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 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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Palisadoes (Road to Norman Manley International Airport in Kingston, Jamaica) after hurricane Ivan

The Road sustained heavy damage after hurricane Ivan in 2004 and hurricane Dean in 2007...it's being rehabilitated to prevent/reduce future damage from such storms
The Palisadoes Peninsula Shoreline Protection and Rehabilitation
It should be completed later this year.
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Quoting HurricaneHunterJoe:


Hi Tom

Was down in your neck of the woods today,had to go to the V.A. Hospital on La Jolla Village Drive,off the I 5.Been cloudy all day since I got home. Had a few drops on the ride home. Supposed to pickup tonight and tomorrow. It hasn't rained since April I think!!
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!
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Since today is friday the 13th Daniel will reform, Emilia will become a major again, Fabio a major headed for Mexico, the AOI near Tampa a hurricane, and the wave off Africa a hurricane as well:)
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Quoting Stormchaser2007:


It's from Policlimate.com
hm, I wasn't able to find it on policlimate, but I did find it on the NCDC website so it's all good

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Quoting ProgressivePulse:
The wave coming off Africa actually has the most promise of any to date. I say that tongue and cheek as it comes into the grips of the big bad 1033mb high. The wave in front, which has a massive atmospheric imprint mind you, has cleared some things and if we can get the high down out of the stratosphere it's on.



BTW, that area off Tampa is looking mighty suspicious. Varying degrees of west winds showing up along the coast.
That high is suppose to weaken some.Thus watch for development by Africa in the next week to two weeks.
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The wave coming off Africa actually has the most promise of any to date. I say that tongue and cheek as it comes into the grips of the big bad 1033mb high. The wave in front, which has a massive atmospheric imprint mind you, has cleared some things and if we can get the high down out of the stratosphere it's on.



BTW, that area off Tampa is looking mighty suspicious. Varying degrees of west winds showing up along the coast.
Member Since: August 19, 2005 Posts: 5 Comments: 5321

As of July 10th, the U.S. Drought Monitor (updated weekly on Thursday mornings) has indicated that conditions across all of Southeast Michigan have deteriorated to D0 (abnormally dry) or worse. Our southern counties of Lenawee and Monroe remain in D1 (Moderate Drought) status,which represents no change from previous issuances of the Drought Monitor. However, the addition of all of Washtenaw and Livingston, most of Genessee and Lapeer, and parts of Shiawassee, Oakland, and Wayne counties to D1 (Moderate Drought) status represents a significant change from the previous week's issuance. Most of southeast Michigan has received well below normal rainfall over the last couple of months. Even drier conditions have set in for June (below) as many locations have only received around 10% to 40% of their normal rainfall over the last 30 days. In order to completely alleviate the drought conditions, most locations will need to receive anywhere from 3" to 9" of rain.

both the short and longer term outlooks indicate a higher-than-normal probability for warmer-than normal temperatures to persist across much of the country with no clear sign for a return to more typical rainfall patterns in the forseeable future.
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Quoting OCF:
Southern California here. There's a really strange weather phenomenon going on right now. There seem to be drops of water falling out of the sky. Anyone know what that's called?
Lol rain?.
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Quoting KoritheMan:


Why is it hard to imagine you with foul language?


Lol. Let's just say I've been surprised by lightning before. :)
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973. OCF
Southern California here. There's a really strange weather phenomenon going on right now. There seem to be drops of water falling out of the sky. Anyone know what that's called?
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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:


Wooooww....... this video won, wow i'm amazed of the power of the mother nature
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Quoting AtHomeInTX:


Ah I hope not. That's probably nicer than what I woulda said. Lol. Nice video thanks.


Why is it hard to imagine you with foul language?
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Quoting winter123:
I'm already looking for the next epac storm. They will run out of names by September at this rate.
I don't think so..
Quoting bluesydeacon:
OK fine. If it makes everyone happy, and by popular demand, I will stand out in the crowd and declare it an el-nino season. EL NINO is real ya sons a....
No one is denying El nino will form.It will probably form a lot latter in the season like i late september or October.
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Quoting stormchaser19:


You think the will ban me for this ?


Ah I hope not. That's probably nicer than what I woulda said. Lol. Nice video thanks.
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I'm already looking for the next epac storm. They will run out of names by September at this rate.
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Quoting washingtonian115:
In 5,4,3,2,1...
ka-boom, like the lightning in the video, things are though starting to pick up in the Atlantic.
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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:


I bet that scared the piss out of the people living in that house.
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Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 31917
Ah the land of extremes. :-)

Above-normal rainfall






Posted: Jul 12, 2012 8:42 PM CDT Updated: Jul 12, 2012 8:42 PM CDT
By Patrick Vaughn


What a difference a year makes. During last year's historic drought across Texas, we were using radar to track smoke plumes from forest and brush fires. It's a whole other ball game this year.

From January 1st through July 12th of 2011, we only received 8.41 inches of rain. This year, from January 1st through July 12th of 2012, we have received 37.54 inches of rain. That 29.13 inches more this year or a 346% increase!

This year, from January 1st through today, we should normally pick up 30.48 inches but have actually picked up 37.54 inches. That's 7.06 inches above normal or a 23 percent increase.

The increased rainfall is due to the weakening of La Nina and the erosion of the behemoth upper-level high that was parked over Texas.
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Quoting stormchaser19:
Woow........guys watch this video :)

Link


Thanks for the video. That lightning was scary.
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Quoting stormchaser19:


You think the will ban me for this ?
I hope not, shucks I shouldn't have given it away.
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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:

Lightning scares the crap out of me.


Me too. And this is coming from somebody who is extremely zealous about chasing major hurricanes.
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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:

Lightning scares the crap out of me.
thats my phobia
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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.
In 5,4,3,2,1...
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Quoting GTcooliebai:
Goodnight everyone...The SAL doesn't look too bad right out ahead of it, but I think the SSTs aren't quite warm enough yet to support development of these waves. I continue to go with the idea of something developing off the coast of Africa by as early as late next week into the last week in July as the gigantic ridge of high pressure over the North Central Atlantic begins to break down.
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.
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Quoting stormchaser19:
Woow........guys watch this video :)

Link

Lightning scares the crap out of me.
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 31917
Quoting GTcooliebai:
Nice language :P...thanks for sharing.


You think the will ban me for this ?
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Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
Special weather statement for:
=new= City of Toronto
=new= Windsor - Essex - Chatham-Kent
=new= Sarnia - Lambton
=new= Elgin
=new= London - Middlesex
=new= Simcoe - Delhi - Norfolk
=new= Dunnville - Caledonia - Haldimand
=new= Oxford - Brant
=new= Niagara
=new= City of Hamilton
=new= Halton - Peel
=new= York - Durham
=new= Huron - Perth
=new= Waterloo - Wellington
=new= Dufferin - Innisfil
=new= Grey - Bruce
=new= Barrie - Orillia - Midland
=new= Belleville - Quinte - Northumberland
=new= Kingston - Prince Edward
=new= Peterborough - Kawartha Lakes
=new= Stirling - Tweed - South Frontenac
=new= Bancroft - Bon Echo Park
=new= Brockville - Leeds and Grenville
=new= City of Ottawa
=new= Gatineau
=new= Prescott and Russell
=new= Cornwall - Morrisburg
=new= Smiths Falls - Lanark - Sharbot Lake
=new= Parry Sound - Muskoka
=new= Haliburton
=new= Renfrew - Pembroke - Barry's Bay
=new= Algonquin
=new= Burk's Falls - Bayfield Inlet.

An extended hot, rain-free episode expected for Southern Ontario.

------------------------------------------------- --------------------
==discussion==
The lazy hazy dog days of summer have settled into Southern Ontario
with frequent bouts of hot and muggy conditions. And we're only in
the middle part of July with no real change in the offing.

Yet another extended period of hot temperatures is expected across
much of Southern Ontario. The mercury topped off in the low thirties
in most regions today, with expected readings a degree or two higher
on Friday. Humidity levels are forecast to be relatively low through
Saturday. Building heat and humidity are likely by Sunday and Monday
when humidex values may be close to the 40 threshold in some areas.
The heat and humidity may very well peak towards the middle of next
week with temperatures well in the thirties and humidex readings in
the mid forties before somewhat cooler air arrives.

Tonight's temperatures will still be fairly comfortable but will
creep higher over the coming nights with the gradual increase in
humidity on the weekend.

There is also very little rain relief from the very dry conditions
affecting much of Southern Ontario (especially serious from Guelph
and Brantford through London). A spotty thunderstorm is possible
through next week but unlikely for any given locale. The greatest
chance of significant rain may come around the middle of next week,
with the torrid temperatures, but may occur in the form of strong
thunderstorms.

On another note, if this similar pattern holds for another two weeks
this July may give July 2011 a run for the money for the hottest
Mean temperature (average of the high and low temperatures) for some
areas.

The public is advised to monitor future forecasts and warnings as
warnings may be required or extended.

Please monitor the latest forecasts and warnings from Environment
Canada at www.weatheroffice.gc.ca

END/OSPC


How has the heat and dry conditions affected you and your area Keeper?
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Quoting stormchaser19:
Woow........guys watch this video :)

Link
Nice language :P...thanks for sharing.
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Quoting sunlinepr:
jaws music plays
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Quoting GTcooliebai:
Goodnight everyone...The SAL doesn't look too bad right out ahead of it, but I think the SSTs aren't quite warm enough yet to support development of these waves. I continue to go with the idea of something developing off the coast of Africa by as early as late next week into the last week in July as the gigantic ridge of high pressure over the North Central Atlantic begins to break down.
I agree with your thinking.
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Emilia:

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Quoting stormchaser19:
Woow........guys watch this video :)

Link


Cool! Thanks for sharing.
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CI# /Pressure/ Vmax
4.5 / 977.5mb/ 77.0kt


Final T# Adj T# Raw T#
4.0 3.8 2.6

Center Temp : +8.8C Cloud Region Temp : -25.0C

Scene Type : CURVED BAND with 0.38 ARC in MD GRAY
Maximum CURVED BAND with 0.48 ARC in MD GRAY
at Lat: 15:44:23 N Lon: 123:50:23 W

Positioning Method : SPIRAL ANALYSIS

Ocean Basin : EAST PACIFIC
Dvorak CI > MSLP Conversion Used : PACIFIC

Tno/CI Rules : Constraint Limits : 0.7T/6hr
Weakening Flag : ON
Rapid Dissipation Flag : ON



CI# /Pressure/ Vmax
3.1 /1000.4mb/ 47.0kt


Final T# Adj T# Raw T#
2.8 3.2 3.2

Center Temp : -56.0C Cloud Region Temp : -57.0C

Scene Type : UNIFORM CDO CLOUD REGION

Positioning Method : FORECAST INTERPOLATION

Ocean Basin : EAST PACIFIC
Dvorak CI > MSLP Conversion Used : PACIFIC

Tno/CI Rules : Constraint Limits : NO LIMIT
Weakening Flag : ON
Rapid Dissipation Flag : OFF

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting KoritheMan:


Lucky in terms of what? Number of named storms? Sure, but that's commonly cited to be irrelevant anyway.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting wxchaser97:
Tre, maybe if the SAL wasn't there and we had the mjo but since both aren't happening so no developement. It does look cool right now though.
Goodnight everyone...The SAL doesn't look too bad right out ahead of it, but I think the SSTs aren't quite warm enough yet to support development of these waves. I continue to go with the idea of something developing off the coast of Africa by as early as late next week into the last week in July as the gigantic ridge of high pressure over the North Central Atlantic begins to break down.
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Woow........guys watch this video :)

Link
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.
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CIMSS/NESDIS-USAF/NRL AMSU TC Intensity Estimation:
TROPICAL STORM FABIO
Thursday 12jul12 Time: 2107 UTC
Latitude: 14.01 Longitude: -107.65
Storm position corresponds to AMSU-A FOV 28 [130]
-------------------------------------------------- ---------------
| Estimated MSLP: 996 hPa
| Estimated Maximum Sustained Wind: 48 kts
| Estimate Confidence: Fair ( +/- 7mb +/- 9 kts )
-------------------------------------------------- ---------------

Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 31917
Quoting windshear1993:
okay but all the elnino years we had we been a little lucky i mean andrew got lucky im not being insensitive but come on now i can feel we are going to get lucky this year neutral years on theother hand proves to be deadlier


Lucky in terms of what? Number of named storms? Sure, but that's commonly cited to be irrelevant anyway.
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http://www.ssd.noaa.gov/PS/TROP/floaters/06E/imag ery/rb0.jpg
Is that an eye/eyewall in its beginning stages?
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Quoting VirginIslandsVisitor:


So Tropics....does this mean our Kingfish Tournament on Sunday could be a little rough out there?

Lindy


Well,I think that event can go on as what is expected doesn't look to be a widespread rain event,but more like scattered showers moving fast. Waves will not be high until early next week when the winds will increase due to the high pressure getting stronger.
Member Since: April 29, 2009 Posts: 75 Comments: 14224
Special weather statement for:
=new= City of Toronto
=new= Windsor - Essex - Chatham-Kent
=new= Sarnia - Lambton
=new= Elgin
=new= London - Middlesex
=new= Simcoe - Delhi - Norfolk
=new= Dunnville - Caledonia - Haldimand
=new= Oxford - Brant
=new= Niagara
=new= City of Hamilton
=new= Halton - Peel
=new= York - Durham
=new= Huron - Perth
=new= Waterloo - Wellington
=new= Dufferin - Innisfil
=new= Grey - Bruce
=new= Barrie - Orillia - Midland
=new= Belleville - Quinte - Northumberland
=new= Kingston - Prince Edward
=new= Peterborough - Kawartha Lakes
=new= Stirling - Tweed - South Frontenac
=new= Bancroft - Bon Echo Park
=new= Brockville - Leeds and Grenville
=new= City of Ottawa
=new= Gatineau
=new= Prescott and Russell
=new= Cornwall - Morrisburg
=new= Smiths Falls - Lanark - Sharbot Lake
=new= Parry Sound - Muskoka
=new= Haliburton
=new= Renfrew - Pembroke - Barry's Bay
=new= Algonquin
=new= Burk's Falls - Bayfield Inlet.

An extended hot, rain-free episode expected for Southern Ontario.

------------------------------------------------- --------------------
==discussion==
The lazy hazy dog days of summer have settled into Southern Ontario
with frequent bouts of hot and muggy conditions. And we're only in
the middle part of July with no real change in the offing.

Yet another extended period of hot temperatures is expected across
much of Southern Ontario. The mercury topped off in the low thirties
in most regions today, with expected readings a degree or two higher
on Friday. Humidity levels are forecast to be relatively low through
Saturday. Building heat and humidity are likely by Sunday and Monday
when humidex values may be close to the 40 threshold in some areas.
The heat and humidity may very well peak towards the middle of next
week with temperatures well in the thirties and humidex readings in
the mid forties before somewhat cooler air arrives.

Tonight's temperatures will still be fairly comfortable but will
creep higher over the coming nights with the gradual increase in
humidity on the weekend.

There is also very little rain relief from the very dry conditions
affecting much of Southern Ontario (especially serious from Guelph
and Brantford through London). A spotty thunderstorm is possible
through next week but unlikely for any given locale. The greatest
chance of significant rain may come around the middle of next week,
with the torrid temperatures, but may occur in the form of strong
thunderstorms.

On another note, if this similar pattern holds for another two weeks
this July may give July 2011 a run for the money for the hottest
Mean temperature (average of the high and low temperatures) for some
areas.

The public is advised to monitor future forecasts and warnings as
warnings may be required or extended.

Please monitor the latest forecasts and warnings from Environment
Canada at www.weatheroffice.gc.ca

END/OSPC


Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 170 Comments: 53606

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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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