Major severe thunderstorm outbreak expected; U.S. drought intensifies

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 2:16 PM GMT on July 26, 2012

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A dangerous outbreak of organized severe thunderstorms with strong, damaging winds is expected this afternoon from Ohio eastwards through Pennsylvania and into New England, says NOAA's Storm Prediction Center (SPC). They have put the region, which includes Columbus, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, and New York City, in their "Moderate Risk" area for severe weather, just one notch below the highest level of alert. Much of the region is also under advisories for extreme heat, with temperatures in the upper 90s expected. This extreme heat will help energize the thunderstorms by making the atmosphere very unstable. A cold front passing through the region will trigger the severe weather episode beginning around 2 pm EDT this afternoon, near the Indiana/Ohio border. This front already triggered a round of severe thunderstorms early this morning across Michigan, which knocked out power to 16,000 customers. This afternoon, severe thunderstorms may organize into a complex that features a bow-shaped echo. If such a complex brings violent straight-line winds in excess of 58 mph (93 km/hr) over a swath of at least 240 miles (about 400 km), it will be called a derecho (from the Spanish phrase for "straight ahead".) The atmosphere is not as unstable as was the case for the June 29 - 30 Mid-Atlantic and Midwest derecho, however. That storm was one of the most destructive and deadly fast-moving severe thunderstorm complexes in North American history. It killed 22 people, knocked out power to at least 3.7 million customers, and did hundreds of millions in damage.


Figure 1. Severe weather risk for Thursday, July 26, 2012, from NOAA's Storm Prediction Center (SPC).

U.S. drought intensifies
The great U.S. drought of 2012 held constant in size but grew more intense over the past week, said NOAA in their weekly U.S. Drought Monitor report issued Thursday, July 26. The area of the contiguous U.S. covered by drought stayed constant at 64% , but the area covered by severe or greater drought jumped from 42% to 46%. These are truly historic levels of drought, exceeded only during the great Dust Bowl drought of the 1930s and a severe drought in the mid-1950s. The July 2012 drought is second only to the great Dust Bowl drought of July 1934 in terms of the area of the contiguous U.S. covered by moderate or greater drought (if we assume the drought conditions measured in mid-July are representative of the entire month of July, which is a reasonable approximation given the lastest drought forecast.) The five months with the greatest percent area in moderate or greater drought, since 1895, now look like this:

1) Jul 1934, 80%
2) Jul 2012, 64%
3) Dec 1939, 60%
4) Jul 1954, 60%
5) Dec 1956, 58%

If we consider the area of the contiguous U.S. covered by severe or greater drought, drought conditions as of July 24, 2012 now rank in 3rd place:

1) Jul 1934, 63%
2) Sep 1954, 50%
3) Jul 2012, 46%
4) Dec 1956, 43%
5) Aug 1936, 43%


Figure 2. July 24, 2012 drought conditions showed historic levels of drought across the U.S., with 64% of the contiguous U.S. experiencing moderate or greater drought, and 46% of the county experiencing severe or greater drought. Image credit: U.S. Drought Monitor.

Extreme heat continues in the Heartland
St. Louis, Missouri's summer of extreme heat reached record levels on Wednesday, when the city hit 108°F. This marked the 11th day this summer in St. Louis with temperatures of at least 105°F, beating the old record of ten such days in 1934. The minimum temperature in the city fell to just 86°F, tying with July 24, 1901, as the warmest minimum temperature ever recorded in the city. St. Louis has seen just 0.53" inches of rain this month, far below the normal 3.35" it usually records by this point in July.

Jeff Masters

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For those in denial about this not being a derecho...

SUMMARY...SEVERE TSTM WATCH 527 CONTINUES UNTIL 03Z...WITH
APPRECIABLE SHORT-TERM CONCERN FOR WIDESPREAD DAMAGING WINDS INTO
THE GREATER NYC METRO AREA/SOUTHERN NEW ENGLAND AND MUCH OF NJ WITH
AN ONGOING SEVERE MCS/DERECHO. AN ADDITIONAL SEVERE TSTM WATCH MAY
BE NEEDED FOR A PART OF SOUTHEAST NEW ENGLAND INCLUDING RHODE
ISLAND/SOUTHEAST MA.

Not my words... NWS
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1047. LargoFl


Batten down the hatches, New Jersey.

Severe thunderstorms are slamming New Jersey, and will potentially affect the evening rush hour with hurricane force wind gusts and hail larger than golf balls. This article will be updated with weather warnings, damage reports, power outage numbers and flooding information throughout the night. Please send any reports of damage, videos or photos to metro@starledger.com.

7:45 p.m. Cars are pulling off the road on the Garden State Parkway to wait out the rains. Trees and power lines reported down in Somerset County. Wind gusts of up to 60 miles per hour were reported to the National Weather Service in Morris County.

7:24 p.m. Power outages beginning to spread. About 5,000 customers now without power in northern New Jersey.

7:15 p.m. The National Weather service is reporting some weak rotation in a storm currently over Somerset County heading toward Middlesex County. No tornado warning, but a tornado could develop.

7:06 p.m. The storms have snagged travel at the region's airports. Newark Liberty International Airport showing delays on arrivals and departures of more than one hour.

6.57 p.m. Several reports of roofs blown off, trees down and power outages in New York and Pennsylvania, according to the National Weather Service.

6:56 p.m.Severe thunderstorm warnings now issued for Essex, Union, Mercer, Bergen and Hudson counties until 8:30 p.m.

6:49 p.m. Power outages could be widespread tonight. Leading edge of line of storms is powering through Sussex County. Already 307 Jersey Central Power and & Light customers reported to be without power there

6:37 p.m. Severe thunderstorm warnings have now been extended to Morris, Somerset, Middlesex and Hunterdon counties until 7:45 p.m.

6:22 p.m. Storm Prediction Center issued a statement saying they have serious concerns about widespread wind damage in northern New Jersey and New York City metro this evening. Storms are beginning to enter northern parts of the state.

6 p.m. Severe thunderstorm warnings have been issued for Warren , Sussex and parts of Passaic counties. The storms should enter the region shortly after 6 p.m. and could produce winds in excess of 60 miles per hour and large hail, according to the National weather Service.

5:52 p.m. A tornado warning has been issued for a storm cell moving through eastern Pennsylvania. This storm cell could affect New Jersey within the next hour.




Related topics: nj-weather
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 42966
@ 1041 - posts like these are exactly what this blog DOESN'T need. keep your trolling somewhere else.
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Quoting Pocamocca:

Slammed? With what? A summer breeze of which I'm sure more than 90% of those folks would welcome right now in the middle of July. So take cover for a little rain. Big deal.
It's hailing at Statue of Liberty
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Did New York just go dark? Looks like all the lights are out from the Earth Cam for the Statue of Liberty
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1043. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
tommy knockers
tommy knockers
knocking at the door
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 180 Comments: 56480
Quoting Bluestorm5:
Webcam of Times Square

Link

Scott Mcpartland has his streaming cam up in Queens NY. Link
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1040. Patrap
Ayyyye, eeee itsa Blowin Now

NY Earthcam from Stature of Liberty
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1039. Grothar
You have to look at that live cam in post 1016 the storms are hitting right now.
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Quoting Patrap:
Sounds like Hail hitting the Statue Of Liberty EarthCAM
I see hails in front of camera and lost the skyline in deep clouds.
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A few more MINUETS till DOOM.
Member Since: August 14, 2010 Posts: 10 Comments: 18265
1036. Patrap
Keep.without the VIL Key/scale for that Image Loop... it tells us Nada about it.
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Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
NEXRAD Radar - New York City, NY - Hi-Res Vertically Integrated Liquid

T-minus 5 minutes to storms, New Yorkers...
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1034. Patrap
Sounds like Hail hitting the Statue Of Liberty EarthCAM
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1033. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
NEXRAD Radar - New York City, NY - Hi-Res Vertically Integrated Liquid

Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 180 Comments: 56480
Quoting Pocamocca:

Good call. Derecho = yes, rare. Reg T-Storm = Not rare. This is a regular T-storm now that packed a much bigger punch upstate hours ago.

But it ain't over yet. Mother Nature can be full of surprises. I just don't see it for NYC - at least the Bronx, Manh., or Brooklyn.

The concern is for high straightline winds over Long Island. If you'd look at a map.
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Quoting Pocamocca:

Good call. Derecho = yes, rare. Reg T-Storm = Not rare. This is a regular T-storm now that packed a much bigger punch upstate hours ago.

But it ain't over yet. Mother Nature can be full of surprises. I just don't see it for NYC - at least the Bronx, Manh., or Brooklyn.

70mph winds is not an average thunderstorm... NYC is about to get slammed:

...A SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT UNTIL 830 PM EDT
FOR QUEENS...NASSAU...UNION...NEW YORK (MANHATTAN)...BRONX...RICHMOND
(STATEN ISLAND)...HUDSON AND KINGS (BROOKLYN) COUNTIES...

AT 724 PM EDT...NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE DOPPLER RADAR CONTINUED TO
INDICATE A LINE OF SEVERE THUNDERSTORMS CAPABLE OF PRODUCING
DESTRUCTIVE WINDS IN EXCESS OF 70 MPH. THESE STORMS ARE ON A LINE
EXTENDING FROM NORWALK TO RYE TO MADISON...MOVING SOUTHEAST AT 50
MPH.
Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 84 Comments: 8086
1030. Patrap
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Quoting 954FtLCane:
tents starting to blow down in times squareTines Square Cam


And the flagpoles are starting to bend.
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Quoting Pocamocca:

Good call. Derecho = yes, rare. Reg T-Storm = Not rare. This is a regular T-storm now that packed a much bigger punch upstate hours ago.

But it ain't over yet. Mother Nature can be full of surprises. I just don't see it for NYC - at least the Bronx, Manh., or Brooklyn.
I think it's stronger than most typical thunderstorm, but not on scale of derecho. I could be wrong though.
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Quoting Pocamocca:

Or was.


I don't know man, the cells coming into NYC are looking pretty strong to me.

I do think there were far too many warnings out today, some of these storms just don't deserve them. However some of them sure do, including the noes coming into NYC. I'll place my bets on some severe wind reports around at least some of the area.
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You see this set up all the time in the northeast in summer time. Storms form in central or western PA, form into a line, and move off the east coast by 10pm-midnight. Nothing rare about this. What was rare was the moderate risk of severe weather the area was placed in. I honestly do not think this classifies as a derecho.
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tents starting to blow down in times squareTines Square Cam
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1024. Patrap
One can hear the winds on the Statue Of Liberty cam now

NY EarthCam
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Quoting Skyepony:


I've found I have to refresh the image after each time I pull it up to see the current one, regardless if I used a bookmark, googled or it was posted here. If I don't refresh the page once, it looks the same as it did last time I saw it. Here's main page. I'm guessing the last time you saw it was the 21st?


Thank You. I get what I need to do now. Hard for this ancient to get things sometimes. I think I will be OK now with that. Refresh is the name of the game. Thanks again
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Quoting Grothar:


how you get gifs of nws radar?
Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 9762
1020. LargoFl
An apparent tornado touched down in Elmira around 4 p.m., bringing down trees and power lines and damaging buildings. Many streets are closed.

It wasn't immediately known whether anyone was injured in the Southern Tier city of more than 29,000 people.

"We've had a tornado. It came through the city of Elmira ... right through the middle of the city," Chemung County Safety Coordinator Kristin Card said about an hour after the tornado was reported.

She said the agency did not yet know the extent of the damage or any reported injuries.

The tornado and heavy thunderstorms so far have resulted in 20,000 customers are without power in the Southern Tier, and another 1,000 are without power in Jefferson County in northern New York.

In other storm-related news, campers at 10 campgrounds already have been evacuated in Hudson Valley and western New York due to the storms, according to Gov. Andrew Cuomo's Office.

Campers in trailers, RVs and cabins will be encouraged to leave, but will be allowed to stay.

The state Department of Environment Conservation is advising all campers in the Catskills and southern Adirondacks of the impending weather and strongly encouraging tent campers to seek shelter.

Tent campers have been evacuated at the following campgrounds:

ALLEGANY REGION
Allegany State Park
Lake Erie State Park

NIAGARA REGION
Evangola State Park

TACONIC REGION
Clarence Fahnestock State Park
Lake Taghkanic State Park
Mills-Norrie State Park
Taconic State Park – Copake Falls
Taconic State Park – Rudd Pond

PALISADES REGION
Harriman State Park - Beaver Pond
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 42966
Best webcam view of the storms in NYC. View from Statue of Liberty.

Link
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1017. Grothar
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Here's a live streaming cam from the Statue of Liberty looking North to downtown Manhattan.

Link
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1015. Patrap

350
WUUS51 KPHI 262337
SVRPHI
NJC005-007-015-029-270100-
/O.NEW.KPHI.SV.W.0131.120726T2337Z-120727T0100Z/

BULLETIN - EAS ACTIVATION REQUESTED
SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WARNING
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE MOUNT HOLLY NJ
737 PM EDT THU JUL 26 2012

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN MOUNT HOLLY NJ HAS ISSUED A

* SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WARNING FOR...
BURLINGTON COUNTY IN SOUTHERN NEW JERSEY...
CAMDEN COUNTY IN SOUTHERN NEW JERSEY...
THIS INCLUDES THE CITY OF CAMDEN...
GLOUCESTER COUNTY IN SOUTHERN NEW JERSEY...
OCEAN COUNTY IN SOUTHERN NEW JERSEY...
THIS INCLUDES THE CITY OF TOMS RIVER...

* UNTIL 900 PM EDT

* AT 734 PM EDT...NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE DOPPLER RADAR INDICATED A
LINE OF SEVERE THUNDERSTORMS CAPABLE OF PRODUCING QUARTER SIZE
HAIL...AND DAMAGING WINDS IN EXCESS OF 60 MPH. THESE STORMS WERE
LOCATED ALONG A LINE EXTENDING ACROSS EXTREME SOUTHEASTERN
PENNSYLVANIA...AND MOVING EAST AT 50 MPH.

* SEVERE THUNDERSTORMS WILL BE NEAR...
BECKETT AROUND 745 PM EDT...
SWEDESBORO...RIVERSIDE...PAULSBORO AND PALMYRA AROUND 750 PM EDT...
MULLICA HILL...WEST DEPTFORD...DEPTFORD AND CROSSWICKS AROUND 755
PM EDT...
PITMAN AROUND 800 PM EDT...

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...

THIS IS A DANGEROUS STORM. IF YOU ARE IN ITS PATH...PREPARE
IMMEDIATELY FOR DAMAGING WINDS...LARGE HAIL...AND DEADLY CLOUD TO
GROUND LIGHTNING. PEOPLE OUTSIDE SHOULD MOVE TO A SHELTER...
PREFERABLY INSIDE A STRONG BUILDING BUT AWAY FROM WINDOWS.

PLEASE REPORT HAIL OR STRONG WINDS TO THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE BY
CALLING TOLL FREE...1-877-633-6772...WHEN YOU CAN DO SO SAFELY.

A SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WATCH REMAINS IN EFFECT UNTIL 1100 PM EDT
THURSDAY EVENING FOR NEW JERSEY AND EASTERN PENNSYLVANIA. A SEVERE
THUNDERSTORM WATCH ALSO REMAINS IN EFFECT UNTIL 100 AM EDT FRIDAY
MORNING FOR NORTHERN DELAWARE AND NORTHEASTERN MARYLAND AND SOUTHERN
NEW JERSEY.



LAT...LON 3975 7409 3950 7430 3963 7465 3973 7473
3951 7499 3978 7543 3985 7533 3988 7515
3997 7512 4013 7482 4013 7474 4018 7471
4014 7459 4008 7455 4017 7441 4017 7426
4011 7423 4010 7415 4013 7411 4009 7402
TIME...MOT...LOC 2336Z 288DEG 49KT 4036 7481 3992 7550
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Pocamocca:

Thunderstorms in July? Really?
He's thinking this is derecho, which is rare for NYC. However, I don't think this is typical derecho, but rather a strong thunderstorms.
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Quoting Pocamocca:

Thunderstorms in July? Really?


No, thunderstorms are common.. Just not thunderstorms in this magnitude or a Derecho.. Which is what this is.
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Quoting reedzone:


Typical??? This is very rare for the Big Apple.

Yeah, expect no more than a couple chairs blown into the pool, a clogged gutter, etc /extreme sarc
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1011. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
NEXRAD Radar - New York City, NY - Hi-Res Vertically Integrated Liquid

Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 180 Comments: 56480
And now I have, thanks Largo.
Member Since: April 18, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 2437
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Quoting Pocamocca:
Looks to me like another typical dog day of summer thunderstorm for the Big Apple. Only problem with that is they aren't the part of the country who needs the rain!!!!


Typical??? This is very rare for the Big Apple.
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Ya today didn't warrant it for sure GeorgiaStormz. NYC may be fine too. Worst may have been earlier. Weakened and hasn't rapidly re-fired to earlier strength. But the egg's haven't hatched for NYC yet. Knock on wood, should be no biggie for NYC. I'm cooking and haven't checked the radar in thirty; so take it for what that's worth.
Member Since: April 18, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 2437
1005. LargoFl
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 42966
1004. barbamz
This is the livestreaming cam of NY to watch. Skyline with storm coming in.
http://www.earthcam.com/usa/newyork/statueofliber ty/?cam=liberty_hd
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1003. Patrap
Its been a Hour now since any Tornado Warning Nation Wide.



earlier

TORNADO WARNING LOUISVILLE KY - KLMK 631 PM EDT THU JUL 26 2012
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1001. TaraNY
Quoting LargoFl:
..yes there was a report up in elmira of a touchdown..dont know if the severe will continue, best keep looking at your local alerts ok..with nightfall maybe it will calm down some



ok yeah i see, that is about 100 miles north west of me I think.


right now it is very quiet but still hear thunder and lighting every 5-10 minutes.

Hoping it stays that way.

Thanks!
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1000. Patrap
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About

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

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