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The Big Thompson Disaster: Reverberations of a Flash Flood, 40 Years Later

Dr. Jeff Masters, July 29, 2016

Director of Meteorology, Weather Underground

What began as a celebratory Saturday in the mountains ended in tragedy 40 years ago this weekend, when a catastrophic flash flood ripped through the narrow Big Thompson Canyon of Colorado’s Front Range. A total of 144 people were killed on that Saturday evening, July 31, 1976--the eve of the 100th anniversary of Colorado’s statehood. critical gaps in weather data, communication, and public awareness had teamed up with a slow-moving deluge to create a true disaster, one that’s had a noteworthy influence on how we deal with flash floods today.

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Hottest Reliably Measured Air Temperatures on Earth

Christopher C. Burt, July 22, 2016

Weather Historian, Weather Underground

As Jeff Masters mentioned in his recent blog, a temperature of 54.0°C (129.2°F) was observed at Mitribah, Kuwait on July 21st. According to the Kuwait Meteorological Department this was the hottest temperature ever measured in the country (a reading of 54.4°C/129.9°F observed at the same site on July 16, 2010 has been disallowed as a result of a faulty sensor). The 54.0°C reading also is a new record for Asia and ties a similar reading at Death Valley (on June 30, 2013) as the hottest reliably measured temperature on Earth. The key word here is ‘reliably’. Many hotter temperatures have been reported from around the world in years past. However, all of these have credibility issues. In that vein I am going to revisit a blog I first posted on WU in October 2010 listing all the various claims to temperature readings at or above 54°C (129.2°F). In the years since I made that post I’ve learned more about some of these claims and have thus updated my entries and ‘validity’ scores as a result.

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Meteorology Blogs

As The Season Ramps Up: A Chat With Former Hurricane Center Director Max Mayfield

Dr. Marshall Shepherd, July 29, 2016

2013 President, American Meteorological Society
Director of Atmospheric Sciences, Univ. of Georgia

To say that I was honored was an understatement. During the American Meteorological Society conference this year, I got to sit down with Max Mayfield, one of the most admired meteorologists and Nation...

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Steve Gregory, July 28, 2016

Sr. Forecaster/Risk Analysis, Weather Intel Services


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Featured PWS Owners: Ron and Nancy Johnson, Owners of

Kari Strenfel, July 15, 2016

Meteorologist, Weather Underground

Ron and Nancy Johnson [Robbinsville, North Carolina]

Ron and Nancy Johnson have been riding the ‘Dragon’ since 1975. In 2000, they even set up to help f...

Comments (3)

When Chicago is Capital

Dr. Ricky Rood, July 11, 2016

Professor, University of Michigan

After watching a scientist talk about climate change, you decide your city should be a climate winner. You have water, lots of water. And, well you have never heard anyone complain about how hot it is in the winter or, really, the summer. How can you use climate change to rebuild your city?

Comments (92)

Fellow WUer Celebrating Upcoming Birthday by Fundraising for Portlight!

Portlight, June 15, 2016

Disaster Relief Organization

Jessica Katz, friend of Portlight Disaster Relief, is celebrating her July 15th birthday by asking friends and family to donate to Portlight. The money raised will go to fulfill immediate needs of disaster survivors with disabilities. It will also be used to support deployment of volunteers to ensure accessibility of all disaster services, including those provided by Red Cross.

Comments (11)

First Rain of the Season for Southern California

Zachary Labe, September 13, 2015

Northeast Weather Analyst

The remnants of Hurricane Linda will track toward southern California in addition to a deepening trough. This will allow for a moist, upslope flow to provide the first widespread rain of the fall season across the region.

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