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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Wind farm on dual-pol, 0.5 degree tilt, VCP 32. Color legend is for the ZDR.

Reflectivity: upper-left
Correlation coefficient: upper-right
ZDR: lower-left
KDP: lower-right

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Baha... u still here?
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Politician said people are sick of power outages. Wants power outages to not happen. Can't remember the clown's name, but the sad truth is, this is the new norm. This was an act of God, equal to what a strong cat. 4 hurricane would do to a region. If this heat doesn't break this summer more wind events will have people sweating it out again soon enough. Power companies totally overwhelmed by this. Working 14-18 hour days they are just as miserable as the people they're trying to help. Bottom line, this just sucks; best to get used to it.
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Quoting Titoxd:


Has anyone captured the wind turbine reflectivity returns in dual-pol radar? I wonder how the turbines would look when looking at the Correlation Coefficient display...


26 nautical miles north of KMKX is a wind farm that continually shows up on the lowest radar tilt. Just took a screen shot, correlation coefficient on the right.

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Huge area in SC/NC/VA



click to read discussion
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Quoting Tribucanes:
Over one million still without power for Mid Atlantic states. May not be until the weekend that many get power back. Ouch.


Those of us who have lived in the high heat with no electric, be it after a hurricane or due to other reasons, can really sympathize. I pray everyone is looking out for each other, especially the elderly and the medically fragile.
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96E RGB

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Over one million still without power for Mid Atlantic states. May not be until the weekend that many get power back. Ouch.
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You know, I hate being unable to go out to the Rockies in the summer whenever I feel like it. But I gotta tell ya, after looking at these images of the fires out there, I'm kinda glad I'm not able to go this summer. I think seeing some of this stuff in person would be heartbreaking.... and that's just for a visitor.

My heart goes out to residents, and especially to those who have lost homes and loved ones in these fires....
Member Since: October 25, 2005 Posts: 19 Comments: 22680
Quoting Titoxd:


Has anyone captured the wind turbine reflectivity returns in dual-pol radar? I wonder how the turbines would look when looking at the Correlation Coefficient display...


I dunno. Polarization would be screwed up too as it would probably interpret blades as hydrometers rapidly changing shape; sometimes symmetric, sometimes oblate in either axis, so you'd end up with a scatter of precip types.
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HAPPY FOURTH OF JULY
TO ALL MY FRIENDS
SOUTH OF THE BORDER
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Good to see you SJ, been a while
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Afternoon everybody. I was off the blog yesterday, and thus missed all the excitement of the Doc's big announcement. [I gotta tell u, that is one entry I'm going to go back and read ALL the blog posts on... I can imagine the consternation on the part of bloggers everywhere....]

I posted the following on Shaun Tanner's excellent blog a little while ago, but I thought it would be worth sharing with the wider blogging community.

As an international blogger, I hope u guys at Wunderground have clearly expressed to the higherups at TWC the fact that this is a site with WORLDWIDE membership and interests. For those of us in the tropics, a huge part of what makes Wunderground so great is the unity of the membership across international boundaries - literally around the globe. There is a real comfort to blogging with others who are on the front lines of tropical weather, both in and outside the Atlantic basin, and I'd hate to see that community shrink or be destroyed because the "new" management doesn't understand how important the "no boundaries" policy of Wunderground really is.

Other than that, I'm taking a wait-and-see policy with TWC-NBC. It could be a very good thing. Unfortunately, while at heart I'm an optimist, I'm also by experience a cynic...

Hopefully the "new management" will allow our WunderAdmin to continue to do their usual fine job in meeting the needs of our community.

Member Since: October 25, 2005 Posts: 19 Comments: 22680
Quoting StormJunkie:


Good to see ya red. QuickLinks. There may be a couple on there that require a little extra navigation, or are no longer active...But majority of them are good and still there.

Added (re-added!) and thanks.
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I'd like to say i've been a lurker for atleast 4-5 years now and have decided to make a account. I love reading everyones different opinions on these topics. So hello and I hope to enjoy talking to everyone.
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Quoting redwagon:


Wow, long time no see. Can you give the relink your current preferred sites?


Good to see ya red. QuickLinks. There may be a couple on there that require a little extra navigation, or are no longer active...But majority of them are good and still there.
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A line of severe weather has just sort of developed from Atlanta to Macon. All this rain combined with the rain on Sunday night should hopefully help put a dent in this D4 drought.
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Quoting skycycle:
If (or when) Invest 96e reaches hurricane strength, for how long do you see it sustaining that? Is the potential there for Cat4/5 early in the season?
yes they can be I expect a peak of cat 3 or 4 for this system.
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Quoting StormJunkie:
Glad to see all is starting to return to normal around here to some extent.

Great picture of the Squirrel Creek fire in Masters blog. That is the same shot as seen in this live video.


Wow, long time no see. Can you give the relink your current preferred sites?
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Quoting skycycle:
If (or when) Invest 96e reaches hurricane strength, for how long do you see it sustaining that? Is the potential there for Cat4/5 early in the season?


Well Bud was a major Hurricane this year on May 24th.

Last year Hurricane Adrian was a 140MPH CAT 4 on June 9th.

So yes....
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Quoting NoNamePub:

Lets hope not.....I don't want a storm in my fair state


I'll keep it on a short leash.
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Ann Arbor under a severe T-storm warning and Oakland/ Macomb counties under severe/ flash flood warnings.Link
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remove
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 115435
Glad to see all is starting to return to normal around here to some extent.

Great picture of the Squirrel Creek fire in Masters blog. That is the same shot as seen in this live video.
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Quoting Progster:


If it is a wind farm causing the false returns then it is very difficult to mask as the signal varies with the speed and direction of the blades. Terrain masking is possible because terrain (except in California) is stationary.


Has anyone captured the wind turbine reflectivity returns in dual-pol radar? I wonder how the turbines would look when looking at the Correlation Coefficient display...
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the left side green back shade is freaky to me.. Looks like somone
Member Since: April 23, 2011 Posts: 104 Comments: 14873
Quoting aislinnpaps:


Patrap and MTWX,
Same here. I hear the thunder every afternoon and it's raining somewhere nearby, but never 'here'. My garden would love some rain.
I hope you get some rain soon.
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I have never been one to bite my tongue so here goes..... There have been terrible storms from the midwest to the east coast this last week, added to that is the extreme heat. Many, many people are without power. The elderly usually pay dearly. I have watched the news and felt heartbroken for these people, and everyone else for that matter. BUT... the local elected officials feel the need to blame the power companies thinking that this will put the flower in their lapel for future elections. These "Elected officials" are totally ignorant to the enormity of the situation. Many of the roads are impassable to the power companies. These fine young men and women are working 16 to 20 hour shifts to restore power and these "WIMPS" still are looking for the mighty vote. It is a shame what is happenning , but please don't blame the workers... They are honestly doing the best they can under these terrible situations.
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761

WHXX04 KWBC 031739

CHGQLM

ATTENTION...NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER



NCEP COUPLED GFDL HURRICANE MODEL FORECAST MADE FOR



TROPICAL DEPRESSION INVEST 96E



INITIAL TIME 12Z JUL 3



DISCLAIMER ... THIS INFORMATION IS PROVIDED AS GUIDANCE. IT

REQUIRES INTERPRETATION BY HURRICANE SPECIALISTS AND SHOULD

NOT BE CONSIDERED AS A FINAL PRODUCT. PLEASE SEE THE TPC/NHC

OFFICIAL FORECAST.





FORECAST STORM POSITION



HOUR LATITUDE LONGITUDE HEADING/SPEED(KT)



0 9.9 101.3 290./ 5.0

6 11.4 101.1 7./15.7

12 12.1 101.5 331./ 7.2

18 13.1 102.3 321./13.1

24 13.7 103.6 297./13.5

30 14.2 104.5 300./10.6

36 14.6 105.3 296./ 8.8

42 15.2 106.2 302./ 9.6

48 15.5 107.0 292./ 9.1

54 15.6 108.0 274./ 9.8

60 15.6 109.0 273./ 9.0

66 15.7 109.8 272./ 7.8

72 15.8 110.7 276./ 9.0

78 15.9 111.4 280./ 6.9

84 16.0 112.3 281./ 8.3

90 16.0 112.9 269./ 6.4

96 16.2 113.7 283./ 7.7

102 16.4 114.6 279./ 8.2

108 16.5 115.3 280./ 7.6

114 16.6 116.1 283./ 7.1

120 17.0 117.0 290./ 9.2

126 17.2 117.8 285./ 8.5


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865

WHXX01 KMIA 031826

CHGE77

TROPICAL CYCLONE GUIDANCE MESSAGE

NWS NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL

1826 UTC TUE JUL 3 2012



DISCLAIMER...NUMERICAL MODELS ARE SUBJECT TO LARGE ERRORS.

PLEASE REFER TO NHC OFFICIAL FORECASTS FOR TROPICAL CYCLONE

AND SUBTROPICAL CYCLONE INFORMATION.



EAST PACIFIC OBJECTIVE AIDS FOR



DISTURBANCE INVEST (EP962012) 20120703 1800 UTC



...00 HRS... ...12 HRS... ...24 HRS. .. ...36 HRS...

120703 1800 120704 0600 120704 1800 120705 0600



LAT LON LAT LON LAT LON LAT LON

BAMS 10.7N 102.4W 11.5N 104.1W 12.4N 105.7W 13.2N 107.3W

BAMD 10.7N 102.4W 11.0N 104.0W 11.4N 105.5W 11.9N 107.1W

BAMM 10.7N 102.4W 11.3N 104.1W 12.0N 105.7W 12.7N 107.4W

LBAR 10.7N 102.4W 11.3N 104.0W 12.1N 106.2W 12.9N 108.6W

SHIP 30KTS 39KTS 49KTS 59KTS

DSHP 30KTS 39KTS 49KTS 59KTS



...48 HRS... ...72 HRS... ...96 HRS. .. ..120 HRS...

120705 1800 120706 1800 120707 1800 120708 1800



LAT LON LAT LON LAT LON LAT LON

BAMS 14.0N 109.0W 15.7N 112.4W 17.4N 116.7W 19.1N 122.3W

BAMD 12.4N 108.7W 13.3N 111.7W 14.4N 114.9W 16.0N 118.6W

BAMM 13.4N 109.1W 14.8N 112.5W 16.0N 116.5W 17.3N 121.0W

LBAR 13.7N 111.0W 15.0N 116.1W 15.3N 120.7W 16.5N 123.8W

SHIP 68KTS 73KTS 72KTS 73KTS

DSHP 68KTS 73KTS 72KTS 73KTS



...INITIAL CONDITIONS...

LATCUR = 10.7N LONCUR = 102.4W DIRCUR = 285DEG SPDCUR = 8KT

LATM12 = 10.3N LONM12 = 100.8W DIRM12 = 285DEG SPDM12 = 8KT

LATM24 = 9.9N LONM24 = 99.4W

WNDCUR = 30KT RMAXWD = 45NM WNDM12 = 25KT

CENPRS = 1005MB OUTPRS = 1009MB OUTRAD = 150NM SDEPTH = M

RD34NE = 0NM RD34SE = 0NM RD34SW = 0NM RD34NW = 0NM



$$

NNNN


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Ughh... :( It's too hot, even for FL. standards.
LOL at the 77 in Ruskin.

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Quoting allancalderini:
If 96E become Daniel and it go to Hawaii it will clearly state that this name hates Hawaii. past Daniel`s have done the same.
Lets hope not.....I don't want a storm in my fair state
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Quoting TheOnlyBravesFan:
Severe t'storms in Central Ga...





Sunday night the 108 degree heat here in Macon broke into one of the best storms I had ever seen. Luckily there was no danger but it was a phenomenal wind and light show. Got a good 3 inches in 30 mins too.
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Dvorak Fixes Storm History
DATE TIME LAT LON CLASSIFICATION ID NAME
20120703 1745 11.2 102.8 T1.5/1.5 96E 96E
20120703 1145 10.4 102.1 T1.5/1.5 96E 96E
20120703 0545 10.0 99.1 T1.0/1.0 96E 96E
20120702 2345 9.5 99.5 T1.0/1.0 96E 96E
No Microwave Fixes for 96E
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Just had extremely heavy rain, .5" hail, and light winds. Another warned storm headed toward me.
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Quoting MAweatherboy1:

I agree... I can't really figure out what it's missing...


The requirements to name or number a storm are when it comes withing 500 nautical miles of land... so warnings can be issued, IIRC. Land where people live, obviously, no warnings for coconut trees.
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Severe t'storms in Central Ga...



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Quoting aislinnpaps:
91

Really?? I have never posted about rules, but please go read them

Agreed...that's very insulting.
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Quoting aislinnpaps:
91

Really?? I have never posted about rules, but please go read them


just saying.... some people go over the top begging for a storm..
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Not sure if anyone has posted this, but I think it's pretty cool:

The US Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) researchers said recently that a Navy very high-resolution Doppler radar can actually spot individual raindrops in a cloudburst, possibly paving the way for new weather monitoring applications that could better track or monitor weather and severe storms.


Full story, with pictures
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Quoting aspectre:
37 Grothar: I've always wondered if someone on your staff could do a blog on the Ogallala Aquifer and what a severe drought could do to our crops.

There was a recent article in NatureGeoScience (or somesuch, possibly even in Science) that compared the state of the SanJoaquinAquifer (southernCentralValley of California) to that of the OgallalaAquifer.

Surprisingly, the HighPlainsAquifer is doing quite well, with significantly higher water levels than its historical lows. Apparently the farmers, the federal&state farm bureaus, and the various water management districts finally got the idea that it was less expensive to put in irrigation equipment that made more efficient usage of water than to drill/deepen new wells every few years and to spend ever more money for electricity/fuel to pump up that water.
Even the northern Texas portion was higher than the historical lows, even after last year's drought.
HOWEVER
The SanJoaquinAquifer that irrigates the "Nuts&FruitsBasket" of America is way WAY below historical levels. Choices are coming down to installing drip irrigation to each individual tree, or pulling out the trees and planting new crops. Either way, nut and fruit prices are expected to skyrocket in the next few years.


The California water situation is quite worrisome. The delta smelt case I'm sure is a big issue too. (San Antonio's water supply was also curtailed due to a little fish)


Some Texas farmers are gradually abandoning farming over the Ogallala. The population of that part of the state is decreasing.

The Ogallala doesn't "recharge" the way other aquifers recharge.
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91

Really?? I have never posted about rules, but please go read them
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If (or when) Invest 96e reaches hurricane strength, for how long do you see it sustaining that? Is the potential there for Cat4/5 early in the season?
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97. MTWX
Quoting seracfilms:
Any ideas? I live in Boulder, CO. Our NEXRAD (Denver) site always shows an intense echo (false) half way between Bouler, CO and Golden, CO along highway 93, it is there 24 hours a day 365 days a year. As a result we never get to see the actual complete radar picture for the area. Is there any thought as to why they don't filter the result from that spot, the NEXRAD people must be aware of the anomaly. Are there a lot of places with this kind of false echo - or is it a way to calibrate the maps? Thank you for any ideas!


The NEXRAD does not have the ability to have areas selectively filtered.

The main reason behind this is because when actual weather is within the filter area, it will not show up.
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Quoting MTWX:


You and me both!! They have been coming close enough to hear the thunder the last couple of days, but no rain...


Patrap and MTWX,
Same here. I hear the thunder every afternoon and it's raining somewhere nearby, but never 'here'. My garden would love some rain.
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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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