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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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...
Member Since: October 25, 2005 Posts: 19 Comments: 22563
Quoting 47n91w:
Or, Jedkins, people see a derecho now and think that because it's a derecho or a bow echo, it must be severe. It could all be expectations.


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 of 2004 and 2005, everyone was sure that from then on, that every tropical cyclone would rapidly intensify, develop a pin hole eye, and reach category 4 to 5 status while threatening 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.

Oh another one that is still alive and well today, is that every possible burst of convection in a tropical cyclone must be "hot towers".
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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.
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Quoting CJ5:


Common Sense would dictate that the movement into cheaper reliable energy sources is the way to the future.
Right and oil is not reliable. It will be available for another 50 years? 75?

We'll have to move on eventually.
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I understand what a lot of you are saying about war/peace protection measures and expenses but at the end of the day, or in fact, many past days.
The insurgents and terrorists with the saboteurs and radicals are almost impossible to detect, let alone contain or eradicate.
If somebody wants to be a terrorist today, then they are in the dark; the armed forces are in the light. The odds are always stacked against the forces of law and peace, as eyes cannot be everywhere. The costs of waging a war/police effort against a clandestine terrorist movement will always be astronomical and at the end of the day that's the adversaries aim.
"Peace or whatever they want or claim to gain by economic strangulation of the opposing forces."
Outright dictatorship and fascism can attempt to gain the upper hand but if the limelight is on the forces of democracy, they dont have a lot of allies in the battle, it will always cost a fortune to achieve any kind of a result!
Oh Back to the weather! Now we're got that sorted out?
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Lordy I believe that i have been confusing My Civil War music with my Revolutionary war music today. For instance, it just occured to me that the american trilogy ( Elvis) is more civil war type music. Howvevr they do play it at our 4th of July fireworks.
On the other hand I need to consider that i have had enough Red Bull today
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Quoting severstorm:
wow i havent seen a thunderstorm this good in years zephyrhills FL.lots of lightning and thunder and rain at 3.35 in per hr. im sure there wind but i live in a bowl so i dont get the wind like they do on the flats.


I had a nice little thunderstorm pop around here that although was small, it packed a punch, it was moving so slow that it never got to produce much rain here, but it remained close enough to give us a large number of very close lightning hits as we were just outside of the main updraft zone.
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Quoting BobWallace:


If that's what it takes.

Remember, for each Solyndra that fails there are immense technological advances funded with our dollars.

Computers, the internet, GPS, satellite communication, cheap wind and getting cheap solar, jet airline travel, modern medicine. The list is very, very long.

Lol don't want to down play your point but all of those technologies came out of the Cold War with military research funding (Except Solar & Wind to my knowledge).

The Internet was originally developed by DARPA - the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency

In 1972, the USAF Central Inertial Guidance Test Facility (Holloman AFB), conducted developmental flight tests of two prototype GPS receivers over White Sands Missile Range, using ground-based pseudo-satellites.

We all know that jets where created in WW2 (By the Nazi war effort).

Numerous medical technologies as well.

Not to mention the huge advancements in computer tech through the cold war funded by the military.
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838. CJ5
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.


Common Sense would dictate that the movement into cheaper reliable energy sources is the way to the future.

Common Sense would also dictate the oil made this country great and also has improved the lives of even the most unfortunate of us in the world.

Common Sense would also dicate the oil is a mecessary part of the lives and current properity of everyone on the globe until a time other reliable cheaper sources can take its place.
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Quoting 47n91w:


These lines have potential to be severe, and sometimes they do produce straight-line wind damage, but often they don't. I agree with you, J, it seems they over-warn a little bit too much. The last time we had widespread wind damage on a large scale was 1999, which lead to the wildfire in northern Minnesota (Pagami Creek, 92,000 acres) last fall.

The one before that that comes to mind was the July 4th derecho of 1977. Dr. Fujita studied that storm.

http://www.spc.noaa.gov/misc/AbtDerechos/casepage s/jul41977page.htm


Yeah, real strong to severe thunderstorms might be less common up there then they are down here, but often when they do happen, they are really bad and often more widespread, its a right combination of colder air aloft that normally exists further north, a region of stronger winds aloft, good dynamics for down bursts, and a large amount of heat and higher moisture.
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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.

Member Since: April 29, 2009 Posts: 75 Comments: 14557
835. etxwx
Solar flare update: X-class flare chances up to 25% now; M-class at 80%...

4TH OF JULY FIREWORKS: Chances of an X-flare today are increasing as sunspot AR1515 develops a 'beta-gamma-delta' magnetic field that harbors energy for the most powerful explosions. The sunspot's magnetic canopy is crackling with almost-X class flares, the strongest so far being an M5-flare at 09:54 UT. Each "crackle" releases more energy than a billion atomic bombs, so these are 4th of July fireworks indeed.
More info at spaceweather and solarham
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Glad to see Puerto Rico getting some nice rain...

Member Since: September 10, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 11424
Quoting BobWallace:


If that's what it takes.

Remember, for each Solyndra that fails there are immense technological advances funded with our dollars.

Computers, the internet, GPS, satellite communication, cheap wind and getting cheap solar, jet airline travel, modern medicine. The list is very, very long.

Do you realize that we've been paying $100 per month in "extra" transportation charges since last November after we accidentally killed those 24 Pakistani soldiers? That's the better part of a billion dollars and it's just a tiny part of what we're spending in Afghanistan.

We spent about $10 billion invading Kuwait. (Other countries picked up most of the cost.)

The price of the Iraq War was likely around $3,000 billion dollars for the US alone.

Afghanistan is likely to cost us $3,700 billion.

All together around $7,000 billion ($7 trillion) before we add in the cost of 'homeland security' and keeping a military presence all over the Middle East.

I'd much rather have my tax dollars going to green our grid and develop EVs than to fight oil wars.

For what we've spent on oil wars we could replace every personal vehicle in the US with a EV or PHEV and put panels on roofs enough to power them all.

If we had been adequately smart we could be driving for free and not sending $1 billion per day to foreign countries for oil....
And a lot of that huge sum was hellaciously wasted on b.s..
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Just had 1.5" hail(mostly penny size with some quarters and 1.5s as well) and strong winds.
There was lots of thunder/lightning as well.
I'm still under a severe t-storm warning and now a flash flood warning. Temperature dropped from 100 to 80 degrees.
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Quoting CJ5:


I am sitting here watching The Revolution and this post struck me. Thomas Paynes Common Sense was one ignitor of the populace to change history and form a more perfect union. Leaders like Washington, Franklin, Adams put thier lives and heart into forging the greatest nation in the history of mankind. Everyone had thier differences and opinions, but it was a common good and great desire for freedom and liberty that won the day.

What this country needs more than anything is another Common Sense moment. The type of posts above illustrate how dung in everyone is with thier opinions and how blindly and unecessarily divided we are.

We have lost all common sense.
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.
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Quoting PensacolaDoug:





So what do you suggest? Another billion for Solyndra and other failed "green energy" companies?


If that's what it takes.

Remember, for each Solyndra that fails there are immense technological advances funded with our dollars.

Computers, the internet, GPS, satellite communication, cheap wind and getting cheap solar, jet airline travel, modern medicine. The list is very, very long.

Do you realize that we've been paying $100 per month in "extra" transportation charges since last November after we accidentally killed those 24 Pakistani soldiers? That's the better part of a billion dollars and it's just a tiny part of what we're spending in Afghanistan.

We spent about $10 billion invading Kuwait. (Other countries picked up most of the cost.)

The price of the Iraq War was likely around $3,000 billion dollars for the US alone.

Afghanistan is likely to cost us $3,700 billion.

All together around $7,000 billion ($7 trillion) before we add in the cost of 'homeland security' and keeping a military presence all over the Middle East.

I'd much rather have my tax dollars going to green our grid and develop EVs than to fight oil wars.

For what we've spent on oil wars we could replace every personal vehicle in the US with a EV or PHEV and put panels on roofs enough to power them all.

If we had been adequately smart we could be driving for free and not sending $1 billion per day to foreign countries for oil....
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NE Carib wave growing pretty well over the last 48 hrs or so.


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Quoting PensacolaDoug:




I was against going into Iraq. I favored a smaller involvement in Afghanistan. Had I known we would still be there 12 years later, I would have been really opposed to it. That being said, strong defense is what has kept us free all these years. Don't lose sight of that. But billions of taxpayer dollars thrown away on projects that produce zero returns is where reasonable people should draw the line.



Like a social safety net perhaps??
Member Since: September 18, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 5237
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

Mmmm.
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Quoting islander101010:
send.goats.not.ads
I did not sends ads....and no goats for u..none !..:)
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Quoting islander101010:
nogaps.heavy.rain.for.fl.
with.another.landfaller
Member Since: September 11, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 4881
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 not because they're bored.
It's part of their new approach this year to communicate better across a wide variety of platforms.
It's not meant to annoy.
It's simply pointing out areas that have some statistical chance less than 5% to become a TD within 48hrs. The hostile conditions are likely contributing to the low probability.
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823. CJ5
Quoting TomTaylor:
I'd rather give a billion to a green energy company than an oil company any day.

It's a better move for the future of both people and the environment. Not to mention the oil companies you love have been robbing you blind since day one.


I am sitting here watching The Revolution and this post struck me. Thomas Paynes Common Sense was one ignitor of the populace to change history and form a more perfect union. Leaders like Washington, Franklin, Adams put thier lives and heart into forging the greatest nation in the history of mankind. Everyone had thier differences and opinions, but it was a common good and great desire for freedom and liberty that won the day.

What this country needs more than anything is another Common Sense moment. The type of posts above illustrate how dung in everyone is with thier opinions and how blindly and unecessarily divided we are.

We have lost all common sense.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
nogaps.heavy.rain.for.fl.
Member Since: September 11, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 4881
Quoting washingtonian115:
???
I wuz humorin ya 115..you said stick to the weather....:)
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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

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No Tsunami warning with this 5.1 quake near Anguilla.

Member Since: April 29, 2009 Posts: 75 Comments: 14557
Quoting washingtonian115:
Shear in the MDR have been favorable.So we'll see if we can get a disturbance in place.
We had get disturbances but none had been able to persist for more than 6 hours.
Member Since: October 15, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 4455
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.
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Quoting docrod:
Yellow alert in the Atlantic!

Link

0% chance - take care



some of you guys that are now this comeing on are like a few hrs late




we all ready no about the %0 on the out look
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Quoting hydrus:
+ 16,000,000,000,000
send.goats.not.ads
Member Since: September 11, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 4881
Quoting hydrus:
there were carburetors in wen trees. i saw coral
???
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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.




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Quoting washingtonian115:
Can we get back to weather please?
there were carburetors in wen trees. i saw coral
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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.


Yea you right!
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Quoting TomTaylor:
Yeah right now it is forecasted to return sometime next week. This pulse from the MJO shouldn't be particularly strong (GFS is definitely overdoing it), however, so it's no guarantee for development. Unfortunately, right now it's about all we have to look forward to because the pattern across North America isn't particularly conducive for development in the subtropics and the East Atlantic/MDR region isn't totally primed for development of waves coming off Africa (which are also not at their peak yet).
Shear in the MDR have been favorable.So we'll see if we can get a disturbance in place.
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Quoting WxGeekVA:


The US military is way too big IMO.
Agreed. Some would argue just the opposite, however.
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Quoting docrod:
Yellow alert in the Atlantic!

Link

0% chance - take care
I,m puttin my shutters up....
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Quoting WxGeekVA:


Please no politics... We've had a very pleasant day on the blog and that doesn't need to change now.
+ 16,000,000,000,000
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I'm vacationing in Maine right now and excited to see such large Florida style thunderstorms heading in my direction. Maybe I will get a taste of what the northern states have to offer in regards to extreme weather :p
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Can we get back to weather please?
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Yellow alert in the Atlantic!

Link

0% chance - take care
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Quoting washingtonian115:
Expect activity in the MDR around mid-late July when the MJO is paying our basin a visit.Someone showed it moving in octant 1 soon?
Yeah right now it is forecasted to return sometime next week. This pulse from the MJO shouldn't be particularly strong (GFS is definitely overdoing it), however, so it's no guarantee for development. Unfortunately, right now it's about all we have to look forward to because the pattern across North America isn't particularly conducive for development in the subtropics and the East Atlantic/MDR region isn't totally primed for development of waves coming off Africa (which are also not at their peak yet).

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I've made a blog entry on Tropical Depression Four-E, if anyone is interested. Happy 4th of July everyone!

Tropical Depression Four-E in the Pacific; other areas to watch
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Quoting PensacolaDoug:




I was against going into Iraq. I favored a smaller involvement in Afghanistan. Had I known we would still be there 12 years later, I would have been really opposed to it. That being said, strong defence is what has kept us free all these years. Dond't lose sight of that. But billions of taxpayer dollars thrown away on projects that produce zero returns is where reasonable people should draw the line.


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.
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Expect activity in the MDR around mid-late July when the MJO is paying our basin a visit.Someone showed it moving in octant 1 soon?
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Quoting barbamz:


Giggle didn't translate it. Is it used in american english?

I think I'll start using it. "What a Blechhütten day it's been." Got to practice my umlauts though.
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Quoting TomTaylor:
Well that's good for you. I wish I could say I drove a Prius, I'd be saving money and saving the environment.

As far as taxes go, people are always going to complain where taxpayer money is spent. I'd like to point out the several hundred billion dollars we spend on defense each year. Little excessive, no?




I was against going into Iraq. I favored a smaller involvement in Afghanistan. Had I known we would still be there 12 years later, I would have been really opposed to it. That being said, strong defense is what has kept us free all these years. Don't lose sight of that. But billions of taxpayer dollars thrown away on projects that produce zero returns is where reasonable people should draw the line.
Member Since: July 25, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 591
Quoting Tazmanian:



plzs dont be doing thing like this or evere one thinks it will be for real


plzs re move it


There is a bold disclaimer and it doesn't even use the official yellow coloring... Only a fool would believe this is real. But I'll do it anyway if it keeps the peace...
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Or, Jedkins, people see a derecho now and think that because it's a derecho or a bow echo, it must be severe. It could all be expectations.
Member Since: August 13, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 312

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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.