Ernesto disorganized; more fires, extreme heat for Oklahoma

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 4:25 PM GMT on August 05, 2012

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A disorganized Tropical Storm Ernesto continues to speed westward at 23 mph across the Caribbean. Ernesto has brought sporadic heavy rains to Jamaica today, and Kingston has picked up 0.51" of rain as of noon, and recorded top sustained winds of 22 mph. Ernesto looks very unhealthy on visible satellite loops, with its low-level circulation center a naked swirl exposed to view with almost no heavy thunderstorm activity near the center. However, the storm does have some rather far-flung spiral bands, and these bands are bringing occasional heavy downpours to Haiti, western Cuba, Jamaica, and the southwest Dominican Republic. This morning's flight by the Hurricane Hunters found that Ernesto had a very high central pressure of 1006 mb and top winds near 50 mph. The latest wind shear analysis from the SHIPS model shows moderate shear of 10 - 15 knots affecting the storm, but there must be some wind shear the satellites are not able to detect affecting Ernesto, given its disorganized appearance. Water vapor satellite loops show a large area of dry air to the west, and this dry air is also interfering with Ernesto's organization.


Figure 1. Visible satellite image with 375 meter resolution taken of Ernesto by the new Suomi NPP satellite at 1:39 pm EDT August 4, 2012. At the time, Ernesto had a flare-up of intense thunderstorms, and had top winds of 60 mph. Image credit: University of Wisconsin Madison CIMSS.

Forecast for Ernesto
Ernesto's rapid forward speed of 23 mph has been part of the reason for its lack of intensification, but the storm is expected to slow down Monday and Tuesday in response to a trough of low pressure passing to the north. This slowing, in combination with low wind shear, a moister environment, and increasing heat energy in the ocean, may allow Ernesto to strengthen some before making landfall in Belize or Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula on Tuesday night. However, the storm will be passing very close to the north coast of Honduras, putting a portion of its circulation over land and limiting intensification potential. It is unlikely Ernesto will become a hurricane in the Caribbean; NHC is giving just a 19% chance that this will occur. The main threat from Ernesto will be heavy rains over Honduras, Belize, Mexico, and Jamaica. The track forecast for Ernesto has become a bit easier, since the storm's current disorganization and more southerly path make will make it more difficult for the storm to make a northwesterly turn into the Gulf of Mexico like the UKMET and GFDL models are predicting. A stronger Ernesto would have been more likely to turn northwest under the influence of a trough of low pressure passing to the north. If Ernesto survives its crossing of the Yucatan Peninsula, the potential exists for it to re-strengthen over the Bay of Campeche, and make a second landfall on Mexico's coast on Friday, between Tampico and Veracruz. It's pretty unlikely that Ernesto will hit the U.S.-- though Brownsville, Texas could see some rain from Ernesto's outer spiral bands on Friday, if the storm survives that long.


Figure 2. Morning satellite image of Ernesto, showing the exposed low-level center--a swirl due south of Jamaica--and only very limited heavy thunderstorm activity surrounding the center.

Tropical Storm Florence
Tropical Storm Florence continues to plow westward at 14 mph over the Eastern Atlantic, and is not a threat to any land areas for next five days. The SHIPS model is predicting a moderate 5 - 15 knots of wind shear for Florence Sunday and Monday, but the shear will increase to the high range as Florence encounters an upper-level trough of low pressure on Tuesday. The latest Saharan Air Layer Analysis shows that a large area of dry air lies to the north and west of Florence, and this dry air will likely cause problems for the storm. Ocean temperature are near 26 - 26.5°C, which is right at the threshold for where a tropical storm can typically exist. It is possible that Florence could pose a threat to Bermuda next weekend, if the storm survives that long. Both the GFS and ECMWF models dissipate Florence before then.

Historic heat wave in Oklahoma
A second day of destructive fires affected Oklahoma on Saturday, thanks to extreme heat and drought, low humidities, and strong winds in advance of an approaching cold front. At 3 pm CDT Saturday, Oklahoma City had a temperature of 107°, a humidity of 19%, and winds of 16 mph gusting to 22 mph. The Oklahoma fires have destroyed at least 125 homes. The high temperature in Oklahoma City on Saturday reached 109°, the 12th warmest temperature recorded in the city since records began in 1891. Friday's high of 113° tied for the warmest temperature in city history.


Figure 3. Highway 48 is covered in smoke as flames continue, Saturday, Aug 4, 2012, east of Drumright, OK. Image credit: Associated Press.

The only comparable Oklahoma heat wave: August 1936
The only heat wave in Oklahoma history that compares to the August 2012 heat wave occurred during the great Dust Bowl summer of 1936, the hottest summer in U.S. history. Oklahoma City experienced three days at 110° that summer, and a record streak of 22 straight days with a temperature of 100° or hotter. Those numbers are comparable to 2012's: three days at 110° or hotter, and a string of 18 consecutive days (so far) with temperatures of 100° or hotter. The weak cold front that passed though Oklahoma Saturday will bring temperatures about 10° cooler over the next few days, but high temperatures are still expected to approach 100° in Oklahoma City Sunday through Tuesday. It's worth noting that Oklahoma City has experienced only 11 days since 1890 with a high of 110° or greater. Three of those days were in 2011, three in 2012, and three in the great Dust Bowl summer of 1936.

Wunderground's weather historian Christopher C. Burt has a new post on July's heat extremes in the U.S.


Figure 4. Most of Oklahoma has experienced nine consecutive days with highs of 100° or more, and many regions, including Oklahoma City, have had a streak of eighteen such days. Image credit: Oklahoma Mesonet.

Severe thunderstorm complex forces evacuation of Lollapalooza
A organized complex of severe thunderstorms developed over Eastern Iowa and Northern Illinois late Saturday afternoon, forming a dangerous bow echo that swept through Chicago, forcing the evacuation of the Lollapalooza music festival. NOAA's Storm Prediction Center (SPC) logged over 150 reports of wind damage from the storm, with five of the thunderstorms containing winds in excess of hurricane force (74 mph.) And just yesterday, my daughter was bemoaning her misfortune at not being able to get tickets to the show! The thunderstorm complex traveled about 300 miles from Eastern Iowa to Ohio, generating winds gust in excess of 58 mph along most of its path, meeting the definition of a derecho.


Figure 5. Radar image of the severe thunderstorm complex that spawned a dangerous bow echo over Chicago, which forced the evacuation of the Lollapalooza music festival.

Jeff Masters

IN THE EYE OF THE STORM (nanamac)
Storm clouds overwhelming Chicago
IN THE EYE OF THE STORM
IN THE EYE OF THE STORM (nanamac)
Sheets of rain & darkness!
IN THE EYE OF THE STORM
()
Storm damage (Bubbly)
Straight line winds during a severe thunderstorm left crumpled metal and splintered wood behind in Frytown, Iowa
Storm damage

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New EPac invest:

BEGIN
NHC_ATCF
invest_ep922012.invest
FSTDA
R
U
040
010
0000
201208051800
NONE
NOTIFY=ATRP
END
INVEST, EP, E, , , , , 92, 2012, DB, O, 2012080512, 9999999999, , , , , , METWATCH, , EP922012
EP, 92, 2012080512, , BEST, 0, 118N, 1045W, 20, 0, DB, 0, , 0, 0, 0, 0,
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Quoting wxchaser97:
Buffalo under a severe warning and watch.
..looks like the storms are firing up all over the place today
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 36892
I noticed gradual weakening from SHIPS in 5 days for Florence from 50 knots peak to 40 knots.
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Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 36892
Buffalo under a severe warning and watch.
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227. NJ2S
Quoting GeorgiaStormz:


twas the end of the run....but would have to do a lot of unnecessary northward ramming to get to NYC but this run is so far out it might get anywhere on the E US...if it materializes.




Earl/Irene again PLEASE SAY NO!!!! i want them all to be fish storms! plus i have to be in PR from aug 27-sep3....keep the canes away!!
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Quoting 7544:
hmmm if florence stays weak would she further west rather than turning out to sea and if she made it to the bahamas are conditions good there for her to reform tia

yeap largo ex91L didnt fade out that much nice line of stroms forming to north looks like a tail lol
..yeah she sure is giving us the rain and boomers alright
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 36892
G'day,
Thanks for the update Jeff.

And just another two cents worth...
Previously, among the issues I mentioned yesterday from observing Hi-Res GFS analysis, I suggested that despite the fast forward speed, the low-mid fields (and moisture supply) had been in sync helping Erny to maintain it's organization and convective structure. Took a closer view from last night's 0Z GFS 12 hr forecast of layer wind fields from low to mid, sure looks like the reality we've seen today... Clearly shows - besides the circulation's degeneration to "horseshoe" configuration within the vorticity / wind fields as forecasted - that a burst of low level winds across the northern portion of the system has forced the LLC to outrun the mid... For example, that by 12Z today the center at 925 mb would be located nearly 3 degrees longitude ahead of the 500 mb vort feature... essentially decoupling the system, at least temporarily... Dry air entrainment looks to continue a near-term issue - previous model cycles indicated might have an ability to mix out, however that 0Z analysis / 12 hour forecast shows the wedge of rich tropical moisture at 700-400 mb strongly contrasted with large pool of subsident, dry air over the W Caribbean... and Ernesto positioned right about on the edge...

Presently, I'd suspect the expansive Gulf ULL is forcing that pool of dry air to remain nearly stationary, while Erny plows into it... as model guidance and WV loops suggest... As for why the vorticity degenerated back to open wave look might be attributed to couple details - both the fast forward motion, and the fact that Erny remains a broad low pressure center embedded within / attached to it's rather large, low-latitude parent ELY wave - reports from several wx stations well into South America over past few days indicated fairly typical wind shifts associated with such passage... All that said, still remains good chance for the storm to get it's act together in next 24 hrs, esp during day tomorrow while approaching NE coast Honduras as current 12Z GFS indicates - closer re-alignment and closing off of vort structure, Gulf ULL retrogrades further SW into NE Mex / dry pool follows and shrinks / moisture supply returns. Looking more doubtful it'll have time to reorganize and attain hurricane strength, perhaps at best 70 mph TS might be possible... Of course by then the land interaction issue crops up, it'll need skirt Gulf of Honduras and sure appears a close call... Interestingly the GFS also indicates it never reaching the BOC, burrowing into Cen AM, and for a while early in that period, the 700-500 mb vort actually gets better defined... then gets disrupted over mountains, but might also reemerge intact enough to reform in E Pac! LOL, that would be about right...

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223. 7544
hmmm if florence stays weak would she further west rather than turning out to sea and if she made it to the bahamas are conditions good there for her to reform tia

yeap largo ex91L didnt fade out that much nice line of stroms forming to north looks like a tail lol
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Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 36892
Quoting VAbeachhurricanes:


Thats not it at all, but that coonversation is for another time.
It's part of the problem though, you cannot ignore it.
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91L was a complete bust for us over in coastal Brevard. I think Nws MLB forgot how to nowcast. Clearly everything is going to setup to our west in a SE flow regime during the day. 0.02 for us through two days with my Keetch Byram numbers back close to 500 after an extremely dry July! Looks like a different story for western central Florida.
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Quoting VAbeachhurricanes:


I don't like your florence track

Why, seems like thats the way she is going?
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Quoting pmzqqzmp:


Exactly wishcasting and posters here just salavating at the thought of death & descruction, without any regard to the fear others may have. Incredibly cruel people.
Lots of pple u r downing u don't know the first thing about... most of the pple looking at G H I storms coming off Africa and noting the GFS w/ a relentless high are paying attention because they are in the potential strike Zone. They're not salivating; they're CONCERNED. I get really tired of pple telling us we shouldn't pay attention.

Sure, some bloggers, like taz and levi, don't live in the hurricane strike zone. OTOH, a lot of us live with the fear day in, day out, and we fight it with KNOWLEDGE. We figure if we know what's going on, we can prepare for the worst. Nothing to do with cruelty.

I wish u head in the sand types would let us do what we have to do.

[sorry if I mashed ur corn; this just gets old.]
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Quoting Hurricanes101:


Agreed 10000000%, it is so frustrating when people come on and try to ruin good discussion.


the only think i know is:
If a hurricane formed and landfall in any part of the continent is good and bad at the same time, because the earth needs the hurricanes and other phenomenon of the nature like(earthquake,tornadoes ect) to survive, if the earth don't have this process for example the earth would look like mars.
So the only thing that we can do is stay safe, and looks the wonderfull things of the mother nature
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Quoting GTcooliebai:
Neapolitan I just don't know what the heck is going through some peoples minds these days, too much violence in video games could be to blame.


Thats not it at all, but that coonversation is for another time.
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Quoting Neapolitan:
An off-topic news alert that may be of interest to some: there's been a mass shooting at a Sikh temple south of Milwaukee. Details are still coming in...


Saw that, I've heard from active shooter, to shooter on run, to hostage situation. Waiting on details.
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Quoting robert88:
The weak circulation center is wobbling WSW at times...but yeah it's on a W course overall. It's almost time to stick a fork in this one. Ernesto is a mess and the center or whats left of it is outrunning the convection. It could become post tropical very soon. On it's current course Ernesto looks to be headed near or towards Honduras. He better start gaining some latitude.
doest.look.weak...look.at.visiable.loop.windshear .at.a.mid.or.upper.level..el.nino?
Member Since: September 11, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 4333
Quoting Neapolitan:
An off-topic news alert that may be of interest to some: there's been a mass shooting at a Sikh temple south of Milwaukee. Details are still coming in...
Neapolitan I just don't know what the heck is going through some peoples minds these days, too much violence in video games could be to blame.
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Quoting wxchaser97:
Because this map was comment 200 no one saw it so here it is:
My forecast graphic for Atlantic, NOT OFFICIAL


I don't like your florence track
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Folks..another one of those mass shootings..this time in wisconsin..in some temple..its on the news
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 36892
The weak circulation center is wobbling WSW at times...but yeah it's on a W course overall. It's almost time to stick a fork in this one. Ernesto is a mess and the center or whats left of it is outrunning the convection. It could become post tropical very soon. On it's current course Ernesto looks to be headed near or towards Honduras. He better start gaining some latitude.
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Looks like some crow will be eaten today by many on this blog calling for major hurricane Ernesto....Oh those trade winds aren't a factor. CAW CAW...
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An off-topic news alert that may be of interest to some: there's been a mass shooting at a Sikh temple south of Milwaukee. Details are still coming in...
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eye.is.still.visiable..slowing.down?
Member Since: September 11, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 4333
Quoting HurricaneDean07:

The central african wave is "Gordon"...
What about the wave that just emerged off of Africa, couldn't that become Gordon, has a nice size spin to it.
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Because this map was comment 200 no one saw it so here it is:
My forecast graphic for Atlantic, NOT OFFICIAL
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The latest wind shear analysis shows low shear of 5 - 10 knots affecting the storm, but there must be some wind shear the satellites are not able to detect affecting Ernesto, given its disorganized appearance. -- JM

Dr. Masters didn't realize that the CIMSS shear map hasn't updated since 10 p.m. EST Saturday.

Link Shear Map
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Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 36892
My forecast graphic for Atlantic, NOT OFFICIAL
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Quoting CybrTeddy:
I'm seeing a westward motion, not SW or anything such.
The pros agree with you...W OR 270 DEGREES AT 23 MPH...:)
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Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 36892
Quoting brazocane:
Earlier from the NWS in Galveston

..wow thats a great pic there
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 36892
BULLETIN
TROPICAL STORM ERNESTO INTERMEDIATE ADVISORY NUMBER 16A
NWS NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL AL052012
200 PM EDT SUN AUG 05 2012

...ERNESTO REMAINS POORLY ORGANIZED...

SUMMARY OF 200 PM EDT...1800 UTC...INFORMATION
----------------------------------------------
LOCATION...15.2N 77.9W
ABOUT 205 MI...335 KM SSW OF KINGSTON JAMAICA
ABOUT 355 MI...570 KM E OF CABO GRACIAS A DIOS ON NIC/HON BORDER
MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS...50 MPH...85 KM/H
PRESENT MOVEMENT...W OR 270 DEGREES AT 23 MPH...37 KM/H
MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE...1006 MB...29.71 INCHES


WATCHES AND WARNINGS
--------------------
CHANGES WITH THIS ADVISORY...

NONE.

SUMMARY OF WATCHES AND WARNINGS IN EFFECT...

A TROPICAL STORM WARNING IS IN EFFECT FOR...
* JAMAICA

A TROPICAL STORM WATCH IS IN EFFECT FOR...
* GRAND CAYMAN
* THE COAST OF HONDURAS FROM THE HONDURAS/NICARAGUA BORDER WESTWARD
TO PUNTA CASTILLA

A TROPICAL STORM WARNING MEANS THAT TROPICAL STORM CONDITIONS ARE
EXPECTED SOMEWHERE WITHIN THE WARNING AREA...IN THIS CASE WITHIN 12
HOURS.

A TROPICAL STORM WATCH MEANS THAT TROPICAL STORM CONDITIONS ARE
POSSIBLE WITHIN THE WATCH AREA...IN THIS CASE WITHIN 24 TO 48 HOURS.

INTERESTS IN BELIZE AND THE YUCATAN PENINSULA OF MEXICO SHOULD
MONITOR THE PROGRESS OF ERNESTO.

FOR STORM INFORMATION SPECIFIC TO YOUR AREA...PLEASE MONITOR
PRODUCTS ISSUED BY YOUR NATIONAL METEOROLOGICAL SERVICE.


DISCUSSION AND 48-HOUR OUTLOOK
------------------------------
AT 200 PM EDT...1800 UTC...THE CENTER OF TROPICAL STORM ERNESTO WAS
LOCATED NEAR LATITUDE 15.2 NORTH...LONGITUDE 77.9 WEST. ERNESTO IS
MOVING TOWARD THE WEST NEAR 23 MPH...37 KM/H...AND THIS MOTION IS
EXPECTED TO CONTINUE TODAY AND TONIGHT WITH A DECREASE IN FORWARD
SPEED. A TURN TOWARD THE WEST-NORTHWEST IS EXPECTED BY LATE MONDAY
OR MONDAY NIGHT. ON THE FORECAST TRACK...THE CENTER OF ERNESTO IS
EXPECTED TO CONTINUE TO PASS SOUTH OF JAMAICA THIS AFTERNOON AND
MOVE NORTH OF THE NORTHEASTERN COAST OF HONDURAS LATE MONDAY AND
MONDAY NIGHT.

MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS ARE NEAR 50 MPH...85 KM/H...WITH HIGHER
GUSTS. SOME STRENGTHENING IS POSSIBLE AS ERNESTO MOVES OVER THE
WESTERN CARIBBEAN SEA.

TROPICAL STORM FORCE WINDS EXTEND OUTWARD UP TO 125 MILES...205 KM
FROM THE CENTER.

ESTIMATED MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE IS 1006 MB...29.71 INCHES.


HAZARDS AFFECTING LAND
----------------------
WIND...TROPICAL STORM CONDITIONS ARE EXPECTED IN JAMAICA LATER THIS
AFTERNOON AND THIS EVENING. TROPICAL STORM CONDITIONS ARE POSSIBLE
IN GRAND CAYMAN TONIGHT AND EARLY MONDAY...AND IN THE WATCH AREA
ALONG THE COAST OF HONDURAS BY LATE MONDAY. SOME SQUALLS WILL
CONTINUE TO AFFECT THE SOUTH COAST OF HAITI TODAY.

RAINFALL...RAINFALL ACCUMULATIONS OF 3 TO 6 INCHES...WITH ISOLATED
HIGHER AMOUNTS...CAN BE EXPECTED IN JAMAICA AS ERNESTO MOVES BY THE
ISLAND. SHOWERS AND THUNDERSTORMS...OCCASIONALLY HEAVY...ARE
POSSIBLE OVER HAITI TODAY.


NEXT ADVISORY
-------------
NEXT COMPLETE ADVISORY...500 PM EDT.

$$
FORECASTER PASCH/ROBERTS
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I'm seeing a westward motion, not SW or anything such.
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TROPICAL WEATHER OUTLOOK
NWS NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL
1100 AM PDT SUN AUG 5 2012

FOR THE EASTERN NORTH PACIFIC...EAST OF 140 DEGREES WEST LONGITUDE..

SHOWERS AND THUNDERSTORMS HAVE INCREASED NEAR A TROPICAL WAVE AND
ASSOCIATED LOW PRESSURE AREA LOCATED ABOUT 475 MILES SOUTHWEST OF
ACAPULCO. FURTHER DEVELOPMENT OF THIS SYSTEM IS POSSIBLE AS IT
MOVES WEST-NORTHWESTWARD AT 10 TO 15 MPH. THIS SYSTEM HAS A MEDIUM
CHANCE...30 PERCENT...OF BECOMING A TROPICAL CYCLONE DURING THE
NEXT 48 HOURS.

ELSEWHERE...TROPICAL CYCLONE FORMATION IS NOT EXPECTED DURING THE
NEXT 48 HOURS.
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 114728
Latest GFS:

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Quoting robert88:
Ernesto is still moving SW or WSW. Link

My stupid way of determining direction.

1.) Put your finger on your computer screen where the circulation was when the sun first came up.

2.) Forward to the latest frame.

3.) Put another finger on the computer screen where the circulation was in the latest frame.

Ernesto has been moving west, or just slightly north of west.
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TG- how has the GFDL model been at predicting storms over the last couple of years? Is it more wrong than right?
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Ernesto is dead
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 114728
Leave poor little Ernesto alone. Like none of you ever took a nap? He should be firing up again in a little while.
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Ernesto is still moving SW or WSW. Link
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186. 7544
when could we see 92l
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Quoting java162:



91l should neva been designated an invest in the first place


Disagreed, the system was in favorable conditions, close to land and had a circulation forming at the time

but I am glad you think you know more than the experts
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Quoting lightning75:


I would hope you are not banned for this comment just saying as you see it . The cherry picking of facts is wonderous .
Care to share your definition of "cherry picking"? Again, Dr. Masters' current blog entry contains actual, verifiable facts about this recent Oklahoma heat wave. I repeated one of those facts. Would you have been less inclined to accuse me of cherry picking had I arbitrarily inserted a cold record that has nothing to do with the heat wave so I could offset the comment about Oklahoma? Okay, here's one for you: this morning, Aniak, Alaska, tied its low for the day of 39.2 degrees, set in 2008.

Better? ;-)
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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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