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2011 July

Not a trace of Don; What's next?

Tropical Storm Don, the fourth named storm of the 2011 season, made landfall near Baffin Bay, Texas yesterday evening around 10pm CDT in less-than-grand fashion. The storm was looking very weak for the 24 hours before landfall, but fizzled rapidly after landfall, and by early Saturday morning, there was barely a trace of the storm to show that it even existed in the first place.

JeffMasters, • 7:41 PM GMT on July 30, 2011

Tropical Storm Don close to landfall; 91L tracks west

Tropical Storm Don continues to make its way west-northwest toward the Texas coast this evening. Don has increased steadily in pressure over the past 18 to 24 hours. Wind speed remained 45 knots in the 5pm EDT advisory. The strongest thunderstorm activity continues to be south of the center, southeast of Brownsville, Texas, but the strongest winds are to the north according to Hurricane Hunter data.

JeffMasters, • 11:42 PM GMT on July 29, 2011

Don closing in on Texas; 91L a potential threat to the Lesser Antilles

Tropical storm warnings are flying along the coast of Texas from Brownsville to Matagorda as Tropical Storm Don closes in on the Texas coast. Don remains a disorganized, moderate strength tropical storm, and appears unlikely to cause major damage or bring much-needed drought-busting rains to Texas. A hurricane hunter plane is in Don, and found highest surface winds of 55 mph at 11:06am EDT.

JeffMasters, • 3:22 PM GMT on July 29, 2011

Don battling dry air and wind shear

Tropical Storm Don continues to be an unimpressive low-end tropical storm as it continues northwest towards the Texas coast. Don formed yesterday afternoon from an African tropical wave that moved into the Gulf of Mexico under a region of low wind shear. Don's formation date of July 27 is nearly a month ahead of the usual August 23 date for the season's fourth named storm of the year.

JeffMasters, • 7:37 PM GMT on July 28, 2011

Tropical Storm Don unimpressive so far

Tropical Storm Don formed yesterday from an African tropical wave that crossed into the Gulf of Mexico, and the thus-far unimpressive storm appears poised to bring tropical storm conditions to the lower Texas coast by Friday night. An Air Force Hurricane Hunter plane arrived in the center of Don around 8am EDT this morning, and has found Don to be a small tropical storm with top winds near 40 mph.

JeffMasters, • 2:08 PM GMT on July 28, 2011

Tropical Storm Don forms in the Gulf of Mexico

Tropical Storm Don, the fourth tropical cyclone of the 2011 season, has formed in the Gulf of Mexico just north of the Yucatan Peninsula. Hurricane Hunters began investigating the system earlier this afternoon and quickly found a closed surface circulation.

JeffMasters, • 9:29 PM GMT on July 27, 2011

Drought continues; Yellowstone fires could become more frequent; 90L set to develop

Temperatures continue to soar into triple digits in the Southern Plains this week, and are expected to remain well above average for at least the next month. High air temperatures and low humidity (because of the low soil moisture) will continue to maintain drought conditions in the South unless we see some Gulf-landfalling tropical cyclones—the best remedy for a such an extreme drought.

JeffMasters, • 3:58 PM GMT on July 27, 2011

The nine billion-dollar weather disasters of 2011 (so far); Invest 90L rises again

It's been an unprecedented year for weather disasters in the United States, with the dangerous portion of hurricane season still to come. We've already seen nine billion-dollar weather disasters so far in 2011. The National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) June disaster report estimates that, through May, 2011 is the costliest year since they began tracking billion-dollar disasters in 1980.

angelafritz • 4:12 PM GMT on July 26, 2011

A heat wave recap; generally quiet tropics

Last week's U.S. heat wave has finally subsided, and most of the Northeast will see some cool highs in the 70s today. Unfortunately, the Midwest, and mid-Atlantic will continue to see high temperatures in the 90s for the rest of this week, and the southern Plains will be forced to continue to endure triple-digits.

JeffMasters, • 4:45 PM GMT on July 25, 2011

July 22, 2011: A day of records

The crest of the extreme heat wave of July 2011 has passed, although temperatures are still going to be dangerously hot in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast today. New York City (Central Park) will reach 100° again, as well as Philadelphia and possibly Washington Dulles. Numerous daily records were set yesterday, as well as some noteworthy all-time high temperature records.

JeffMasters, • 4:56 PM GMT on July 23, 2011

Intense heat wave bakes the Eastern U.S.

Intense heat seared large sections of the U.S. on Thursday, with dozens of new daily high temperature records adding to the formidable number of new records piling up this week. On Wednesday, 140 daily maximum temperature records were tied or broken. This represents over 2.4% of all stations in the U.S., which is an exceptionally high number of records for one day.

JeffMasters, • 3:27 PM GMT on July 22, 2011

U.S. heat wave blamed for 22 deaths; Bret and Cindy no threat

The dangerous U.S. heat wave of July 2011 will continue to bring another day of exceptionally humid heat to over 100 million Americans today, with 33 states plus the District of Columbia currently under heat advisories. The heat index exceeded 100° in twenty states in the Central and Eastern U.S. on Wednesday, peaking at 123° in Council Bluffs, Iowa. At least 22 deaths are being blamed on the heat.

JeffMasters, • 3:07 PM GMT on July 21, 2011

Famine declared due to drought in Somalia; U.S. heat wave shifts east

The main rainy season rains have failed again in the Horn of Africa--the region of East Africa comprising Somalia, Kenya, and Ethiopia. Rainfall over most of the Horn of Africa between February and July 2011 was 2 - 8 inches (50 - 200 mm) below average, leading to today's official declaration that famine conditions now exist.

JeffMasters, • 3:43 PM GMT on July 20, 2011

Midwest heat wave generates a heat index of 131° in Iowa; Bret no threat

A unusually intense, long-lasting, and widespread heat wave with high humidities continues to plague the Central U.S. The heat index--how hot the air feels when factoring in both the temperature and the humidity--exceeded 100°F in twelve states on Monday and thirteen on Sunday, with the dangerous heat extending from Texas northwards to North Dakota, Minnesota, and Wisconsin.

JeffMasters, • 1:18 PM GMT on July 19, 2011

Tropical Storm Bret forms near the northern Bahamas

Tropical Storm Bret formed last night over the Northwestern Bahama Islands, and is expected to bring heavy rains of 2 - 4 inches to the northernmost Bahama Islands today and Tuesday, as the storm drifts slowly to the north-northeast. Bret's formation date of July 17 is two weeks ahead of the usual formation date for the Atlantic's second storm of the season, which is August 1.

JeffMasters, • 2:57 PM GMT on July 18, 2011

Tropical Depression Two forms from Invest 98L

Tropical Depression Two (TD2) formed from Invest 98L this afternoon. Hurricane Hunters flew into the suspect area and found a surface circulation north of the Bahamas, with maximum sustained winds of 35 mph. They also determined the system had become warm core—a characteristic that must be present in order to declare a tropical cyclone.

JeffMasters, • 9:33 PM GMT on July 17, 2011

98L may develop into a tropical depression near Florida; Ma-on a threat to Japan

A tropical disturbance (Invest 98L) has formed off the east coast of Florida, along the tail end of a cold front that pushed off the coast late last week. This disturbance has the potential to develop into a tropical depression that will bring heavy rains to the northern Bahamas and east coast of Florida today through Tuesday. Satellite imagery shows that the disturbance has become more organized this morning, with an expanding area of intense thunderstorms, the beginnings of a surface circulation, and upper-level outflow on the east and north sides of the storm.

JeffMasters, • 3:09 PM GMT on July 17, 2011

Globe has 7th warmest June on record; Typhoon Ma-on a threat to Japan

June 2011 was the globe's 7th warmest June on record, according to NOAA. June 2011 global land temperatures were the 4th warmest on record, and ocean temperatures were the 10th warmest on record. Global satellite-measured temperatures for the lowest 8 km of the atmosphere were well above average, the 5th or 3rd warmest in the 34-year record

JeffMasters, • 5:13 PM GMT on July 15, 2011

2011 the most expensive year for natural disasters in history

An exceptional accumulation of very severe natural catastrophes, including earthquakes in Japan and New Zealand, tornadoes and flooding in the U.S., and flooding in Australia and New Zealand, make 2011 the highest-ever loss year on record, even after the first half-year, said re-insurance giant Munich Re in a press release this week. The $265 billion in economic losses accumulated this year exceeds the previous record year, 2005, which had $220 billion in damage (mostly due to $125 billion in damage from Hurricane Katrina.)

JeffMasters, • 2:42 PM GMT on July 14, 2011

Invest 97L bringing heavy rains to Mexico

A tropical disturbance (Invest 97L) in the southernmost Gulf of Mexico in the Bay of Campeche has spun up very quickly into an impressive system with very heavy thunderstorm activity. Radar out of Alvarado, Mexico is showing some rotation to 97L, and the system is close to tropical depression strength. In a special statement issued at 9:15am EDT, NHC gave 97L a 50% chance of development before the storm moves ashore over Mexico this afternoon.

JeffMasters, • 2:03 PM GMT on July 13, 2011

June 2011: another month of exceptional extremes for the U.S.

June 2011 was another month of remarkable extremes over the U.S. Overall, it was the 26th warmest and 19th driest June for the lower 48 states, according to the National Climatic Data Center. Extreme heat gripped much of the South, with Texas experiencing its hottest June on record, and 13 other states recording top-ten hottest Junes. Accompanying the heat was intense drought--New Mexico had its driest June on record, and four other states had top-ten driest Junes.

JeffMasters, • 2:24 PM GMT on July 11, 2011

Arctic sea ice in record retreat

The summer melt season is in full swing in the Arctic, and sea ice there is in record retreat. Arctic sea ice is currently at its lowest extent on record for early July. Moreover, Arctic sea ice volume is at its lowest on record, and during June 2011, was reduced by nearly half (47%) compared to its maximum at the beginning of the satellite era, in 1979.

JeffMasters, • 3:42 PM GMT on July 08, 2011

Summer Midwest flooding could rival 1993 as most expensive in history

Heavy rains this summer could trigger floods that would rival America's most expensive flood disaster of all-time, said NOAA in a press release yesterday. The most expensive flood in America occurred in 1993, when torrential summer rains caused a $25 billion flood along the Missouri River and surrounding regions of the Upper Midwest. Record 100-year flooding has already occurred along many stretches of the Missouri, Souris, James, North Platte, and other rivers in the Upper Midwest over the past month.

JeffMasters, • 1:52 PM GMT on July 07, 2011

Massive haboob duststorm sweeps through Phoenix

A massive desert sandstorm roared through Phoenix, Arizona last night, dropping visibilities to near zero and coating surfaces with a gritty later of dust and sand. The phenomena, known as a haboob, occurs when the outflow from a thunderstorm kicks up desert dust. Last night's haboob was due to a large complex of thunderstorms known as a mesoscale convective system (MCS) that developed to the east of Phoenix.

JeffMasters, • 3:15 PM GMT on July 06, 2011

2011 now tied for 1st for the most EF-5 tornadoes in one year: 6

The NWS found evidence to upgrade another tornado from the April 25 - 28, 2011 outbreak to EF-5 status with winds in excess of 200 mph: the Rainsville, Alabama tornado of April 27, 2011. EF-5 damage included a pickup truck that was thrown and torn into multiple pieces, and an 800 pound steel safe anchored to a foundation that was torn away, thrown 600 feet, and had its door ripped from its hinges. Twenty-six people died in the tornado. Six EF-5 tornadoes have now been confirmed in 2011, tying 1974 for most top-end tornadoes in one year.

JeffMasters, • 1:58 PM GMT on July 05, 2011

Heavy rains from Arlene kill 17 in Mexico

Heavy rains from Tropical Storm Arlene created flash floods and mudslides that killed eleven people in Mexico over the past three days, according to media reports. Rainfall amounts as high as ten inches were estimated by satellite over the mountainous regions of Mexico where most of the fatalities occurred. The soil in the region was prone to more dangerous flash floods than usual, due to extreme drought conditions that killed much of the soil-stabilizing vegetation.

JeffMasters, • 2:36 PM GMT on July 03, 2011

Los Conchas Fire New Mexico's largest fire in recorded history

The largest fire in New Mexico history is now the dangerous Los Conchas wildfire, which continues to threaten Los Alamos, New Mexico. The fire had consumed 147 square miles as of Thursday night, matching the 2003 Dry Lakes Fire in Gila National Forest in Southern New Mexico as the largest fire in state history. The Los Conchas fire was fanned yesterday by winds that reached sustained speeds of up to 25 mph, gusting to 34 mph, along with temperatures in the low 80s and humidities as low as 15%.

JeffMasters, • 3:23 PM GMT on July 01, 2011