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 GeorgiaStormz:


what do we need spaceships for?
Independence Day
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Quoting washingtonian115:
I was gonna ask about the storm if you were going through it.


you guys have more storms?
Dont worry, ill scare them away.
never fails
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Quoting Tazmanian:
the olny thing where missing this july 4th is a space ship overe new york LA CA and DC


what do we need spaceships for?
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Quoting WxGeekVA:


Yes but I'm leaving, I have a date for the 4th. -__-
I was gonna ask about the storm if you were going through it.
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Quoting charlottefl:


Yeah, by the time we got to Ivan. I had pretty much checked out of the ball game. Was up in Tampa trying to get back down to help my mom pack stuff, cause at the time they were predicting a large surge on the West Coast. Ran out of gas trying to find a gas station that still had it. Was in the eye wall of Charley, Frances hit on the weekend of my birthday, and then Jeanne a couple of weeks later. Crazy year...
Was just trying to remember the average return rate / strike or brush rate for the Florida coastline... looking at that 04 - 05 list, it just looks like FL filled its quota for the next 6 years... maybe why only had, what, Fay until this year?

lol
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I had just been through Charley when Frances rolled through and I remember looking at a radar on the computer and a friend was like "it's not gonna hit FL it's gonna go the other way" and I was like "Are you kidding me?" I'm not gonna like after Charley I didn't sleep well for 3 or 4 months...
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nevere mine
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 115239
the olny thing where missing this july 4th is a space ship overe new york LA CA and DC
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 115239
Quoting washingtonian115:
Is WXGWX on right now?


Yes but I'm leaving, I have a date for the 4th. -__-
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I am attracted to higgs bosons. !!!
But not as much as you are. :O

i think i fully understand this particle now, but i dont get its connection to the big bang, unless they are saying that somehow there was a whole bunch of higgs bosons around.

btw what are higgs bosons made of, are they just a manipulation of the electromagnetic fields or the electroweak force?

i know they dont have matter
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TX13....have you spoken with your Dad and asked him exactly what's going on? The illness is hard enough to deal with for you, but the questions and uncertainty about what's exactly going on can be bad too. Sometimes the truth is tough, but in medicine there's few definites. Seems to me like you're smart enough to digest the details and probably do a better job than your Dad in researching the possible outcomes, treatments, and solutions.
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Quoting BahaHurican:
Agreed. Looks like some is going to cycle our way overnight as well.

In the case of Charley, that was pretty accurate thinking. U realize in less than 15 months after Charley FL was hit by Frances, Ivan, Jeanne, Arlene, Dennis, Katrina, Rita, Tammy and Wilma. That kind of 2 year record would lend itself to a justified paranoia...


Yeah, by the time we got to Ivan. I had pretty much checked out of the ball game. Was up in Tampa trying to get back down to help my mom pack stuff, cause at the time they were predicting a large surge on the West Coast. Ran out of gas trying to find a gas station that still had it. Was in the eye wall of Charley, Frances hit on the weekend of my birthday, and then Jeanne a couple of weeks later. Crazy year...
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TA13 we miss your high energy and great storm information. So sorry your Mom is suffering. One cuss word in many years; I'm hoping they don't ban you for that. Lot of emotion here last couple days, just shows how existence always comes at a price, for all of us. Praying for her and you. PM me any time.
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Quoting GeoffreyWPB:
Glad to see Puerto Rico getting some nice rain...

Agreed. Looks like some is going to cycle our way overnight as well.

Quoting Jedkins01:


Or all of the sudden any organized line of thunderstorms is a derecho... Ughhh it drives me nuts, there are fads that happen on this blog that when a crazy event happens somewhere in the U.S. people talk about every other weather event as if it's going to be a repeat of the same.

For example, after Katrina, every new tropical cyclone was going to threaten New Orleans, or after Charley, every storm was headed for Florida. Also because of those active years, everyone was sure that from then on, every tropical cyclone would develop pin hole eyes and reach category 4 to 5 status and threaten the gulf coast...

Now, currently we are in the phase where half the blog thinks every line of thunderstorms is a derecho, or might become one, lol.
In the case of Charley, that was pretty accurate thinking. U realize in less than 15 months after Charley FL was hit by Frances, Ivan, Jeanne, Arlene, Dennis, Katrina, Rita, Tammy and Wilma. That kind of 2 year record would lend itself to a justified paranoia...
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Is WXGWX on right now?
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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
Mom got a one hour pass to come home for a few hours today. She just had to leave just a minute ago and we both completely broke down. The doctor isn't going to let anybody stay with her overnight anymore and he said she wasn't coming home until at least July 19, which is fucking ridiculous. She is starting to be able to walk now and getting better everyday.

I just don't understand why this happened to her. I know everything happens for a reason, but why this?


I'm sorry TA. I hope she gets well and gets home soon.
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Did they upgrade their radar sites?

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Quoting WxGeekVA:


Here's the real storms




They are knocking on my door right now- I live in the center of Mineral County, right where the worse of the storm is headed. Come on, rain!
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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
Mom got a one hour pass to come home for a few hours today. She just had to leave just a minute ago and we both completely broke down. The doctor isn't going to let anybody stay with her overnight anymore and he said she wasn't coming home until at least July 19, which is fucking ridiculous. She is starting to be able to walk now and getting better everyday.

I just don't understand why this happened to her. I know everything happens for a reason, but why this?
Hope she gets better and I wish you and your mother the best.
Member Since: October 15, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 4401
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
Mom got a one hour pass to come home for a few hours today. She just had to leave just a minute ago and we both completely broke down. The doctor isn't going to let anybody stay with her overnight anymore and he said she wasn't coming home until at least July 19, which is ridiculous. She is starting to be able to walk now and getting better everyday.

I just don't understand why this happened to her. I know everything happens for a reason, but why this?


we never understand why things happen.
we will just have to make the best of it.

stay strong, and hopefully everythying turns out all right.
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Quoting Tropicsweatherpr:
We have been thru a good rain event here in Puerto Rico and it was needed as the June drought was big and the lakes were going down rapidly. This is how PR looked this afternoon.



Don't ya love opportune tropical waves??
Member Since: September 18, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 5234
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
Mom got a one hour pass to come home for a few hours today. She just had to leave just a minute ago and we both completely broke down. The doctor isn't going to let anybody stay with her overnight anymore and he said she wasn't coming home until at least July 19, which is fucking ridiculous. She is starting to be able to walk now and getting better everyday.

I just don't understand why this happened to her. I know everything happens for a reason, but why this?





your going too end up ban for uesing foul language.
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 115239
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
Mom got a one hour pass to come home for a few hours today. She just had to leave just a minute ago and we both completely broke down. The doctor isn't going to let anybody stay with her overnight anymore and he said she wasn't coming home until at least July 19, which is freaking ridiculous. She is starting to be able to walk now and getting better everyday.

I just don't understand why this happened to her. I know everything happens for a reason, but why this?


I hope your mom gets better soon.
Member Since: July 21, 2011 Posts: 83 Comments: 7167
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
Mom got a one hour pass to come home for a few hours today. She just had to leave just a minute ago and we both completely broke down. The doctor isn't going to let anybody stay with her overnight anymore and he said she wasn't coming home until at least July 19, which is f****** ridiculous. She is starting to be able to walk now and getting better everyday.

I just don't understand why this happened to her. I know everything happens for a reason, but why this?


Dude, I'm really sorry that you have to go through this... I hope she gets better soon. But the doctor is the expert, and he/she knows best even if you disagree with it.

Oh, and a P.S., don't want to seem like I'm picking at you but watch the language... Don't wanna see you get banned.
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TA13 I know your going through a hard time but the last thing I want to happen to you is getting banned from foul language.

I wish your mother has full and quick recovery.
Member Since: July 22, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 3842
Quoting lobdelse81:

Happy 4th of July. Love the pic of that red/white/blue drink in that glass pitcher you posted earlier.


Hi! Thanks. I must admit it's not mine. But I couldn't resist. It just looked so cold! Lol. Hope your 4th has been going well so far. :)
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Here's the real storms
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Mom got a one hour pass to come home for a few hours today. She just had to leave just a minute ago and we both completely broke down. The doctor isn't going to let anybody stay with her overnight anymore and he said she wasn't coming home until at least July 19, which is freaking ridiculous. She is starting to be able to walk now and getting better everyday.

I just don't understand why this happened to her. I know everything happens for a reason, but why this?
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32275
DISORGANIZED SHOWER AND THUNDERSTORM ACTIVITY EXTENDS SEVERAL
HUNDRED MILES WEST OF COSTA RICA OVER THE FAR EASTERN NORTH PACIFIC
OCEAN. ONLY SLOW DEVELOPMENT OF THIS DISTURBANCE IS EXPECTED OVER
THE NEXT FEW DAYS AS IT MOVES WESTWARD AT ABOUT 10 MPH. THIS
SYSTEM HAS A LOW CHANCE...20 PERCENT...OF BECOMING A TROPICAL
CYCLONE DURING THE NEXT 48 HOURS.
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Atlantic Tropical Weather Outlook


000
ABNT20 KNHC 042334
TWOAT

TROPICAL WEATHER OUTLOOK
NWS NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL
800 PM EDT WED JUL 4 2012

FOR THE NORTH ATLANTIC...CARIBBEAN SEA AND THE GULF OF MEXICO...

A TROPICAL WAVE OVER THE EASTERN CARIBBEAN SEA IS PRODUCING
DISORGANIZED SHOWERS AND THUNDERSTORMS AS IT MOVES RAPIDLY WESTWARD
AT 20 TO 25 MPH. UPPER-LEVEL WINDS ARE NOT CONDUCIVE FOR
DEVELOPMENT...AND THIS SYSTEM HAS A LOW CHANCE...NEAR 0 PERCENT...
OF BECOMING A TROPICAL CYCLONE DURING THE NEXT 48 HOURS.

ELSEWHERE...TROPICAL CYCLONE FORMATION IS NOT EXPECTED DURING THE
NEXT 48 HOURS.

$$
FORECASTER PASCH
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Sigh, double face palm, head shake of disbelief...............
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NOGAPS has had some success..They were suppose to upgrade it.
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TROPICAL WEATHER OUTLOOK
NWS NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL
800 PM EDT WED JUL 4 2012

FOR THE NORTH ATLANTIC...CARIBBEAN SEA AND THE GULF OF MEXICO...

A TROPICAL WAVE OVER THE EASTERN CARIBBEAN SEA IS PRODUCING
DISORGANIZED SHOWERS AND THUNDERSTORMS AS IT MOVES RAPIDLY WESTWARD
AT 20 TO 25 MPH. UPPER-LEVEL WINDS ARE NOT CONDUCIVE FOR
DEVELOPMENT...AND THIS SYSTEM HAS A LOW CHANCE...NEAR 0 PERCENT...
OF BECOMING A TROPICAL CYCLONE DURING THE NEXT 48 HOURS.

ELSEWHERE...TROPICAL CYCLONE FORMATION IS NOT EXPECTED DURING THE
NEXT 48 HOURS.

$$
FORECASTER PASCH
Member Since: July 21, 2011 Posts: 83 Comments: 7167
863. etxwx
Quoting AtHomeInTX:


Lol I'm always too slow. :P

Nah...there's no such thing as an overabundance of hopeful forecasts. :-)
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How's this for a temperature graph? Back up to almost 90..

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Quoting GeorgiaStormz:


come on, you guys are looking at the YESGAPS model right?



I would like to refer your opinion to your profile picture..
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Quoting Tropicsweatherpr:
We have been thru a good rain event here in Puerto Rico and it was needed as the June drought was big and the lakes were going down rapidly. This is how PR looked this afternoon.

That is a cool pic....I thought I saw a Wal-Mart thru the break in the clouds.:)
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Quoting ncstorm:


I read back over my post at least 4 times..very positive I didnt say the word "development"..I said "start to see something"..

I will say this about the blog..consistency of naysayers if nothing else..


come on, you guys are looking at the YESGAPS model right?

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Quoting TomTaylor:
All it does is send a piece of the wave into Florida. Nothing close to development.


I read back over my post at least 4 times..very positive I didnt say the word "development"..I said "start to see something"..

I will say this about the blog..consistency of naysayers if nothing else..
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Quoting Tribucanes:
For GeorgiaStormz only.


huh?
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Quoting TomTaylor:
I don't recall seeing so many blobs get 0% circles before in previous seasons. Maybe the NHC is just bored this year? I find it honestly kinda annoying seeing 0% circles because it gives you a false sense of something going on. The truth is the tropical Atlantic is dead quiet and you can expect no development anywhere for the next 48hrs.






It's honestly kinda funny. It's kinda like saying you have a high of 95 with a 0% chance of rain. I'm not sure what the reasoning is behind it, I'm sure they have some reasoning to it though. All they have to do is put it in the TWO and not circle it, but anyways...
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Quoting AtHomeInTX:
Happy 4th Everyone! Stay cool and Enjoy! :D


Happy 4th of July. Love the pic of that red/white/blue drink in that glass pitcher you posted earlier.
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Quoting WxGeekVA:


The US military is way too big IMO. For a nation at peace with most of the world and no other superpowers to worry about, we should reduce our military to pre-WWII levels or slightly higher. That way, we can still have our bases around the world, but we can save billions on deploying overseas troops or having so many thousands of nukes, tanks, planes, etc. And nobody would attack us in a direct military confrontation, so we could easily re-mobilize the armed forces if we needed to quickly.


maybe, but countries with highly trained armies like North Korea, Russia, and China dont make it any easier.
You wouldnt want to get into a war with any of those 3(none of which i would trust as "friends") with your suddenly reenergized, not so well trained army.

And on a weather note, it seems the next heat wave will not make it to the east US, should stay around...Colorado..
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Quoting TomTaylor:
How blindly dug in I am with being committed to a better future?

Couldn't help but LOL at your post. Common sense points clearly in one direction...clean, renewable energies. Unfortunately it's not the most efficient source of energy, nor is it the cheapest. All this means, however, is we should be striving to improve our technology so that it becomes more efficient. Nonrenewable energies, like oil, are toxic to the environment (including us) and are only going to run out. It's obvious where we should be heading.


Renewable is not the cheapest?

New coal would cost between $0.15 and $0.20/kWh as would new nuclear.

Old coal (and to some extent new coal) has very high "hidden costs" due to health and environmental damage. We're likely paying over $0.20/kWh for the coal we use now when we add in tax dollars and insurance premium payments.

Natural gas is cheap right now. But as we burn through the current surplus the price of gas will climb.

New wind is about $0.06/kWh and expected to fall another 20%.

Solar is now about $0.15/kWh in the sunbelt of the US and dropping fast.

Geothermal is under $0.10/kWh.

Tidal/Gulf Stream should be priced about like wind once it matures.

(Yes, we've got multiple storage technologies in the pipes to let renewables power us 24/365 and for an attractive price.)
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For GeorgiaStormz only.
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Quoting Tribucanes:
So you have your say, and then say, lets not discuss it.


I didnt say you couldnt have your say, you actually talked first.
What i said is we wont discuss it on a weather blog.
And i discuss things quite civilly, not in confrontational or demeaning tones.

If you wish to discuss it, wumail me or something, but i wont carry on this conversation on this blog.
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Derecho is a rare thing. Lots of lines bow and cause wind damage. 240 miles of 75mph plus winds is not common at all. We could see several more as the season progresses if the heat doesn't relent. Last couple days lines have progressed that LOOKED like a derecho. They weren't even close to being though. Yesterday's was a perfect example. It bowed and traveled 240 miles and looked very mean. Reports afterward showed it looked far worse than it was.
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Quoting ncstorm:
July 4th, 2012..at 6:21 pm..just want to note OFFICIALLY what the NOGAPS does with the wave near the Antilles..so in case anyone calls the NOGAPS crappy and wasnt the first model to see "something"..

18z Nogaps

All it does is send a piece of the wave into Florida. Nothing close to development.
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Quoting bohonkweatherman:
Computer models showing decent rain chances next week for Eastern half of Texas, for South Central Texas that is very unusual, normally it doesnt rain here in July but I will take any shower that comes my way.


Lol I'm always too slow. :P
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Quoting bohonkweatherman:
Happy 4th to everyone, 99 here and Sunny, Lake Travis is 6 feet lower than it was last year at this time, one boat ramp is open. Lake needs 40 to 50 feet to fill up and is now considered about 45 percent full. So if any location needs alot of rain it would be my area of South Central Texas.


Hang in there I'm trying to send you some rain. :)

BY FRIDAY EVENING...SOME INSTABILITY AND MOISTURE SPREADS W FROM
EAST TX. THIS MOISTENING TREND IS EXPECTED TO GRADUALLY INCREASE
OVER THE WEEKEND WITH SLIGHT CHC POPS OVER EASTERN COUNTIES SLOWLY
EXPANDING INTO CHANCE POPS FOR MOST COUNTIES TOWARD EARLY NEXT
WEEK. THIS WEATHER CHANGE IS PART OF A BROAD SWATH OF MOISTURE
ADVECTION WRAPPING AROUND THE SOUTHERN PART OF THE HIGH PRESSURE
RIDGE...SO PINPOINTING SPECIFICS ON RAIN AREAS...TIMING...AND QPF
WILL BE DIFFICULT OVER THE NEXT DAY OR TWO. HOWEVER...MODELS SHOW
INCREASING TRENDS TOWARD THIS PATTERN CHANGE TO INCREASE
CONFIDENCE ON THE TRENDS. THUS A SHIFT TOWARD THE MILDER AND WETTER
PATTERN IS OFFERED THROUGH THE EXTENDED...BUT PERHAPS STILL ON THE
CONSERVATIVE SIDE OF THE LATTER PART OF THE ECMWF PERIODS AND
CERTAINLY LESS THAN THE GFS.

And instead of the Texas Death Ridge we have...

THE MISSOURI DOME WILL MOVE LITTLE INTO THE WEEKEND. HOWEVER...ITS
ATTENDANT OUTER TROUGH WILL BEGIN ITS JOURNEY WESTWARD ON FRIDAY...
IN RESPONSE TO THE SOUTHWEST NORTH ATLANTIC TUTT DEEPENING WESTWARD
INTO THE GULF OF MEXICO. THE TRAVELING OUTER TROUGH WILL REACH
SOUTHEAST LOUISIANA ON SATURDAY...BEFORE LANDFALLING SOUTHEAST TEXAS
ON SUNDAY.

RAIN CHANCES WILL INCREASE ON FRIDAY...FROM EAST-TO-WEST...WITH THE
APPROACH OF THE TROUGH/WESTWARD-DEEPENING TUTT.

THE RELATIVELY CLOSE POSITION OF THE MISSOURI DOME TO THE NEWLY-
ARRIVED GULF TUTT WILL SET-UP AN EASTERLY JET...ITS CORE EXTENDING
THROUGH CENTRAL FLORIDA TO ACROSS CENTRAL LOUISIANA. CONSEQUENTLY...
SHOWERS AND THUNDERSTORMS WILL BECOME MORE ORGANIZED OVER THE WEEKEND.
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Evening all. Hope u have been enjoying ur 4th July... just got in from work, and I notice the area near PR has a yellow circle [albeit 0%]. I'm assuming this is the second of those Twaves we were watching late last week...

Also noting TD 4 is taking its sweet slow time to spin up...
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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.