0kt

ADT numbers are high


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TS Daniel at 11am.

EP, 04, 2012070512, , BEST, 0, 141N, 1100W, 35, 1003, TS, 34, NEQ, 30, 0, 0, 0, 1008, 210, 30, 0, 0, E, 0, , 0, 0, DANIEL, M,
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already haing storms building over the south US

even an outflow bndry



up near colombus...
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SPECIAL MARINE WARNING
AMZ732-051330-
/O.NEW.TJSJ.MA.W.0027.120705T1256Z-120705T1330Z/

BULLETIN - IMMEDIATE BROADCAST REQUESTED
SPECIAL MARINE WARNING
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE SAN JUAN PR
856 AM AST THU JUL 5 2012

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN SAN JUAN HAS ISSUED A

* SPECIAL MARINE WARNING FOR...
CARIBBEAN WATERS OF PUERTO RICO FROM 10 NM TO 17N...

* UNTIL 930 AM AST

* AT 851 AM AST...OVER CARIBBEAN WATERS OF PUERTO RICO FROM 10 NM TO
17N...OR ABOUT 53 NM SOUTH OF PUNTA VIENTO...MOVING NORTHWEST AT 20
KNOTS.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...

MARINERS CAN EXPECT GUSTY WINDS...HIGH WAVES...DANGEROUS LIGHTNING...
AND HEAVY RAINS. BOATERS SHOULD SEEK SAFE HARBOR IMMEDIATELY...UNTIL
THIS STORM PASSES.

FREQUENT LIGHTNING IS OCCURRING WITH THIS STORM. IF CAUGHT ON THE
OPEN WATER STAY BELOW DECK IF POSSIBLE...KEEP AWAY FROM UNGROUNDED
METAL OBJECTS.

&&

LAT...LON 1742 6634 1765 6585 1700 6540 1700 6574
TIME...MOT...LOC 1255Z 123DEG 21KT 1716 6570

$$
GV
Member Since: April 29, 2009 Posts: 75 Comments: 14073
Quoting islander101010:
bove1998?.times.have.changed..last.yr.2.landfalls .w ith.19.storms


More recent paper; 2010 by Klotzbach; interesting read as to the hybrid-modoki El Nino pattern:

The number of United States landfalls and normalized damage are reduced in El Niño years as well (e.g., Pielke and Landsea 1999, Elsner and Jagger 2006, Klotzbach 2010a). The reduction in activity due to ENSO is even more significant in the Caribbean than for the remainder of the tropical Atlantic (Gray 1984a, Klotzbach 2010b). ENSO has also been shown to have its most significant impact on TCs that form in the deep tropics (Kossin et al. 2010).

Recently, different types of ENSO have been analyzed. Kim et al. (2009) argue that East Pacific warm events reduce storm activity as discussed in many previous studies, while Central Pacific (or ENSO-Modoki) warm events may enhance storm activity along the Gulf of Mexico and in Central America due to a reduction of vertical wind shear. Lee et al. (2010) claim, however, that the enhanced storm activity seen in ENSO-Modoki events was largely due to the anomalously active years of 1969 and 2004, which both had larger-than-normal Atlantic Warm Pools (AWP), defined as the area of water warmer than 28.5°C comprising the Gulf of Mexico, Caribbean and western tropical North Atlantic. They argue that larger-than-normal AWPs are associated with reduced vertical shear, and therefore, the attribution of heightened activity due to ENSO-Modoki may be premature.


Member Since: August 8, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 8850
Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:


funny how the equitorial water looks below avg by the blue colors but is actually very hot
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Houston

LATEST OBS AND SATELLITE SHOW MAINLY CLEAR CONDITIONS WITH SOME
PATCHY FOR EARLY THIS MORNING. LOOKING AT LARGE SCALE...CONVECTIVE
SYSTEMS FORM RING OF FIRE AROUND PERIPHERY OF UPPER HIGH AND
CAPPED REGION...EXTENDING FROM WEST TEXAS TO NEBRASKA TO GREAT
LAKES REGION THEN DOWN TOWARD MID ATLANTIC.

LOOKING AT TODAY AND FRIDAY...EXPECTING SIMILAR CONDITIONS TO
YESTERDAY WITH A FEW SLOW MOVING THUNDERSTORMS DEVELOPING WITH
DAYTIME HEATING. MODEL SOUNDINGS SHOW VERY WEAK WINDS THROUGH
STORM DEPTH SO SHOULD BE PULSE TYPE STORMS AND VERY SLOW MOVING.
COULD SEE LOCALIZED HIGH RAIN AMOUNTS ALTHOUGH MOST AREAS WILL BE
DRY. YESTERDAY THERE WAS A SMALL AREA OF 2 TO 3 INCHES ON THE EAST
SIDE OF HOUSTON AS SEEN IN RADAR ESTIMATES AND RAIN GAUGES FROM
HARRIS COUNTY FLOOD CONTROL.

SATURDAY LOOKING AT BETTER CHANCE OF SCATTERED SHOWERS AND
STORMS...AS UPPER DISTURBANCE APPROACHES FROM THE EAST ON SOUTHERN
PERIPHERY OF UPPER HIGH. MOS GUIDANCE FOR NAM AND GFS REFLECT
THIS WITH HIGHER POPS FOR SATURDAY...AND THINKING WILL HAVE MORE
LIKE 30 TO 40 PCT COVERAGE THAT DAY. THOSE HIGHER POPS TO
CONTINUE THEN INTO NEXT WEEK WITH SCATTERED COVERAGE. GFS AND EC
ACTUALLY SHOW COLD FRONT GETTING CLOSE TO CWA MIDDLE OF NEXT WEEK
AND THIS COULD ALSO CONTRIBUTE TO THE FORMATION OF A FEW STORMS
ALTHOUGH THINK IT SHOULD WASH OUT BEFORE HAVING ANY MEANINGFUL
IMPACT ON TEMPERATURES FOR SOUTHEAST TEXAS.
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Quoting weatherh98:


this.year.2.landfalls.4.storms.
low.pressures.per.wind.velocity(ike).its.changed
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1105. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 169 Comments: 53308
Quoting islander101010:
bove1998?.times.have.changed..last.yr.2.landfalls .w ith.19.storms


this.year.2.landfalls.4.storms.
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Quoting GeoffreyWPB:


they are in the middle of the convection. another blob is moving north into PR
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bove1998?.times.have.changed..last.yr.2.landfalls.w ith.19.storms..easy.to.beat
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Quoting trHUrrIXC5MMX:


yeah. pretty much


Kinda interesting that the NHC didnt bump it up to like 45 MPH
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Quoting weatherh98:


more than likely AT LEAST 55 mph but those support 60 MPH.



yeah. pretty much
Member Since: April 23, 2011 Posts: 104 Comments: 14871
Quoting ILwthrfan:
Here is what is has been the last week or so in my area, max heat indexes have been in the area of 105-115 range for most of the time. No rain.

June 27th - 93
June 28th - 100
June 29th - 102
June 30th - 95
July 1st - 91
July 2nd - 97
July 3rd - 98
July 4th - 100
---------------
FORECAST:
July 5th - 100
July 6th - 104
July 7th - 100
July 8th - 91




Looks like youre in the middle of the death high.
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El Nino is coming for sure but we do not know yet how strong and the timing aspect in terms of Atlantic season shutdown. In any event, if El Nino effects were to establish themselves during Cape Verde time, the percentages for US landfall fall dramatically, but it only takes one to slip through. Here are some of the analog stats for the El Nino watchers:

ENSO’s Impact on Regional U.S. Hurricane Activity
SHAWN R. SMITH, JUSTIN BROLLEY, JAMES J. O’BRIEN, AND CARISSA A. TARTAGLIONE
Center for Ocean–Atmospheric Prediction Studies, The Florida State University, Tallahasse

Bove et al. (1998) also showed a decrease (increase)
in hurricane landfall probabilities in the United States during El Niño (La Niña) events. For the period of record 1900–97, the mean number of hurricanes to make landfall in the United States annually was 1.04 during El Niño years, 1.61 during neutral years, and 2.23 during La Niña years (Bove et al. 1998). For the same period, Bove et al. (1998) found the probability of two or more North Atlantic hurricanes making landfall anywhere along the U.S. coastline to be 28% during El Niño, 48% during the neutral phase, and 66% during La Niña.
Member Since: August 8, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 8850
Here is what is has been the last week or so in my area, max heat indexes have been in the area of 105-115 range for most of the time. No rain.

June 27th - 93
June 28th - 100
June 29th - 102
June 30th - 95
July 1st - 91
July 2nd - 97
July 3rd - 98
July 4th - 100
---------------
FORECAST:
July 5th - 100
July 6th - 104
July 7th - 100
July 8th - 91

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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.