2011: Summer of Pain

Streak of heat in Dallas continues... courtesy: NOAA (NWS Dallas-Ft. Worth)

Following up my post from last week when we saw extreme heat in the Northeast, this summer has been pretty awful in terms of heat. Not atypical given a strongly positive Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO) and sharply negative Pacific Decadal Oscillation and strong pool of warm water further in the North Pacific, but as we are beginning to approach to some insane records, I figured it would be interesting to look at this summer from a historical perspective, and I decided to use the NCDC’s record temps tool to sort all of the all-time record highs recorded or matched this summer. In other words, stations that have seen or tied their warmest temperature ever. And as we prepare to see the drought stricken Southern Plains and North Texas absolutely bake this week, this list should grow further.

Some notes:

– Stations had to have a period of record of at least 30 years to qualify. Some of the 30-50 year records aren’t that impressive, but there were a substantial number of all-time records set at stations with periods of record of 60-110 years.

– I didn’t discriminate between official ASOS observing sites and Co-ops, so some of the Co-op records shouldn’t be taken with full confidence, but any site with 60-80+ years of data that sets an all-time record is pretty significant.

– Northway, AK broke the old record of 91 degrees twice…once with a 94 on 7/10 and then shattered that with a 97 on 7/11.

– Tallahassee and Marianna, FL both tied or broke their all-time records multiple times in June.

– Multiple locations on the Plains and Texas did as well. It was interesting to see how many station tied their all-time records one day, then busted through them shortly thereafter.

-Ypsilanti, MI set their record July 2nd and then broke it by two on 7/21. That one is an oddball and stands out, and I wonder if that has to do with new construction in that area?

– It’s not a coincidence that several of these all-time records being broken were originally set in the 70s, 50s, or 30s, as those also saw somewhat similar global weather patterns to what we see in 2011. No coincidence either that we’ve had insane, Dust Bowl type drought, incredibly horrible tornadoes, and active hurricane seasons as well.

– It is also impressive how many 1980, 1988, 1995, 1998, and 2010 records you see on these lists as well.

– Check S of O out on Facebook!

Here’s the list…apologies for some of the formatting. Haven’t found a simple way to put Excel into WordPress.

Date Site New Record Prev Record Date Set Yrs. Data
6/1 Tallahassee, FL 103 103 7/30/2010 68
6/1 Marianna, FL 105 105 7/31/2010 65
6/4 Enterprise, AL 104 104 7/21/2000 45
6/4 Winter Haven, FL 104 104 7/24/1952 71
6/13 Marianna, FL 105 105 6/1/2011 65
6/13 Jal, NM 114 112 6/29/1957 75
6/14 Tallahassee, FL 103 103 6/1/2011 68
6/14 Ashburn, GA 102 102 8/10/2007 55
6/15 Marianna, FL 105 105 6/13/2011 65
6/15 Valdosta, GA 106 106 8/2/1998 44
6/15 Tallahassee, FL 105 103 6/14/2011 68
6/15 Purdum, NE 116 114 7/24/1940 109
6/17 Laredo, TX 113 113 6/15/1998 56
6/19 Putnam, TX 110 110 8/8/2003 48
6/23 Raton, NM 102 100 7/25/2009 32
6/24 Raton, NM 102 102 6/23/2011 32
6/24 Amarillo, TX 109 108 6/28/1998 68
6/24 Borger, TX 109 108 6/27/1998 63
6/24 Dalhart, TX 108 107 6/24/1990 64
6/25 Portales, NM 109 109 6/28/1968 103
6/25 Wellington, TX 114 113 6/25/1994 52
6/26 Dodge City, KS 110 110 6/29/1998 68
6/26 Gage, OK 113 113 7/10/2009 73
6/26 Wellington, TX 117 114 6/25/2011 52
6/26 Childress, TX 117 117 6/27/1994 69
6/26 Amarillo, TX 111 109 6/24/2011 68
6/26 Borger, TX 111 109 6/24/2011 63
6/26 Morton, TX 111 110 6/28/1994 49
6/26 Plainview, TX 111 111 6/28/1994 104
6/26 Tulia, TX 110 110 6/28/1994 63
6/26 Dalhart, TX 110 108 6/24/2011 64
6/26 Canyon, TX 109 109 6/24/2011 58
6/27 Ft. Huachuca, AZ 106 106 7/28/1995 74
6/27 Ashland, KS 114 114 8/13/1936 112
6/27 Richfield, KS 111 111 6/30/1933 67
6/27 Goodwell, OK 112 111 6/30/1998 93
6/27 Fort Supply, OK 110 110 7/11/2009 72
6/27 Paducah, TX 118 118 6/28/1994 55
6/27 Turkey, TX 116 115 6/27/1994 47
6/27 Shamrock, TX 115 113 6/25/1980 50
6/27 Lipscomb, TX 114 114 7/19/1978 48
6/27 Panhandle, TX 112 111 6/3/2008 49
6/27 Plainview, TX 112 111 6/26/2011 104
6/27 Silverton, TX 111 109 6/28/1994 50
6/27 Canyon, TX 109 109 6/26/2011 58
6/29 Wilcox, AZ 110 110 6/28/1994 108
6/30 Garden City, KS 109 108 7/15/2003 55
7/2 Ypsilanti, MI 101 100 7/15/1977 49
7/9 Medicine Lodge, KS 114 113 8/22/1984 32
7/9 Oklahoma City, OK 110 110 7/6/1996 71
7/10 Northway, AK 94 91 6/15/1969 70
7/10 Hutchinson, KS 112 111 7/17/1980 50
7/10 Blanchard, OK 112 112 8/5/1964 60
7/10 Fort Supply, OK 110 110 6/27/2011 72
7/11 Northway, AK 97 94 7/10/2011 70
7/12 Shamrock, TX 117 115 6/27/2011 50
7/13 Magnolia, AR 109 109 9/1/2000 61
7/14 Magnolia, AR 112 109 7/13/2011 61
7/14 Wilmington, NC Co-op 104 104 8/2/1999 61
7/21 Ypsilanti, MI 103 101 7/2/2011 49
7/21 Waterford, MI 98 98 8/9/2001 34
7/21 Elmira, NY 104 102 7/17/1988 42
7/21 Altoona, PA 101 100 7/16/1988 56
7/21 Dubois, PA 98 98 7/16/1988 46
7/21 Fort Atkinson, WI 103 102 8/2/1988 71
7/22 Homer, AK 84 81 7/10/1993 80
7/22 Hartford, CT 103 102 7/6/2010 52
7/22 Windsor Locks, CT 103 102 7/6/2010 68
7/22 Bridgeport, CT 103 103 7/22/1957 68
7/22 New Haven, CT 101 100 7/6/2010 58
7/22 Tipton, IN 98 98 7/21/1999 35
7/22 Boston, MA 103 103 7/22/1926 92
7/22 New Bedford, MA 102 100 7/6/1999 38
7/22 Walpole, MA 102 102 8/2/1975 39
7/22 Norwood, MA 101 101 7/6/2010 34
7/22 Hingham, MA 101 100 8/14/2002 51
7/22 BWI Airport, MD 106 105 7/6/2010 67
7/22 Salisbury, MD 102 102 7/6/2010 64
7/22 Newark, NJ 108 105 8/9/2001 77
7/22 Trenton, NJ 106 104 7/6/2010 36
7/22 Teterboro, NJ 104 104 7/10/2007 41
7/22 Bath, NY 102 101 7/16/1988 51
7/22 Geneva, NY 99 97 8/10/2001 43
7/22 Shippensburg, PA 105 104 7/16/1988 80
7/22 NE Philadelphia, PA 105 104 7/6/2010 42
7/22 Altoona, PA 103 101 7/21/2011 56
7/22 Williamsport, PA 103 103 7/15/1995 64
7/22 Lancaster, PA 103 101 7/6/2010 38
7/22 Stevenson Dam, PA 102 101 7/17/1988 43
7/22 Dubois, PA 101 98 7/21/2011 46
7/22 Tionesta, PA 100 99 7/16/1995 73
7/22 Bradford, PA 97 97 7/16/1988 55
7/22 Dulles Airport, VA 105 104 7/16/1988 50
7/23 Norfolk, CT 94 93 8/6/1955 74
7/23 Birch Hill Dam, MA 99 99 7/8/2010 63
7/23 Norton, MA 99 98 8/27/1948 37
7/23 Natl. Arboretum, DC 105 104 8/1/1999 64
7/23 Salisbury, MD 103 102 7/22/2011 64
7/23 West Buxton, ME 98 98 7/20/1991 57
7/23 Williamston, NC 101 101 7/8/2010 57
7/23 New Brunswick, NJ 105 105 7/7/2010 44
7/23 Bath, NY 103 102 7/22/2011 51
7/23 Stevenson Dam, PA 106 102 7/22/2011 43
7/23 Renovo, PA 105 104 7/4/1966 53
7/23 Lock Haven, PA 105 104 7/15/1988 36
7/23 Ford City, PA 104 101 7/30/1988 69
7/23 Blue Marsh Lake, PA 103 102 7/6/1999 34
7/23 Lancaster, PA Co-op 103 102 7/16/1988 36
7/23 Slippery Rock, PA 102 102 7/16/1988 63
7/23 Tionesta, PA 102 100 7/22/2011 73
7/23 Bradford, PA Co-op 99 98 7/7/1986 70
7/23 Kane, PA 98 98 6/30/1944 73
7/23 Sterling, VA 104 104 8/21/1983 35
7/23 Buckeye, WV 97 96 7/6/1999 51
7/24 Twin Lakes Resvr, CO 88 88 7/18/2003 44
7/25 Downsville Dam, NY 95 95 7/6/1987 32
7/25 Beltzville Dam, PA 101 101 7/11/1988 41
7/27 Salina, KS 113 113 7/14/1954 60
7/27 Hutchinson, KS 113 112 7/10/2011 50
7/28 Hutchinson, KS Co-op 113 111 8/6/1964 50
7/28 Sterling, KS 112 112 6/27/1980 63
7/28 Marion Resvr, KS 110 109 7/20/2006 46
7/30 Natl. Arboretum, DC 106 105 7/23/2011 64
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Polar Pain

First a quick reminder that S of O is now on Facebook, so if you haven’t already, “Like” the page, and I’ll be posting intriguing links from time to time, as well as posting snowfall forecast maps as needed a little faster than you’ll get them here. Click here to “like” State of Occlusion, and feel free to tell anyone you pass snow forecasts on to!

In what’s turning out to be quite an interesting winter across the entire US this season. We’ve had a blizzard in the Northeast, record low pressures in the Upper Midwest, a blizzard there too, one of the coldest Decembers on record in spots, snow in Vegas, graupel in Phoenix, and snow in many of the foothill and desert communities north of Los Angeles, record rainfall and snow in California, flooding in the Northwest, record brutal cold and snow in Europe, and on, and on. And that may have just been the appetizer.

6-10 European Ensemble 850 mb T Anomalies - Credit: Allan Huffman's Weather Model Site: http://raleighwx.americanwx.com/models

What’s coming over the next 1-3 weeks is nothing short of awesome to watch unfolding on the weather maps. Over the next 10-15 days there will be some of the coldest air of the season draining into the Central part of the country and possibly into the Southern and Eastern parts as well, at least 2-3 *chances* at storms in the Northeast/Mid-Atlantic, the potential for the Southeast as well, and possibly even a winter storm deep into Texas. All *possibilities* in this pattern.

The image I posted (click it or any other image to enlarge) is a map from Allan Huffman’s model site (http://raleighwx.americanwx.com/models), which illustrates the European ensemble mean 850 mb temperature anomaly over the period 6-10 days from now. Basically, just an average of how much warmer (yellow) or colder (blue/purple) than normal this model is predicting over the period 6-10 days from now. And notice how almost the entire US (except Maine) is in the below normal range. Keep in mind, 850 mb temperatures are just temperature about 5,000′ above sea level. Translate this down to the ground and under clear skies and/or calm winds…that is cold, even for January, even for these areas. Also keep in mind that these temperature anomalies are in degrees C, not F, so 23F colder than normal aloft could be 30-40+ degrees colder than normal at times on the surface. And I’m not posting it, but the 11-15 day forecast looks equally as cold, if not even colder.

Does it get any better? One of the main drivers (probably the easiest to explain, but certainly not the only driver) is the Arctic Oscillation, or a measure of atmospheric blocking in the Arctic region. High pressure can set up there aloft, and it basically displaces the cold air that’s supposed to be there and dumps it southbound into the US, Europe, etc. The AO tanked in December and really has not recovered, and it seems to be reinforced this month. This happened last winter and helped make it one of the colder winters in recent years for the Southeast and parts of the Central US. This looks as impressive as anything that was seen last winter or this past December. Coupled with things we’re seeing elsewhere, this adds up to what looks to be a long-duration and impressive period of cold in the US. The biggest question is whether or not the extreme cold can spread south and east far enough to impact larger population areas. But for the Northern Rockies and Northern Plains, this looks awful.

GFS Forecast for Saturday Morning, credit: NCEP

So what about snow? This will be the more challenging forecast to make. The map to the left is the GFS forecast for this coming Saturday. Last night’s European model absolutely bombed areas from Baltimore northeast into Boston with extremely heavy snow. Today’s GFS tries to do something similar, displaced further north a bit and behaving differently. This is the first of several threats. I’m not on board with this being a major storm at this point, but a weakish “clipper” type system with a widespread light snow, isolated pockets of heavy snow (potentially a squall line type of scenario with embedded thunder as it moves through NY/PA and New England). Right now there’s a low risk of this being a big system for most of PA/NJ and south, and a medium risk for New England. Stay tuned.

GFS Forecast for Next Wednesday Evening, credit: NCEP

The more important storm comes early to middle next week. The image to the right shows the GFS forecast for next Wednesday evening. Depending on how things play out over the next week, this one could be the one that presents a major threat to the I-95 corridor again. There are threats beyond that, but primarily for Texas and the Deep South….in other words, it may be “too cold to snow,” as they say.

I’m going to be non-committal on any of these threats at this time, but if you live in the Northeast or Mid-Atlantic, keep an eye on this Friday-Saturday and next Tuesday-Thursday, and load up on cold weather essentials…when us as meteorologists start saying that the winter weather is interesting, that’s usually not a good sign. I will keep you posted however.

Quick Saturday Update

Watching the Rutgers/Pitt game and trying to accomplish a bit before the Phillies tonight, so just some items of interest from the last couple days.

Tropics

The tropics are quite active globally as of late. Cyclone Giri absolutely unloaded yesterday on Burma (Myanmar) the same nation that was ravaged by Cyclone Nargis back in 2008.  Giri is a bit of a scary situation as well, as it exploded right before landfall, which caught a lot of forecasters offguard, and it may have led to considerably less warning time for residents of that region. We’ll have to wait and see how bad the impacts of wind and rain are on that region.

Super Typhoon Megi, downgraded to a category one Typhoon Megi, hit China opposite of Taiwan today. So far it looks like its impacts on China will be minimal, but mudslides and the damage in the Philippines has taken close to 50 lives and caused substantial damage to parts of those countries.

NOAA satellite image of Tropical Storm Richard near the Honduras coast this afternoon

Lastly, and of more direct interest to people here, Tropical Storm Richard continues to churn in the Caribbean. Maximum sustained winds are at 65 mph now, and it’s likely, as Richard gradually eases away from the close pass to the coast, that it will become Hurricane Richard tonight or tomorrow. A tricky forecast, as the current movement (just north of west) and the proximity to the Central American coast means any little wobble or shift in direction will have a major impact on how strong Richard becomes and exactly where it will strike. The guarantee is that a lot of rain and strong winds will be impacting Honduras, Belize and the southern Yucatan over the next few days. Beyond that, it’s likely what is left of Richard will make it into the Gulf, but truthfully, the pattern when it gets there appears awfully hostile for any sort of development. So at this point, this is not a major concern to the US, but we’ll keep an eye on it in Mexico and Central America.

Stormy US

The pattern across the US is turning decidedly stormy, thanks in part to a raging jet stream crashing into the West Coast. Those are 150-175 kt winds slamming into Oregon. We’re seeing additional storminess in the Plains and the potential for some pretty decent severe weather provided by the departing system from earlier this week that hit California. This morning it’s the Dallas/Fort Worth area getting it worst (probably a good thing the Rangers/Yankees series didn’t go to game seven). Later today, areas further north should get it.

The storms in the Northwest and Northern California look extremely powerful, enhanced by tropical moisture that can be traced across the globe to where Typhoon Megi was! Here are some links to follow the powerful snow, wind, and rain that will impact some parts of the Northwest:

NWS Portland’s weather story

NWS Seattle with information on Winter Storm Watches in the Cascades

NWS Medford, OR’s weather story for today.

NWS Sacramento video briefing on the storm

Some other interesting links today

Texas universities will begin studying what exactly is blowing apart the universe.

Discovery Online discusses whether or not tornadoes are increasing in the US. I did a similar analysis of hail reports in the Northeast US when I worked there, and I found that in the last 10-15 years there had been an explosion of hail being reported, whereas some of the reports from the Plains had actually begun to diminish or hold steady. But I really think this primarily has to do with the increasing connectivity of the world and the National Weather Service presence online that makes storm reporting easy for almost anyone. The NWS to their credit has also done a good job in fostering and improving their relationships in the communities they serve, which allows them to get reports a lot more easily. I imagine the tornado report increase is likely due to the fact that storm chasing has exploded in the last 10-15 years, and it’s now rare for any storm that produces a tornado in that part of the country to go unnoticed. I can’t really see much else being at work with this. Reports are easier to make and the NWS has become more proactive, and the combination has led to a much better net to capture reports.