The Southwest United States experienced an extreme heat wave this week. Records have either been smashed or tied. In Needles, California, 124ºF tied the record on June 20, 2017. The hottest temperature recorded for this event was Death Valley, California at 127ºF, which is the hottest temperature ever recorded in the Western Hemisphere so early in the year. A high pressure created a dome of sinking air causing temperatures to rise. Weather Underground stated that this is expected as a “pre-monsoon” event. Airports in the region have had to cancel flights due to hotter air being thinner; which means planes need more runway to accommodate for more speed needed to take off. There have been reports of roads buckling in California, wildfires continue to burn, and power grids are being strained from the overuse. The heat is forecasted to lower by Sunday and stay through the week. High Levels of ground-level ozone pollution affected the region through the event. Ground-level ozone pollution is created when volatile organic carbon (VOC) compounds and nitrogen oxides form a chemical reaction is the presence of sunlight. The heat triggered an “unhealthy” range of pollution which increased the risk of stroke, heart attack and breathing problems.
Be sure to check in on loved ones during this event. Please, do not leave pets or children in a hot car. Stay hydrated and wear plenty of sunscreen.
Stay up-to-date on today’s weather headlines here!
ⓒ 2017 Meteorologist Brandie Cantrell
DISCUSSION: Within the last couple of days, a weak area of low pressure gradually pushed portions of western-to-northwestern Europe. As this disturbance moved through these sections of Europe, there was a distinct low/mid-level wind shift from predominantly northeasterly to approximately southeasterly winds. Hence, this allowed for a much warmer and more buoyant air mass to move into the region. Thus, this facilitated a much more convectively unstable ambient environment which made it easier for the atmosphere to generate reasonably deep convection. As storms did fire during the earlier part of this past week, the convection which did fire up became sufficiently deep to become a concern for frequent lightning generation.
As captured in the footage above, there were many cases in which there was fairly close calls with regard to lightning strikes in close proximity to more populated areas. As is always the case with severe storms, this makes it particularly hazardous for people which are going about their day-to-day business/activities. The most important factor to consider when you are in the vicinity of strong-to-severe thunderstorms is that lightning is one of the most dangerous storm-related threats to people and property in general. Therefore, it is always important to highly respect the natural power of the atmosphere in all convective situations. Moreover, as the National Weather Service network always urges to the public in such situations, "When thunder roars, be sure to go indoors."
To learn more about other stories related to weather safety and preparedness issues, be sure to click here!
©2017 Meteorologist Jordan Rabinowitz
Excessive Heat Watches in Place for Triple Digit Heat in Western U.S. (Credit: Meteorologist Jessica Olsen)
DISCUSSION: The first shot of major warmth is set to hit the area and residents may be taken by surprise. Until now temperatures have been mild in most coastal cities with moderation in inland areas which is typical for the late spring/early summer season.
Several National Weather Service offices have issued excessive heat watches; as a period of warmer than average temperatures are expected throughout the interior portions of California this Father’s Day weekend. In addition to the excessive heat watches in California, a number of excessive heat warnings and heat advisories are in place for southern California, southern Nevada, and nearly half of Arizona
The excessive heat watch is in place as a deep high pressure system builds in the western US and advects warm air into the area, the temperatures are expected between 10-20 degrees above normal which, could pose a threat to residents as heat related illnesses may be on the rise this weekend. Some interior locations can expect to see triple digit temperature readings. As the high pressure located in the southwestern US makes its way into the forecast area, temperatures will warm some today with the most drastic changes Friday and into the weekend.
Potential impacts of excessive heat include but are not limited to:
*Heat related illnesses
-wear light and loose fitting clothing
-schedule activities for early morning or evening
-drink plenty of water
-check on family/friends/pets
*Increased wildfire danger
-schedule yard activity for early morning or evening to reduce spark risk
*Extreme car temperatures
-do not leave people or pets in enclosed vehicles
For up to date watch and warning information please visit the National Weather Service.
Stay tuned for additional details on excessive heat events in your area at the Global Weather and Climate Center!
© Meteorologist Jessica Olsen
An early season heat wave is expected to overcome much of the East Coast starting on Wednesday and lasting through Thursday. The Mid-Atlantic and New England states had just ended a cool and wet start to May when a Nor’easter swept through the region this past weekend. Some of the higher terrain in the New England states even saw some snow showers resulting from the Spring Nor’easter. The jet stream has other plans, however, as it begins to set up a ridge (as seen in the photo above). The jet stream drives our weather, so when there is a trough over the region, cooler temperatures are cycled down into the region. However, when there is a ridge, the warm and moist air from the Gulf of Mexico is allowed to filter into the region resulting in warmer temperatures. To add to the heat, the dew points will be in the 60’s making for a very sticky few days. While Tuesday (today) is expected to be in the 80’s, Wednesday will start the heat wave in the mid-90’s along with Thursday. On Friday, a cold front will move through the region cooling temperatures back down to near normal. Many major cities could break a few records on Wednesday to include:
Record: 95° in 2002
Record: 94° in 1974
Record: 92° in 1974
Record: 93° in 1896
Record: 90° in 1996
During this early season heat wave, be sure to check in on loved ones and stay hydrated! To read the full article from Weather Underground, click here!
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ⓒ 2017 Meteorologist Brandie Cantrell
DISCUSSION: As summer slowly approaches in the United States, so does beach season, particularly with Memorial Day around the corner. As temperatures increase, people living near the coast typically cool off by going to the beach and swimming in the ocean. However, those who swim need to be wary of potential dangerous rip currents. According to the U.S. Lifesaving Association (USLA), each year rip currents are involved in over 80% of the beach rescues performed by lifeguards.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association defines a rip current as the following: “A relatively small-scale surf-zone current moving away from the beach. Rip currents form as waves disperse along the beach causing water to become trapped between the beach and a sandbar or other underwater feature. The water converges into a narrow, river-like channel moving away from the shore at high speed.”
The easiest precautions one can take before entering the ocean are simply looking at any warning signs posted on the beach as well as only swimming when lifeguards are present. The USLA states that the chances of drowning at a beach with a lifeguard are one in 18 million. In addition, great weather does not always mean it is safe to swim, as rip currents can often form on calm, sunny days.
If you find yourself caught in a rip current, do not fight the current directly. Swim parallel with the shore, and once you are clear, only then swim back to land. More information about rip currents can be found here.
To learn more about weather preparedness and safety, be sure to visit the Global Weather and Climate Center!
©2017 Meteorologist Nicholas Quaglieri
DISCUSSION: As the latest winter storm continues to rage on across many parts of the central and south-central United States, hundreds of thousands of people have already experienced the natural power and the brute force of this ongoing/long-duration ice storm. As you can clearly see for yourself in the image attached above (as shared by the National Weather Service office located in Amarillo, Texas), many trees such as this one (located just outside of the NWS Amarillo office) have been weighted down tremendously by the weight of the ice glaze which has enveloped much of the foliage across these parts of the nation. The bright light in all of this is that as the center of the associated low pressure system gradually lifts off to the north with time, warmer air which is currently situated much further south will also lift north. As this warmer air moves northward with time, the associated water vapor overhead will be released as rainfall. Therefore, this will help to substantially melt away much of the current freezing rain accumulated across many parts of the central and south-central states.
Nonetheless, travel (both by foot and/or automobile) continues to remain very hazardous across these areas and it has been strongly recommended to avoid and or all travel through or near these areas so as to avoid putting yourself in harms way. Remember, as with many ice storm events, venturing out just steps away from home can potentially become life-threatening due to falling and/or downed power lines. In addition, you also can run the risk of encountering falling tree limbs unexpectedly due to them giving way to the natural weight and pressure imposed by the associated ice accumulation. The message behind all of this is stay home as much as possible until it is communicated to you that it is sufficiently safe to go out and about.
To learn more about other high-impact weather events occurring across North America, be sure to click here!
©2017 Meteorologist Jordan Rabinowitz
DISCUSSION: In the wake of most recent Nor'easter which hit both coastal and interior sections of New England including (but not limited to) the state of Maine, there were impressive snowfall totals reported across an axis from north-to-south across central Maine. Having said that, the main story associated with this latest winter blast was the unprecedented number of winter storm reports which were submitted throughout the course of this winter storm across a large majority of interior New England. There were well over 500 local storm reports submitted to the National Weather Service office in Gray, Maine during the course of this most recent winter storm. This is impressive based on the fact even in some of the more historic snowstorms (or even blizzards) which have occurred during the course of the last few decades, there are often never more than 100-200 total local storm reports during the course of any given winter storm. This is important since a larger number of submitted local storm reports help forecasters build a more comprehensive geographical understanding of the associated regional snowfall total map (e..g, by city, county, state, and even region). This is noteworthy since this greatly helps for atmospheric scientists to more accurately research and study past, current, and future winter storms in order to improve major forecasts both in the short-term and the long-term future.
Here is a brief blurb from forecasters at the National Weather Service office in Gray, Maine describing their tremendous appreciation of the local and larger-scale public efforts during this particular winter storm!
"From Thursday afternoon through this morning our office issued more than 500 local storm reports. A big THANK YOU to all of you who contributed by providing valuable snow accumulation information. This was a difficult storm to forecast for, but you kept us busy with reports coming in nonstop, allowing us to stay informed enough to provide forecast updates. We really do appreciate all the reports during and after the storm. This is the final map based on the preliminary numbers we have received. Most of this snow fell in just a few hours Thursday evening into the early morning hours Friday morning with rates of 6 inches per hour reported."
To learn more about other high-impact weather events from across North America, be sure to click here!
©2016 Meteorologist Jordan Rabinowitz
DISCUSSION: The Holidays often tend to be the most trying time for many of us whether celebrating or not. Many of these issues stem from the typical increase and/or change in nearly every aspect of our daily routine. Often we can forget that weather is ever changing, which can pose many risks and headaches as we experience increase travel on the roads and air traffic.
Before you commence your holiday travel we recommend taking steps to ensure you are prepared for what may come with winter weather. These great tips compiled by Wunderground help to outline a home preparedness checklist. It’s important to note that most long-distance travel during the holidays, 91% is done by personal vehicle, while 5-6% is done by air and 2-3% are done by bus train, ships or other according to the United Stated Department of Transportation Bureau of Transportation Statistics.
Winter Weather Driving
If you must travel this holiday season this checklist will ensure your vehicle is prepared for the harsh conditions ahead:
~Meteorologist Jessica Olsen
"Winter Weather Preparedness." Weather Underground. N.p., n.d. Web. 23 Dec. 2016.
"U.S. Holiday Travel | Bureau of Transportation Statistics." U.S. Holiday Travel | Bureau of Transportation Statistics. N.p., n.d. Web. 23 Dec. 2016. ...
Permeable Pavement a Breakthrough in Climate/Weather Adaptation Efforts (Credit: Meteorologist Jessica Olsen)
DISCUSSION: With changes in climate and weather patterns in recent years, local municipalities have taken the time to discuss issues plaguing their towns as a result of these ever changing conditions. Of new interest for adaptation efforts is the creation of permeable pavement.
Permeable paving allows for an effective movement of stormwater through the use of sustainable materials. Locations most prevalent for use include: driveways, parking lots, light roadways, sidewalks and other paths needing a reduction in stormwater runoff. There are a variety of materials associated with permeable paving: porous asphalt, paving stones, pervious concrete which allow for stormwater to be filtered through surfaces which in the past may have created localized ponding/flooding and increases in poor water quality.
The largest permeable pavement project in North America is now located here in the United States, in the ever growing city of Atlanta, Georgia. Atlanta unveiled a nearly $16 million project in replacing current asphalt streets having recently concluded in June 2016. The creation and completion of this project was all attributed to the rainfall events in July 2012, having dropped unseen amounts of precipitation into roadways and polluted runoff into sewage. The first largest test of this project had been Hurricane Matthew, affecting Georgia with nearly 8"+ dumped along the coast and interior portions of the state. Storm surge however proved to be the biggest challenge set for Georgia, recovering from what was expected to be 9 foot storm surge closing its barrier islands to residents.
Other projects are currently in the works, such as a $380,000 project set for construction in Oklahoma. Previous notable projects include a $400,000 pavement in Portland, Oregon which helped relieve higher traffic streets and add to the increase in environmentally conscious construction. Since Oregon's 1000 foot pavement project there have been benefits seen in stormwater runoff, decreases in localized sewer system disturbances, and this project is now serving as a widely researched site to study uses of permeable pavement throughout the city and state.
~ Meteorologist Jessica Olsen
Permeable paving - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. (n.d.). Retrieved October 22, 2016, from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Permeable_paving
Pervious Pavement Projects - The City of Portland, Oregon. (n.d.). Retrieved October 22, 2016, from https://www.portlandoregon.gov/bes/article/77074
Walker, J. (n.d.). SPECIAL SECTION: SEWERS & DRAINAGE GREENING ATLANTA. Retrieved October 22, 2016, from
Post-Tropical Storm Hermine Remains A Threat For the Coastal Northeast! (credit: NWS Upton, New York)
DISCUSSION: As of late this evening, the forecast (i.e., the projected track for what still remains to be Post-Tropical Storm Hermine) has changed somewhat from earlier forecast thinking for Hermine. The main difference is characterized by the most likely future track of this system to take more of a westerly track than previously expected over the past 24 to 36 hours. The main result of this newer thinking in the future trajectory of this re-strengthening sub-tropical (but what soon re-gain status as a tropical) system will be the proximity of the worst impacts from Hermine to the greater tri-state area over the next 48 to 72 hours.
As discussed in the graphic above (courtesy of the National Weather Service off in Upton, New York), the official status of the storm being defined as either tropical as opposed to sub-tropical will not make a tremendous difference overall with respect to the coastal and semi-inland impacts from this low pressure system. More specifically, aside from breezy to gusty winds episodically moving through the tri-state area, there will be a substantially increased threat for coastal flooding when the larger wave action (and potentially lower-end storm surge influence) becomes synchronized with the high tide cycles that come about between later in the day on Sunday and likely through earlier in the day on Tuesday. To learn more about other high-impact weather events from across North America, be sure to click here!