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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WeatherWannabe, kids are just the best! I'd even consider doing it all over again. :) Glad you and yours had a great night!
Member Since: April 18, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 2437
Quoting weathermanwannabe:
Good Night Folks...............WW.

Good night wannabe!
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TD4e may become a hurricane or a moderate hurricane. It will traverse in a direction towards Hawaii but will not make it as an organised storm. Worse case this hits Hawaii as a very weak TD. No real threat to land.
Member Since: April 18, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 2437
Quoting Some1Has2BtheRookie:


Carbon dating is questionable that far back. A "best guess" has always been used with Grothar. The conventional wisdom is that he is 3 days older than water. This is based on humans not being able to live for more than 3 days without water. ........ I left an opening here, if anyone wants to take advantage of it.

BTW, Hi, Grothar!


Okay, okay, I'll take the space: but that presumes that Grothar is human. I was thinking alien overlord. :>)
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Good Night Folks...............WW.
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72,000 people are without power in southeast MI due to severe thunderstorms earlier in the day. Mostly in Oakland county with scattered outages in Macomb/Wayne counties.Link. Some firework displays were cancelled today due to additional storms. Also, what is the chance of TD 4e becoming anything serious?
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987. Tribucanes 12:10 AM EDT on July 05, 2012


I got back a little while ago from the Tallahassee fireworks show with my 12 year daughter.....They were pretty awesome but she most remembers the one's she has seen at Disney World over the years at the Magic Castle when she was younger. Make sure you get your little to one of those in the coming years........... :)
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Tropics absolutely suck right now, who's down to go on strike?


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Daughter just saw her first fireworks tonight, she loved it! One of the only ones in the area in Central Wisconsin going on. Firefighters sprayed down the grounds every day for the last four here to make it happen. It went off without a hitch. Reverse biblical here, 40 days and 40 nights of no rain and counting.
Member Since: April 18, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 2437
Quoting ilovehurricanes13:
at 2am maybe 10% and add a NEW 10% at 2am


If you are referring to the area over Puerto Rico at "0" that is highly doubtful. Just a regular wave getting sheered to death at the moment. But PR really needed the rain from it.
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Quoting WxGeekVA:


I'm seeing her on friday... And she said she had a great time.
well good, that's all that matters
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The South American - E-Pac leg of the ITCZ is really firing on all cylinders today.......That heavy activity will start shifting towards the Atlantic side in about 3-4 weeks when the next MJO pulse hits that basin. For now, don;t expect any storms on the Atlantic side from the ITCZ.
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Quoting etxwx:


Walt Disney is spinning in his grave...
you ever read any versions of the original story? Highly suggested. Like so many old fairy tales, it is complex, mature, highly moral, and depressing as all get out. I hope Disney Co. keeps on spinning. ;)
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Deleted
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Pleasant night ALL-
I'm paying attention to the burst of convection near the South American coast-line of Suriname/ Guyana.
It now appears to have formed a sort of closed low level circulation that has broken off from the ITCZ, and is probably a very strong tropical wave feature.
Perhaps it could be worthy of designation as an invest -I suppose if it were a bit higher in latitude the spin on the system could be A BIT more pronounced even some banding signatures could have been possible... STILL INTERESTING TO NOTE SUCH A STRONG LOOKING SYSTEM AT THIS LATITUDE!
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Quoting HurrikanEB:
I never really realized how small Hurricane Emily was...



If the atlantic doesn't get a storm out by next wednesday, 2005 will surpass 2012's early start.. which is going to happen eventually, but just saying that it could happen as early as next week.

Emily had very little effect on Jamaica despite being relatively close to the islands...we had some minor flooding and isolated reports of landslides though.
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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:

Not a very good boyfriend is you ask me...

j/k.


I'm seeing her on friday... And she said she had a great time.

Quoting TomTaylor:
Probably won't be getting a second chance...


See above reply
Quoting TomTaylor:
With Grothar on this one, why didn't you drive her if you have your own car? And secondly, why are you complaining about walking her to her car lol


I would but she already had hers, it was a last minute "Hey let's meet" thing. And the walk cause it was sad cause it ended too soon.

Quoting Grothar:


Oh, a foreign car.


LOL Gro!
Member Since: September 3, 2011 Posts: 13 Comments: 3475
Quoting Grothar:


You are awfully ageeable with everyone this morning. Are you feeling OK?
well I'm on a bit of medication for my pneumonia but yea I think I'm alright. how are things holding up in florida?
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Quoting Grothar:
Don't worry about the teasing WxGeek. We've all had disasterous dates. Years ago when I was dating, the girl was very demanding and pretentious. I finally asked her, "Who do you think you are, Cleopatra."

Well, as it turns out, is was.

That's very funny, Grothar...good evening everyone!
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Deleted
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The Boston Pops holiday spectacular was disrupted by storms, first time they evacuated the Esplanade in the history of the show, they were directed into the Storrow drive Tunnels or the Cambridgeside Gallaria depending on the bank of the Charles they were on
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973. etxwx
Quoting dogsgomoo:
In case anyone was wondering, mermaids probably do not exist. At least according to NOAA. No word if the CDC will soon chime in about the possibility of zombie mermaid hybrids and what to do in case you encounter a school of them out on the open seas


Walt Disney is spinning in his grave...
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The blob in the SW Caribbean is looking healthy.

Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 71 Comments: 26477
Quoting OldLeatherneck:


If you were a serious rival to Antony's for the affection of Cleopatra, you are obviously much younger than most people on this blog assume.

After just a few months here I was under the assumption that your birth date had been validated by carbon dating.


OH, YEAH, Well, one lesson I learned years ago was never argue with a leatherneck. :)
Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 71 Comments: 26477
I never really realized how small Hurricane Emily was...



If the atlantic doesn't get a storm out by next wednesday, 2005 will surpass 2012's early start.. which is going to happen eventually, but just saying that it could happen as early as next week.
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In case anyone was wondering, mermaids probably do not exist. At least according to NOAA. No word if the CDC will soon chime in about the possibility of zombie mermaid hybrids and what to do in case you encounter a school of them out on the open seas
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Quoting Grothar:
Don't worry about the teasing WxGeek. We've all had disasterous dates. Years ago when I was dating, the girl was very demanding and pretentious. I finally asked her, "Who do you think you are, Cleopatra."

Well, as it turns out, is was.


If you were a serious rival to Antony's for the affection of Cleopatra, you are obviously much younger than most people on this blog assume.

After just a few months here I was under the assumption that your birth date had been validated by carbon dating.
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Quoting GeoffreyWPB:
Glad to see Puerto Rico getting some nice rain...



32 days of 90+ deg. F (not heat index)
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Don't worry about the teasing WxGeek. We've all had disasterous dates. Years ago when I was dating, the girl was very demanding and pretentious. I finally asked her, "Who do you think you are, Cleopatra."

Well, as it turns out, is was.
Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 71 Comments: 26477
Quoting drg0dOwnCountry:
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has estimated that projected sea level rise over the next century could vary from about 10-20cm to about 80cm.


Unfortunately, the IPCC projections did not take into account the decreasing albedo effect in the arctic, as the ice extent has, and will continue to decrease.

Also, the the most credible models on sea-level increase seem to keep thermal expansion as a constant rather than an increasing function. Why??

In 2010 the ice-melt of the Greenland ice sheet exceeded annual averages by 100 gigatonnes.

When you factor in natural subsidence in some parts of the globe as well as the isotonic rebound in other areas, I believe that the impact of sea-level rise is greatly under estimated and not adequately understood.



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Quoting washingtonian115:
Ah man.Better luck next time?.
Well I will post a positive story. Today has been pretty great. Had the family up in town roasted a whole pig outside for lunch/dinner. Shot a couple rounds with the rifles. Then we watched fireworks. All around a rather simple but amazing day.
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Quoting Grothar:


You are awfully ageeable with everyone this morning. Are you feeling OK?

It's a full moon Gro. People change.
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32275
Quoting TomTaylor:
Good choice


You are awfully ageeable with everyone this morning. Are you feeling OK?
Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 71 Comments: 26477
Derived from the 5July12amGMT (NHC) ATCF data for TropicalDepressionFourEast:
Its vector had changed from 12.6mph(20.3km/h) WNWest to 11.5mph(18.5km/h) WNWest
MaxSusWinds had held steady at 30knots(35mph)56km/h
And minimum pressure had held steady at 1005millibars

For those who like to visually track TD.4E's path...
CSL is CaboSanLucas :: The NNEasternmost dot on the unconnected dumbbell is IslaSocorro

ESEasternmost dot on the kinked line is where Invest96E was initiated
WNWesternmost dot on the kinked line is where Invest96E became TD.4E
Easternmost dot on the longest connected straight line-segment is TD.4E's most recent position

The longest connected straight line-segment is the straightline projection through TD.4E's 2 most recent positions to its closest approach to IslaSocorro
The unlabeled unconnected dot is the 4July12pmGMT straightline projection's endpoint
SSWesternmost dot on the unconnected dumbbell is 4July6pmGMT straightline projection's endpoint
At 5July12amGMT, TD.4E was heading toward passage 323miles(520kilometres) South of IslaSocorro in ~18hours from now

Copy&paste csl, 16.229n112.449w, 18.694n110.97w-15.687n112.482w, zlo, lzc, zih, aca, 9.2n95.5w- 9.2n96.4w- 9.3n97.3w- 9.5n98.1w- 9.8n99.1w- 10.1n100.0w- 10.3n100.4w- 10.5n101.0w- 10.8n101.8w- 11.1n102.8w- 11.6n104.1w- 12.1n105.3w, 12.1n105.3w-12.7n106.3w, 12.7n106.3w-13.2n107.3w, 13.2n107.3w-13.4n108.3w, 13.2n107.3w-14.08n111.874w, 18.694n110.97w-14.08n111.874w into the GreatCircleMapper for more information
The previous mapping for comparison
Member Since: August 21, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 4860
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:

Not a very good boyfriend is you ask me...

j/k.
Probably won't be getting a second chance...
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Quoting TomTaylor:
With Grothar on this one, why didn't you drive her if you have your own car? And secondly, why are you complaining about walking her to her car lol

Not a very good boyfriend is you ask me...

j/k.
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32275
Quoting GeoffreyWPB:


Family Guy.
Good choice
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Quoting WxGeekVA:
Okay so here goes why I'm mad

- I'm at my date at the Fairfax Fireworks
- Its going good about to get better ;)
- Technical Difficulties in the launch pit
- "Folks, we have to cancel, technical difficulties are too much and there is a storm coming"
- Panic in the crowd
- Have to walk my date to her car and then run to mine, lost my hat in the crowd
- Rolled my ankle walking down the hill
- Got to car... Almost got hit by amateur fireworks
- Got home... Power flicker and now wind gusts
- Night = Ruined
- And all because of storms
With Grothar on this one, why didn't you drive her if you have your own car? And secondly, why are you complaining about walking her to her car lol
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Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 71 Comments: 26477
Quoting WxGeekVA:


It was impromptu.


Oh, a foreign car.
Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 71 Comments: 26477
Quoting CosmicEvents:
That stinks.
But, it's better than being an ingredient in somebody's soup.

Wait, what?
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32275
Happy 4th of July everyone. I leave you with a blog. Be back later.
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Quoting Grothar:


Not much of a date if she brought her own car. :)


It was impromptu.
Member Since: September 3, 2011 Posts: 13 Comments: 3475
Quoting WxGeekVA:
Okay so here goes why I'm mad

- I'm at my date at the Fairfax Fireworks
- Its going good about to get better ;)
- Technical Difficulties in the launch pit
- "Folks, we have to cancel, technical difficulties are too much and there is a storm coming"
- Panic in the crowd
- Have to walk my date to her car and then run to mine, lost my hat in the crowd
- Rolled my ankle walking down the hill
- Got to car... Almost got hit by amateur fireworks
- Got home... Power flicker and now wind gusts
- Night = Ruined
- And all because of storms


Not much of a date if she brought her own car. :)
Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 71 Comments: 26477
something looks to be spinning up off the northeast coast! Link
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TROPICAL DEPRESSION FOUR-E DISCUSSION NUMBER 4
NWS NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL EP042012
800 PM PDT WED JUL 04 2012

THERE STILL HAVE NOT BEEN ANY FUNDAMENTAL CHANGES TO THE STRUCTURE
OF THE DEPRESSION. THE OVERALL CIRCULATION IS LARGE AND WELL
DEFINED...BUT THE DEEP CONVECTION IS ONLY LOOSELY ORGANIZED. WATER
VAPOR IMAGERY SUGGESTS THAT UPPER-LEVEL DIFFLUENCE IS INCREASING
OVER THE SOUTHERN SEMICIRCLE...WHILE CONFLUENCE OVER THE NORTHERN
SEMICIRCLE MAY BE LIMITING CONVECTIVE DEVELOPMENT NEAR AND TO THE
NORTH OF THE CENTER. THE INTENSITY IS BEING KEPT AT 30 KT SINCE
THERE HAS BEEN NO DEFINITIVE EVIDENCE TO SUPPORT THE SYSTEM AS A
TROPICAL STORM.

THE DEPRESSION IS LOCATED ALONG THE SOUTHERN EDGE OF A MID-LEVEL
RIDGE THAT EXTENDS SOUTHWESTWARD FROM NORTHERN MEXICO...AND THE
CURRENT MOTION IS 290/10 KT. GLOBAL MODEL GUIDANCE IS IN GOOD
AGREEMENT THAT THE RIDGE WILL BUILD WESTWARD DURING THE FORECAST
PERIOD...WHICH WILL CONTINUE TO STEER THE CYCLONE WESTWARD TO
WEST-NORTHWESTWARD AT A FAIRLY CONSTANT SPEED THROUGH DAY 5.
LITTLE CHANGE WAS REQUIRED TO THE PREVIOUS NHC TRACK FORECAST...AND
THE NEW ONE REMAINS IN THE VICINITY OF THE MODEL CONSENSUS TVCE.

ALTHOUGH THE VERTICAL SHEAR IS NOT PARTICULARLY PROHIBITIVE FOR
STRENGTHENING...THE GLOBAL MODEL GUIDANCE SUGGESTS THAT A ZONE OF
UPPER-LEVEL CONFLUENCE COULD CONTINUE NEAR THE CYCLONE FOR A COUPLE
MORE DAYS. THE NHC INTENSITY FORECAST THEREFORE ONLY SHOWS GRADUAL
STRENGTHENING TO HURRICANE STRENGTH BY DAY 3. THIS SCENARIO IS
HIGHER THAN THAT SHOWN BY THE STANDARD INTENSITY GUIDANCE AND IS
ONLY ECLIPSED BY THE VERSION OF THE HWRF THAT USES THE ECMWF AS ITS
BACKGROUND. THE CYCLONE SHOULD BE MOVING OVER COOLER WATERS AND
INTO A DRIER...MORE STABLE ENVIRONMENT AFTER DAY 3...AND WEAKENING
IS EXPECTED DURING THAT PERIOD.


FORECAST POSITIONS AND MAX WINDS

INIT 05/0300Z 13.6N 108.9W 30 KT 35 MPH
12H 05/1200Z 14.0N 110.3W 35 KT 40 MPH
24H 06/0000Z 14.5N 112.4W 40 KT 45 MPH
36H 06/1200Z 14.9N 114.5W 45 KT 50 MPH
48H 07/0000Z 15.1N 116.6W 55 KT 65 MPH
72H 08/0000Z 15.2N 121.0W 65 KT 75 MPH
96H 09/0000Z 15.5N 125.5W 50 KT 60 MPH
120H 10/0000Z 16.0N 130.5W 40 KT 45 MPH

$$
FORECASTER BERG

Member Since: April 29, 2009 Posts: 75 Comments: 14319
Quoting WxGeekVA:
Okay so here goes why I'm mad

- I'm at my date at the Fairfax Fireworks
- Its going good about to get better ;)
- Technical Difficulties in the launch pit
- "Folks, we have to cancel, technical difficulties are too much and there is a storm coming"
- Panic in the crowd
- Have to walk my date to her car and then run to mine, lost my hat in the crowd
- Rolled my ankle walking down the hill
- Got to car... Almost got hit by amateur fireworks
- Got home... Power flicker and now wind gusts
- Night = Ruined
- And all because of storms
That stinks.
But, it's better than being an ingredient in somebody's soup.
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Quoting Grothar:


Don't you ever watch anything of substance, like Cheers?


Family Guy.
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Quoting WxGeekVA:
Okay so here goes why I'm mad

- I'm at my date at the Fairfax Fireworks
- Its going good about to get better ;)
- Technical Difficulties in the launch pit
- "Folks, we have to cancel, technical difficulties are too much and there is a storm coming"
- Panic in the crowd
- Have to walk my date to her car and then run to mine, lost my hat in the crowd
- Rolled my ankle walking down the hill
- Got to car... Almost got hit by amateur fireworks
- Got home... Power flicker and now wind gusts
- Night = Ruined
- And all because of storms

Ahhh that really sucks dude. Better luck next time.
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32275

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About

Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.