Russian wildfire smoke reaches Canada, U.S.; Death Valley hits 128°F

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 2:29 PM GMT on July 12, 2012

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The U.S. isn't the only country suffering from a severe wildfire season. Russian firefighters have been battling huge blazes in Siberia for months. Central Russia experienced record warm temperatures 11 - 12°F (6 - 7°C) above average during June, feeding fires that have burned more area in 2012 than in 2010--the year of the unprecedented heat wave that killed over 55,000 people. Smoke from this summer's Russian fires rose high into the atmosphere last week, and got caught in the jet stream. As University of Washington professor Dr. Cliff Mass explained in this blog, the strong winds of the jet stream carried the smoke to western North America this week, where sinking air associated with a strong area of high pressure brought the smoke to the surface. On Wednesday, CBC reported that the smoke had settled over Vancouver, British Columbia, reducing visibility and increasing air pollution. Meteorologist Eric Taylor of the B.C. Ministry of Environment said he had never seen ozone pollution levels as high in B.C.'s central Interior as occurred over the past few days. The smoke has created colorful sunsets from Oregon to British Columbia, but a low pressure system is expected to flush most of the smoke out by Friday.


Figure 1. Thick smoke from forest fires burning in Siberia on July 5, 2012 (left) and July 9, 2012 (right.) Image credit: NASA.


Figure 2. The view from West Vancouver, British Columbia on Wednesday was obscured by thick smoke from forest fires burning in Siberia. Image credit: ThemeGreen's Webcam.

Colorado's most destructive wildfire in its history finally contained
It's been another severe year for wildfires in the U.S., with the National Interagency Fire Center reporting 4800 square miles of burned acreage thus far in 2012, an area about 87% of the size of Connecticut. This is pretty close to the 10-year average for this point in the year, and ranks as the fourth highest of the past ten years. However, with summer not yet half over, and more than 2/3 of the Western U.S. experiencing moderate to extreme drought, the Western U.S. fire season still has plenty of time to add significant acreage to its burn total. The hardest-hit state at present is Idaho, where one-third of the country's large fires (twelve) are burning. The worst fires of 2012 so far have been in Colorado, which had its hottest and driest June since record keeping began in 1895. Colorado's most destructive wildfire in its history, the 29-square mile Waldo Canyon fire, was finally 100% contained on Wednesday, aided by a week of relatively cool and wet weather. The fire killed two people and destroyed nearly 350 houses when it burned into northwestern Colorado Springs. Colorado's second most destructive and second largest fire in recorded history was the High Park Fire, fifteen miles northwest of Fort Collins. The fire was 100% contained on June 30. According to the Denver Post, the High Park Fire burned in an area where 70% of the trees that have been killed by mountain pine beetles; the insects have devastated forests in western North America in recent years. So did pine beetle damage contribute to this year's devastating Colorado fires? Using Landsat satellite data, a team of scientists led by University of Wisconsin forest ecologist Phil Townsend have discovered that pine beetle damage appears not to have a significant impact in the risk of large fires, and may reduce fire risk in some instances (Video 1.)


Video 1. Wildfire and Pine Beetles: NASA explains how recent devastation of forests in the Rocky Mountains by the mountain pine beetle may be affecting wildfire odds.

Links to follow
Our climate change blogger, Dr. Ricky Rood, has a post on mountain pine beetles and climate change.

I have a post on how climate change is expected to increase Western U.S. fires.

Welcome to the Rest of Our Lives, an 8-minute video put together by climate change videographer Peter SInclair, provides a dramatic look at the extreme weather that has hit the U.S. in June and July.

Our climate change blogger, Dr. Ricky Rood, is in Boulder, Colorado this summer, and had this to say in his June 27 post on the wildfires in Colorado: "The past few days have been relentless. Denver has seen temperatures above 100°F for 5 straight days, and it was 105° today. At the weather station closest to where I live, the thunderstorm that started today’s fire stopped the temperature rise at 97.5 F. The dew point was in the high 30s. The ground temperature in the garden was about 110°. Tonight it all smells of smoke again. It is hard to sleep when the house is 88 degrees and the air smells of smoke. You constantly think of fire."

Death Valley hits 128°: 10th hottest temperature in U.S. history
The high temperature in Death Valley, California hit 128°F (53.3°C) on Wednesday, the hottest temperature measured in the U.S. since July 18, 2009, when Death Valley recorded another 128° reading. Yesterday's 128° was the 10th hottest temperature in U.S. history. The only hotter temperatures were all measured at Death Valley, the most recent one being the 129° measured on July 6, 2007. The all-time high for Death Valley is the 134° reading of July 10, 1913. The forecast for Death Valley calls for a slow cool-down over the next few days, with highs reaching "only" 105° on Monday. That's the date of the start of the grueling Badwater Ultramarathon. Covering 135 miles (217km) non-stop from Death Valley to Mt. Whitney, CA, it is the most demanding and extreme running race offered anywhere on the planet. Lace up your running shoes (not!)

Jeff Masters

Going down, (Glaswegian)
on a hot and humid July evening
Going down,
Workday Sunrise (HarveyCreek)
Going out to the car to head to work, I saw this great sunrise and had to take the time to capture it. This is a panoramic rendition.
Workday Sunrise

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Quoting Patrap:


All those African Continent Waves may look intriguing over Africa, its how that fare 2-3 into the Atlantic that usually tells the tale on them though.

I never give them credence till I see some Vorticity in the Atlantic post transition.

Wise choice, Pat
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Quoting NCHurricane2009:

Good night back at ya....

Glad Fabio can make you happy. I find it so boring.......


Up until this year, I thought 90% of fish storms were boring as hell. Unless it became a Category 4 or 5, it wasn't worth my attention. I dunno what changed this year, but I'm having fun forecasting these guys. Go figure.
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Didn't think I was gonna do a blog, did ya? Well I did.
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Fabio is a very healthy Tropical Storm and soon to be Hurricane
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Quoting Skyepony:


Really? Cause GMO isn't like line-breeding...

Did you work on the GMO rice being grown outdoors in KS? The one with human liver DNA worked into it? The first plant inbred with human DNA..It's not made for eating...not approved for it & certainly not recommended. Only grown for making Pharmaceuticals. Now it's breeding on the open wind with rice for eating..

Anheuser-Busch refusing to buy rice from any state where this is grown & all the protesting isn't stopping it either..

This is not knee jerk. This has been going on for years. It was one of my original studies in school. GMO was suppose to be a wonderful thing that allowed crops to grow with near no water, resist disease & pollinate in higher temps. Even before I finished it was clear this was a horrid endeavor for our food source...the intentions were all for profit on seed & Chemicals, while setting in motion another unstoppable experiment with our environment & main food crops.. We need crop diversity, we don't need crops that make pesticide or can be sprayed with Round up before you eat it. This stuff is being released & is breeding on the wind with the rest of it out there. They say organic corn will be done in less than 10 years because we can't stop the crossbreeding. At the same time Purdue university has found a new type of fungus living around the gut & reproductive organs of animals eating certain types of GMO. It's been verified GMO & the chemicals invoked are helping stress the bees to death. & all this spraying of herbicide has created a bad super weed that destroys combines. This is on top of the climate change & energy use issues I brought up earlier.

In many ways this protest to the rider proposed for next year's Farm Bill is a joke because no GMO has been denied. It's only been slowed. Killing this rider would not even begin to stop GMO, that is not what this is about. Even once things like Bayer's Clothianidin killing the bees, Round Up in the rain, life shortening-reproductive limiting fungus was verified~ nothing has been done in this country. France & some other countries are trying to save their food but are under constant pressure about it.

The one thing that makes this a must take action on is it is preserving our choice to eat organic...to be free to choose what we eat and to not outlaw ongoing research on GMO that has already been approved. Very quick way to take action now linked here..


I read that most of hte 'protection' of GM crops has already been evolved around by both insects and disease.

I was of a mixed opinion when the concept was first developed. I really hoped it would do what it was supposed to do and sometimes inventions work out well... on the other hand, it was releasing something into nature that didn't go through all of nature's normal quality control processes.

Seems like playing god should be left to God, at least for the moment. I'm surpised that som many bible belt regions were for it, I guess like everywhere money is stronger than morals.
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Quoting nigel20:
Good night/morning everyone...I'm off to bed.

Fabio


Good night back at ya....

Glad Fabio can make you happy. I find it so boring.......
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1025. Skyepony (Mod)
Quoting Patrap:
The X1 Flare/CME fits right in with the Timewave Zero Graph Novelty Spike Downward.





& here i was thinking it was the train that derailed in OH with the tankers of ethanol... BOOM!

So where's the big dip from the even bigger flare in 1859? Looks like it took an upward tick that year..
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Funny meteorologist Lloyd Lindsay Young...at the beginning of this video...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3ZturdeRpUg


Can anyone top this?
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1023. nigel20
Good night/morning everyone...I'm off to bed.

Fabio

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Quoting AtHomeInTX:


Yep. That site hasn't worked for me all day either. :(

Huhhhhhh....someone needs to make a meme for the MAG site:

"MAG site...u no work?!"
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1021. duranta
Quoting Skyepony:


Really? Cause GMO isn't like line-breeding...

Did you work on the GMO rice being grown outdoors in KS? The one with human liver DNA worked into it? The first plant inbred with human DNA..It's not made for eating...not approved for it & certainly not recommended. Only grown for making Pharmaceuticals. Now it's breeding on the open wind with rice for eating..

Anheuser-Busch refusing to buy rice from any state where this is grown & all the protesting isn't stopping it either..

This is not knee jerk. This has been going on for years. It was one of my original studies in school. GMO was suppose to be a wonderful thing that allowed crops to grow with near no water, resist disease & pollinate in higher temps. Even before I finished it was clear this was a horrid endeavor for our food source...the intentions were all for profit on seed & Chemicals, while setting in motion another unstoppable experiment with our environment & main food crops.. We need crop diversity, we don't need crops that make pesticide or can be sprayed with Round up before you eat it. This stuff is being released & is breeding on the wind with the rest of it out there. They say organic corn will be done in less than 10 years because we can't stop the crossbreeding. At the same time Purdue university has found a new type of fungus living around the gut & reproductive organs of animals eating certain types of GMO. It's been verified GMO & the chemicals invoked are helping stress the bees to death. & all this spraying of herbicide has created a bad super weed that destroys combines. This is on top of the climate change & energy use issues I brought up earlier.

In many ways this protest to the rider proposed for next year's Farm Bill is a joke because no GMO has been denied. It's only been slowed. Killing this rider would not even begin to stop GMO, that is not what this is about. Even once things like Bayer's Clothianidin killing the bees, Round Up in the rain, life shortening-reproductive limiting fungus was verified~ nothing has been done in this country. France & some other countries are trying to save their food but are under constant pressure about it.

The one thing that makes this a must take action on is it is preserving our choice to eat organic...to be free to choose what we eat and to not outlaw ongoing research on GMO that has already been approved. Very quick way to take action now linked here..


Excellent and frightening analysis.
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Quoting TomTaylor:
Oh wow, you were really close to me then.. I live about 5 minutes south of there, if you would have kept going south on the 5 and got off on the 52, that's pretty much where I live.

Anyway, hope you get some more rain in your neck of the woods, I know it's been forever. Maybe we'll get some more rain down here, too!


Not a drop tonight!!!!!!!! Dang!!!!!!! Orange County and LA got a nice band earlier tonight. I see a lot of dry air in San Diego county on the WV,so I don't know. When I come in to the hospital we take the 52 west to the 5 and then north a few miles,cuz the 56 is clogged a lot during the am rush hour.
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Quoting NCHurricane2009:

Yes...there is. In fact...this is the mid-level low that spun up yesterday thanks to divergence beneath the Florida upper ridge. But convection has been pathetic such that the favorable upper ridge has not expanded...and so now this mid-level low will have to fight a much-less-divergent environment beneath the south Gulf upper low....

Is anyone having issues with this stupid MAG page? I've had it! I use the MAG page as a one-stop-shop for model runs...but it crashes way too much!

Can anyone post links of the NAM 200 mb run versus the GFS 200 mb run?


Yep. That site hasn't worked for me all day either. :(
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1018. Skyepony (Mod)
Quoting cajunkid:


I worked on GMO rice. There is absolutely not threat to eating GMO grain. Its just like breeding dogs. You find the trait you want and back-cross it.

It actually cuts down on the amount of chemical applied and number of applications needed.

Basically...one herbicide does the job of three or four.

Its the only path to maybe never needing herbicides and pesticides.


Really? Cause GMO isn't like line-breeding...

Did you work on the GMO rice being grown outdoors in KS? The one with human liver DNA worked into it? The first plant inbred with human DNA..It's not made for eating...not approved for it & certainly not recommended. Only grown for making Pharmaceuticals. Now it's breeding on the open wind with rice for eating..

Anheuser-Busch refusing to buy rice from any state where this is grown & all the protesting isn't stopping it either..

This is not knee jerk. This has been going on for years. It was one of my original studies in school. GMO was suppose to be a wonderful thing that allowed crops to grow with near no water, resist disease & pollinate in higher temps. Even before I finished it was clear this was a horrid endeavor for our food source...the intentions were all for profit on seed & Chemicals, while setting in motion another unstoppable experiment with our environment & main food crops.. We need crop diversity, we don't need crops that make pesticide or can be sprayed with Round up before you eat it. This stuff is being released & is breeding on the wind with the rest of it out there. They say organic corn will be done in less than 10 years because we can't stop the crossbreeding. At the same time Purdue university has found a new type of fungus living around the gut & reproductive organs of animals eating certain types of GMO. It's been verified GMO & the chemicals invoked are helping stress the bees to death. & all this spraying of herbicide has created a bad super weed that destroys combines. This is on top of the climate change & energy use issues I brought up earlier.

In many ways this protest to the rider proposed for next year's Farm Bill is a joke because no GMO has been denied. It's only been slowed. Killing this rider would not even begin to stop GMO, that is not what this is about. Even once things like Bayer's Clothianidin killing the bees, Round Up in the rain, life shortening-reproductive limiting fungus was verified~ nothing has been done in this country. France & some other countries are trying to save their food but are under constant pressure about it.

The one thing that makes this a must take action on is it is preserving our choice to eat organic...to be free to choose what we eat and to not outlaw ongoing research on GMO that has already been approved. Very quick way to take action now linked here..
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Quoting wxchaser97:
Is it me or do I see a small low/ vorticy just to the west of Tampa over the gulf?

Yes...there is. In fact...this is the mid-level low that spun up yesterday thanks to divergence beneath the Florida upper ridge. But convection has been pathetic such that the favorable upper ridge has not expanded...and so now this mid-level low will have to fight a much-less-divergent environment beneath the south Gulf upper low....

Is anyone having issues with this stupid MAG page? I've had it! I use the MAG page as a one-stop-shop for model runs...but it crashes way too much!

Can anyone post links of the NAM 200 mb run versus the GFS 200 mb run?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1014. Patrap
The X1 Flare/CME fits right in with the Timewave Zero Graph Novelty Spike Downward.



Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 421 Comments: 127566
1013. nigel20
Fabio
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1012. Patrap
..Dad, um





Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 421 Comments: 127566
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Quoting Patrap:
Gulf Of Mexico - False Color RGB Loop
Is it me or do I see a small low/ vorticy just to the west of Tampa over the gulf?
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1008. Patrap
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 421 Comments: 127566
Quoting AtHomeInTX:


Link Lots! :-)
Thanks alot!! there are tons of models which is cool and I already put it in my weather folder for my favorites.
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1006. Patrap
Gulf Of Mexico - False Color RGB Loop
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 421 Comments: 127566
1005. Patrap
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 421 Comments: 127566
Quoting NCHurricane2009:

IMO...I no longer see a mass of clouds near Florida worthy enough of "blob" status. This thing to me looks like it is failing to develop.

It has not sustained enough convection. Had it done so...the associated latent heat release would have strengthened the upper ridge and pushed the south Gulf upper low out of the way. Now it looks like the south Gulf upper low will win....
It has also had it's vorticy weaken.
Wins shear is low to moderate nut, like you said, it has lost convection.
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Quoting wxchaser97:
Thanks, I don't know a place to get that exact model data, what site is that from and how many models does it contain?


Link Lots! :-)
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1002. Patrap
Incoming CME animation/iswa.gsfc.nasa.gov
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 421 Comments: 127566
Quoting AtHomeInTX:


The 18z GFS looks like it wants to spin a CV wave up but always loses it. And it looked a little more serious about the Florida blob that run.


IMO...I no longer see a mass of clouds near Florida worthy enough of "blob" status. This thing to me looks like it is failing to develop.

It has not sustained enough convection. Had it done so...the associated latent heat release would have strengthened the upper ridge and pushed the south Gulf upper low out of the way. Now it looks like the south Gulf upper low will win....
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Quoting AtHomeInTX:


The 18z GFS looks like it wants to spin a CV wave up but always loses it. And it looked a little more serious about the Florida blob that run.

Thanks, I don't know a place to get that exact model data, what site is that from and how many models does it contain?
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Quoting NCHurricane2009:

If this is the case...how did the blog not self-destruct during the slow start of 2009?

Got yet another blog update just released for the Atlantic. This is my 50th full discussion I've written for this Atlantic season....yay!
I don't know, I wasn't a member or lurker back then, but it must have been pretty slow.
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.
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Hurricane Emilia:

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Tropical Storm Fabio:

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Quoting NCHurricane2009:

If this is the case...how did the blog not self-destruct during the slow start of 2009?

Got yet another blog update just released for the Atlantic. This is my 50th full discussion I've written for this Atlantic season....yay!

I think the blog continually self destructs but always rises from the ashes the next day (or next hour) like the phoenix.
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Emilia continues to weaken but Fabio strengthens:



I am going to bed now so good night everyone or on the east coast of US good morning.
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Quoting wxchaser97:
I was going to say something like that but you beat me to it:) I do think El nino will form but in the September October time frame. As for the African wave, that or something behind it could develope given good enviormental conditions. Is there any modle support for any CV storm in the next 2 weeks?


The 18z GFS looks like it wants to spin a CV wave up but always loses it. And it looked a little more serious about the Florida blob that run.

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Quoting wxchaser97:
This wave should clear any dry air issues and the water should begin to warm. This blog needs an Atlantic system or it wil just self destruct.

If this is the case...how did the blog not self-destruct during the slow start of 2009?

Got yet another blog update just released for the Atlantic. This is my 50th full discussion I've written for this Atlantic season....yay!
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Rain is coming down at a great pace in Fort Myers, FL. We live at the mouth of the Caloosahatchee and this marks the 15th consecutive day with rain at our location. Many of the "Afternoon storms" have come after the sun has set, the extra moisture comes from the ULL about 50 Miles W of Tampa Bay. We are on pace for a record July, we have ALREADY seen 10-14+ inches, and with a training cell extending 30 Miles south, moving at 5-10 MPH, we should be adding on to the .83 we have gotten in the past 35 minutes alone, needless to say we have been deluged (along with TX) along the mouth of the Caloosahatchee River!

Have a great nite and stay safe
FM
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Quoting spathy:


And history also shows that fire reduces declining/aging trees that perpetuate the Pine beetle population.
Please answer my question. Dont just further the premise.

But your response was welcome just the same.

Don't know what the flack is about (you got answered twice), but if you watch the video linked above in Dr. Masters blog you will learn that the dead forest actually burns less easily than drought/heat stressed forest. Without the needles on the branches there is less fuel to burn and less fire. So the pine beetle to some extent prevents fires by destroying the fuel source. So, second question answered, too.
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Forecast diagnosis - Tonight
High pressure anchored over the region will provide another tranquil night. A fairlyuniform/persistent airmass in place for tonight, although a subtle upward adjustment in the heightfield and perhaps a touch more boundary layer mixing suggest lows will arrive slightly warmer thanreadings noted this morning. Regardless, a deep dry layer working into the weak gradient flow andclear skies will support another strong radiational cooling night, with a diurnal temperature swingagain approaching 30 degrees in some locations. This means lows ranging from the low/mid 50s in thecoldest locales to upper 60s within the Detroit urban heat island.
.
Remaining Comments on the forecast -
A recycled polar, midlevel airmass will bubble back north and westward out of Pennsylvania backacross southeastern Michigan on Friday. This will be in response to mean flow switching moresoutheasterly as the midlevel high pressure center passes to the eastern seaboard. This movement ofthe airmass will likely feel the effects of some quasi lake shadowing to setup a complicatedarrangement of surface density discontinuities over Lower Michigan. Low level theta-e/lapse rateprogs do show a higher lapse rate plume breaking off over northern Illinois arriving across portionsof western and central Lower Michigan during the late afternoon. Overall, the column will bedescribed as stable for the southeastern two thirds of the cwa. The 700-600mb lapse rates maysupport a shower or two near portions of the Tri Cities after 21z, but 600mb capping precludes muchexcitement. Decided on dropping precipitation chances for the all of the forecast area during theday, and give room for a surgical first period mention if needed. Did leave a low chance PoP forportions of Midland/saginaw/shiawassee counties during the evening, giving respect to any westernLower Michigan activity spreading eastward. The range in highs should be minimal, with upper 80smost areas and some 90 degree reading for the nw forecast area where lapse rates and deeper mixingarrives.
The edge of the subtropical ridge/bermuda high will firm up on Saturday. This strengthening of theupper level ridge will cause a weak jetlet to form along a line from far southern Illinois to thesoutheastern Michigan/Lake Erie into upstate New York. This upper level jet stream axis willessentially serve as the conduit for a zone of tracking shortwave material and enhanced moisture.Best chance for precipitation on Saturday will be the far southeastern forecast area as theta-egradient lifts northward/skirting the far forecast area edge. Essentially took notice of theprevious forecast and trimmed out pops for many areas. A contentious decision point for the Saturdayfcst is timing of precipitation support with approaching shortwave trough from the northwest. Popsremain in the forecast but this needs more attention. With deeper moisture brushing the se, raisedhigh temperatures a few degrees, middle 80s to lower 90s.
Bulk of shortwave energy/surface reflection and attendant jetlet is advertised to slide throughduring the day on Sunday. Model soundings do show steeper lapse rates in the 800-600mb layer to workwith drier dewpoints in supporting cape values in excess of 1000 j/kg. This Sunday period appears tostand the best chance at seeing showers and thunderstorms. Did increase highs incrementally Sundayinto the 90 degree mark.
. . posted at 329 PM EDT Thursday July 12 2012
Just read this and the heat will return for me with little relief:( For S MI this will make the drought conditions worse.
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Palisadoes

The thin tombolo (is a deposition landform in which an island is attached to the mainland by a narrow piece of land such as a spit or bar)...If the Palisadoes is breached we would lose access to the airport.
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Quoting washingtonian115:
I don't think so..No one is denying El nino will form.It will probably form a lot latter in the season like i late september or October.
I was going to say something like that but you beat me to it:) I do think El nino will form but in the September October time frame. As for the African wave, that or something behind it could develope given good enviormental conditions. Is there any modle support for any CV storm in the next 2 weeks?
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Quoting washingtonian115:
Lol rain?.


I believe she's onto something here. We didn't recognize it down here when it started falling last winter either but from all I've read lately I have to agree. It's rain. :)
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Quoting washingtonian115:
Seems the spin over Florida has good vorticity and convergence.May need to watched once in the Gulf.


I have been watching it all day,and some yesterday i think
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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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