Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.
By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 1:40 PM GMT on July 09, 2007
An assessment team from NOAA headquarters returns to the National Hurricane Center today to interview staffers and director Bill Proenza about the on-going upheaval at the center. Last week, most of the senior staff called for Mr. Proenza to step down. I continue to support the senior staff on this issue, as detailed in a blog from last week. It's up to the NOAA assessment team to sort things out now, which will not be easy. I hope that the NOAA assessment team fairly considers the evidence, and that wisdom prevails in this unfortunate conflict.
Fortunately for all concerned, the tropical Atlantic is very quiet at present. There are no threat areas to discuss, and none of the computer models hint at anything developing over the coming week. It's a different story in the Pacific, where tropical Storm Man-Yi is expected to become the season's first Category 3 or higher typhoon. Man-Yi could threaten Japan late this week.
Friday's high temperature of 129 degrees in Death Valley was only five degrees away from the hottest temperature ever recorded in North America--the 134 degrees (you guessed it) in Death Valley, back on July 10, 1913. Temperatures cooled off over the weekend, but not a lot--Sunday's high was 120 degrees (but it was a "dry" heat!) The heat will continue over the West this week, but we have likely witnessed the peak temperatures from this heat wave. With thunderstorm activity expected to pick up this week across the West, expect plenty of lightning-triggered fires to erupt. Utah is already reporting its biggest forest fire in history, and we can expect one of the worst summer fire seasons on record across the Western U.S.
June wasn't exceptionally hot across the U.S.--the National Climatic Data Center reported that June 2007 was the 23rd warmest and 33rd driest June in the historical record (since 1895). The period January - June was the 18th warmest on record. July will probably not set any heat records for the U.S. as a whole, despite the Western heat wave, since a major trough of low pressure is forecast to bring unseasonably cool air across the Midwest and Northeast later this week.
View From the Surface blogger Margie Kieper is retiring from blogging as of today. She wants to focus her energies on contributing to the science of tropical meteorology, and hopes to become a co-author on scholarly journal articles. Margie is one of the best researchers I've worked with, and I'm sure she'll do well. We'll miss her thorough and informative blog posts!
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