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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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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Quoting trHUrrIXC5MMX:


maybe 50 - 60 mph?


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

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Quoting weathermanwannabe:
1072. StormTracker2K 8:23 AM EDT on July 05, 2012

That run eventually takes the wave near to where Debby parked off the coast of West Florida. That is what I don't like about where Debby ended up and where this wave is headed..........Trajectories headed towards Florida and the Gulf at the moment; could spell trouble in a few months if this ridging patterns keeps up.


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
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Quoting weathermanwannabe:
1072. StormTracker2K 8:23 AM EDT on July 05, 2012

That run eventually takes the wave near to where Debby parked off the coast of West Florida. That is what I don't like about where Debby ended up and where this wave is headed..........Trajectories headed towards Florida and the Gulf at the moment; could spell trouble in a few months if this ridging patterns keeps up.


I agree but the only fly in the ointment is this El-Nino building and how will the shear be near the west coast of Africa come August into September.
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Quoting weatherh98:


conservitive because the ADT numbers support 53 kts
CI# /Pressure/ Vmax
3.4 / 995.5mb/ 53.0kt


maybe 50 - 60 mph?
Member Since: April 23, 2011 Posts: 104 Comments: 14873
Quoting Tropicsweatherpr:
Daniel!!

EP, 04, 2012070512, , BEST, 0, 141N, 1100W, 35, 1005, TS


conservitive because the ADT numbers support 53 kts
CI# /Pressure/ Vmax
3.4 / 995.5mb/ 53.0kt
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1072. StormTracker2K 8:23 AM EDT on July 05, 2012

That run eventually takes the wave near to where Debby parked off the coast of West Florida. That is what I don't like about where Debby ended up and where this wave is headed..........Trajectories headed towards Florida and the Gulf at the moment; could spell trouble in a few months if this ridging patterns keeps up.
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Quoting StormTracker2K:


That is a strong signature of a strong El-nino building. This could basically shut down the Cape Verde Season. As Hurricane23 said anything that forms will like be close to home.
not.good.more.landfalls
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1088. Grothar
Quoting BahaHurican:
Morning Gro. Looks like PR is finally getting the moisture it was looking for...


They either get too much or too little.
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Quoting BahaHurican:
I think anything that happens isn't even expected before next week anyway... 3 days from now @ the earliest...I think the reason a couple models are suggesting some increase in vorticity W of the Bahamas is because the wave would be slowing as it approaches the "end" of the ridge....


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.
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Daniel!!

EP, 04, 2012070512, , BEST, 0, 141N, 1100W, 35, 1005, TS
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Quoting Tazmanian:
wind shear is way too strong form any thing too get going


I think anything that happens isn't even expected before next week anyway... 3 days from now @ the earliest...
Quoting weatherh98:


See Dat Shear?

heres another map then



20 knots is doable;however, with its forward motion i dont think it will happen
I think the reason a couple models are suggesting some increase in vorticity W of the Bahamas is because the wave would be slowing as it approaches the "end" of the ridge....
Member Since: October 25, 2005 Posts: 19 Comments: 22728
Quoting BahaHurican:
Morning Gro. Looks like PR is finally getting the moisture it was looking for...


Good morning. Yes,all the lakes are full again,the agriculture people are happy,no more forest fires and no more 90+ temperatures for now.
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Looks like a TUTT
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Quoting Patrap:
Thunderstorms, Tree downed, Ribs were Fab, Puppies were fun, Fireworks awesome.


Twas a fine Holiday break fo sho.





Nice civility here seems.

TWC thing was a bad dream, Im glad it wasnt true.

Phew.....



Um,,,, What you talking about Willis?




2012/07/05 UT1200 LAT 13.4 LON 110.4 Dvorak Intensity T3.5/3.5 04E NONAME





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Quoting Tazmanian:


That is a strong signature of a strong El-nino building. This could basically shut down the Cape Verde Season. As Hurricane23 said anything that forms will like be close to home.
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1080. icmoore
Quoting StormTracker2K:
It would be funny if FL got hit a 3rd Tropical Storm. It is possible as this wave could spin up fast off the SW FL coast early next week and then push up toward the big Bend of FL as Debby did a couple of weeks ago. Shear is expected to be light early next week so we will see.





I won't be laughing :)
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See Dat Shear?

heres another map then



20 knots is doable;however, with its forward motion i dont think it will happen
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Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 115454
wind shear is way too strong form any thing too get going


Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 115454
Good morning all. Maybe some relief coming up for some. :)

PRELIMINARY EXTENDED FORECAST DISCUSSION
NWS HYDROMETEOROLOGICAL PREDICTION CENTER CAMP SPRINGS MD
230 AM EDT THU JUL 05 2012

VALID 12Z MON JUL 09 2012 - 12Z THU JUL 12 2012


USED THE 12Z/04 ECENS MEAN FOR THE PRELIMINARY FRONTS AND
PRESSURES FOR DAYS 3 THROUGH 7. FOR THE PAST WEEK OF MODEL
CYCLES...THE ECENS MEAN HAS AFFORDED A BEST FIT FOR THE VARIOUS
GLOBAL DETERMINISTIC SOLUTIONS FOR THE FLOW PATTERN ACROSS CENTRAL
NORTH AMERICA. THE WEEK OF GUIDANCE HAS BEEN PARTICULARLY
STABLE...WITH ABOVE AVERAGE CONFIDENCE IN THE EVOLUTION TOWARD A
POSITIVE PNA PATTERN. THE NATION EAST OF THE ROCKIES WILL COOL
DOWN...WITH THE GULF OF MEXICO FUELING CONVECTION ALONG THE POLAR
FRONT IN REGIONS THAT HAVE SEEN LITTLE RAIN FOR SOME TIME.
WITH
THE RETROGRESSION AND BUILDING OF THE RIDGE INTO THE WEST...THE
HIGH HEAT WILL SHIFT TO THE PACIFIC SIDE OF THE CONTINENTAL
DIVIDE...WITH THE MONSOON DIMINISHING EARLY IN THE PERIOD.

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Morning Gro. Looks like PR is finally getting the moisture it was looking for...
Member Since: October 25, 2005 Posts: 19 Comments: 22728


50 - 60 mph
Member Since: April 23, 2011 Posts: 104 Comments: 14873
1073. Grothar
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Quoting weathermanwannabe:


I figured someone was going there after 48 looking at the lower sheer towards the Bahamas and Florida...But no model support for that scenario at the moment.... :)


Here's the Euro. Nothing official but notice the vort that strengthens as this comes up the eastern Gulf.



Then NE across S GA
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Quoting StormTracker2K:


We all agree but after 48 hours like later this weekend somewhere near S FL this may have an opportunity to spin up and it could hppen fast as shear will be very light and SST's are in the upper 80's across the FL Straits.


I figured someone was going there after 48 looking at the lower sheer towards the Bahamas and Florida...But no model support for that scenario at the moment.... :)
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72 hour wind shear forecast.

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Quoting weathermanwannabe:
Good Morning. While the wave near PR is firing plenty of convection, it is headed towards a band of 30 knots of sheer which is why NHC has the tropics "clear" for the next 48 hours and you can see it being sheered across the NW quadrant......Just Sayin.

Link


We all agree but after 48 hours like later this weekend somewhere near S FL this may have an opportunity to spin up and it could hppen fast as shear will be very light and SST's are in the upper 80's across the FL Straits.
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1067. islander101010 8:13 AM EDT on July 05, 2012

That bugger is also moving along at about 20-25 knots....Way too fast for any development...... :)
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A TROPICAL WAVE IS ALONG 22N64W IN THE ATLANTIC OCEAN...CUTTING
THROUGH THE CENTER OF PUERTO RICO...TO CURACAO IN THE
NETHERLANDS ANTILLES AND SOUTHEASTERN PART OF THE CARIBBEAN SEA.
SCATTERED STRONG CONVECTIVE PRECIPITATION IS FROM 15N TO 20N
BETWEEN 65W AND 69W. SCATTERED MODERATE TO ISOLATED STRONG
CONVECTIVE PRECIPITATION IS ELSEWHERE IN THE ATLANTIC OCEAN AND
IN THE CARIBBEAN SEA FROM 14N TO 24N BETWEEN 60W AND 71W..........dont.mention.speed
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Good Morning. While the wave near PR is firing plenty of convection, it is headed towards a band of 30 knots of sheer which is why NHC has the tropics "clear" for the next 48 hours and you can see it being sheered across the NW quadrant......Just Sayin.

Link
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Morning all. [Yawn] Need a cuppa java....

lol

Looks like that Twave will be over the Bahamas and Cuba by tomorrow sometime. Good onions.

Member Since: October 25, 2005 Posts: 19 Comments: 22728
It's going to be a very hot day across most of the Country.

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tws.racing.to.the.big.pond
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Quoting GeoffreyWPB:
From the Miami NWS Discussion...

THERE WILL
BE AN INCREASE AGAIN IN PRECIPITABLE WATER AS A TROPICAL WAVE...
CURRENTLY IN THE E CARIBBEAN AND OVER PUERTO RICO...WILL START TO
INFLUENCE THE S FLA AREA. THE THUNDERSTORMS...ESPECIALLY TODAY AND
FRIDAY WILL BE PULSE TYPE AND MAY AT TIMES BECOME STRONG WITH
FREQUENT LIGHTNING...LOCALLY HEAVY RAIN AND GUSTY WINDS.

LONG TERM...(SUNDAY-WEDNESDAY)...PRECIPITABLE WATER INCREASES TO
AROUND 2 INCHES SUNDAY WHICH WILL PERSIST THROUGH THE PERIOD DUE
TO THE AFORE-MENTIONED TROPICAL WAVE.



I was gonna post it for you but I see it finally worked on the image tab.
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Quoting GeoffreyWPB:
From the Miami NWS Discussion...

THERE WILL
BE AN INCREASE AGAIN IN PRECIPITABLE WATER AS A TROPICAL WAVE...
CURRENTLY IN THE E CARIBBEAN AND OVER PUERTO RICO...WILL START TO
INFLUENCE THE S FLA AREA. THE THUNDERSTORMS...ESPECIALLY TODAY AND
FRIDAY WILL BE PULSE TYPE AND MAY AT TIMES BECOME STRONG WITH
FREQUENT LIGHTNING...LOCALLY HEAVY RAIN AND GUSTY WINDS.

LONG TERM...(SUNDAY-WEDNESDAY)...PRECIPITABLE WATER INCREASES TO
AROUND 2 INCHES SUNDAY WHICH WILL PERSIST THROUGH THE PERIOD DUE
TO THE AFORE-MENTIONED TROPICAL WAVE.

http://images.intellicast.com/WxImages/SatelliteL oop/hicbsat_None_anim.gif


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From the Miami NWS Discussion...

THERE WILL
BE AN INCREASE AGAIN IN PRECIPITABLE WATER AS A TROPICAL WAVE...
CURRENTLY IN THE E CARIBBEAN AND OVER PUERTO RICO...WILL START TO
INFLUENCE THE S FLA AREA. THE THUNDERSTORMS...ESPECIALLY TODAY AND
FRIDAY WILL BE PULSE TYPE AND MAY AT TIMES BECOME STRONG WITH
FREQUENT LIGHTNING...LOCALLY HEAVY RAIN AND GUSTY WINDS.

LONG TERM...(SUNDAY-WEDNESDAY)...PRECIPITABLE WATER INCREASES TO
AROUND 2 INCHES SUNDAY WHICH WILL PERSIST THROUGH THE PERIOD DUE
TO THE AFORE-MENTIONED TROPICAL WAVE.
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The rest of the Country is in a drought while FL isn't anymore thanks to all of this tropical weather we have seen over the last 6 weeks. Some areas of FL have seen over 30" of rain in 6 weeks. Tampa saw nearly 20" of rain just last month alone!
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It would be funny if FL got hit a 3rd Tropical Storm. It is possible as this wave could spin up fast off the SW FL coast early next week and then push up toward the big Bend of FL as Debby did a couple of weeks ago. Shear is expected to be light early next week so we will see.



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Either way you slice a lot of rain is on tap again for FL as a tropical wave and upper trough over the SE team up to soak the heck out of FL.


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1055. WxLogic
Good Morning
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Nogaps has it too as ncstorm posted yesterday.

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I would not be surprised to tropical developement near the US next week. This vort energy west of Tampa on the Euro is this tropical wave below near PR.


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Quoting MAweatherboy1:
This is a TS for sure now, probably a moderate one at that according to T numbers...



amazing... this storm looks much better now.


Member Since: April 23, 2011 Posts: 104 Comments: 14873
The Daily Wind-Up
NEW TROPICAL DISCUSSION OUT
AOI Near Puerto Rico
http://035d83b.netsolhost.com/

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Now 140,000 people are without power in southeast MI and 200,000 people since tuesday have been affected by storm related power outages according to DTE Energy.
Member Since: March 16, 2012 Posts: 127 Comments: 7972
Good wet morning from Puerto Rico. It has been a few months since PR has not been thru this general rainy moment that is occuring today. The lakes went up since yesterday and no more forest fires have occured.

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000
WTPZ44 KNHC 050839
TCDEP4

TROPICAL DEPRESSION FOUR-E DISCUSSION NUMBER 5
NWS NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL EP042012
200 AM PDT THU JUL 05 2012

IT HAS BEEN DIFFICULT TO LOCATE THE CENTER OF THE DEPRESSION
THIS MORNING...ESPECIALLY WITH A LACK OF RECENT MICROWAVE OR
SCATTEROMETER DATA. GEOSTATIONARY SATELLITE IMAGERY SHOWS THAT THE
DEEP CONVECTION HAS EXPANDED AND BECOME SLIGHTLY MORE CONCENTRATED
NEAR THE ESTIMATED CENTER DURING THE PAST FEW HOURS. HOWEVER...IT
DOES NOT APPEAR THAT THERE HAS BEEN ANY SIGNIFICANT IMPROVEMENT
IN STRUCTURE SINCE THE PREVIOUS ADVISORY. THEREFORE...THE INITIAL
INTENSITY IS MAINTAINED AT 30 KT.

THE INITIAL MOTION ESTIMATE IS WEST-NORTHWESTWARD OR 285 DEGREES AT
11 KT. THE FORECAST TRACK REASONING REMAINS UNCHANGED. THE
DEPRESSION IS EXPECTED TO CONTINUE WEST-NORTHWESTWARD TODAY...THEN
TURN MORE WESTWARD BY FRIDAY AS A RIDGE BUILDS TO THE NORTH OF THE
CYCLONE. THE GUIDANCE IS IN GOOD AGREEMENT ON THIS SCENARIO AND
THE NEW OFFICIAL FORECAST IS ESSENTIALLY AN UPDATE OF THE PREVIOUS
TRACK.

THE DEPRESSION IS FORECAST TO REMAIN OVER WARM WATER DURING THE NEXT
COUPLE OF DAYS. DURING THAT TIME...THE UPPER-LEVEL WIND PATTERN
IS EXPECTED TO BECOME MORE CONDUCIVE FOR STRENGTHENING. AS A
RESULT...THE NHC FORECAST CALLS FOR GRADUAL INTENSIFICATION AND
IS CLOSEST TO THE SHIPS AND HWRF MODELS. BY 72 HOURS...THE
CYCLONE SHOULD BE MOVING OVER COOLER WATERS AND INTO A MORE STABLE
ENVIRONMENT. THIS SHOULD LEAD TO STEADY WEAKENING IN THE LATTER
PORTION OF THE FORECAST PERIOD.

FORECAST POSITIONS AND MAX WINDS

INIT 05/0900Z 13.9N 109.9W 30 KT 35 MPH
12H 05/1800Z 14.3N 111.4W 35 KT 40 MPH
24H 06/0600Z 14.8N 113.6W 40 KT 45 MPH
36H 06/1800Z 15.2N 115.8W 45 KT 50 MPH
48H 07/0600Z 15.3N 117.9W 55 KT 65 MPH
72H 08/0600Z 15.5N 122.2W 60 KT 70 MPH
96H 09/0600Z 15.8N 127.0W 45 KT 50 MPH
120H 10/0600Z 16.3N 132.3W 35 KT 40 MPH

$$
FORECASTER BROWN



Now forecasted not to be a hurricane and to be a ts in 12hrs, even though it has looked like it has achieved ts intensity for awhile.
Member Since: March 16, 2012 Posts: 127 Comments: 7972
This is a TS for sure now, probably a moderate one at that according to T numbers...

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Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:




nice home grown


Wasn't Floyd a... classic Cape Verde?
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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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