Heat index update, Mid-Atlantic states experience Middle East climate

Current United States RTMA 2.5 km Heat Index analysis (click to enlarge to 1500x1200)

Weather Post by Dr. Ryan N. Maue

As the ridge of high pressure slowly edges eastward over the eastern USA, dewpoints in the 80sF and temperatures over the century mark are creating heat index values typically seen in Iran, Yemen, or Saudi Arabia.  Along the Persian Gulf and Arabian Sea, sufficient moisture combines with the oppressive desert heat to generate heat indices in excess of 130F.  As of 1 PM Eastern on Friday, parts of the DelMarVa peninsula are feeling the effects of Northern Hemisphere summer Middle-Eastern style.

From coolwx.com/extreme “Extreme Weather Site“, which keeps track of crazy global METAR or station data, Baltimore MD has a HI of 129F.  An unofficial “records” site co-authored by myself shows current temperatures compared to daily and monthly records going back between 30-60 years.  While some stations have much longer historical records, this quick-look is indicative of record high/low temperatures, and inspires the reader to cross-check the local National Weather Service office daily climate page to verify the “all-time” high.   For instance, Newark NJ (KEWR) is going to test it’s all-time high temperature, currently sitting at 104F…

At my Florida State weather maps site, I plot up a variety of useful quantities from the brand new NAM/WRF 4-kilometer mesoscale forecast model which runs four-times daily over the Continental USA.  These include simulated radar reflectivity, 2-meter temperature, and heat-index.  It is cool to watch the near-surface temperatures wax and wane with the daytime heating or plunge as a thunderstorm cools an area with its outflow pool.

60-hour NAM/WRF 4-km 2-meter temperature forecast

 

60-hour NAM/WRF 4-km Heat Index Forecast

60-hour NAM/WRF 4-km simulated radar reflectivity

Historical Heat Index and 2-meter Temperature from the RTMA 2.5 km mesoscale analysis:   2-meter temperature (last 48-hours), heat-index (last 48-hours)

 

69 thoughts on “Heat index update, Mid-Atlantic states experience Middle East climate

  1. Are there historical maps for comparison anywhere? Given the massive amount of heat waves studies have found in the early twentieth century, one has to wonder what historical heat index maps would look like.

  2. Heat indexes are a wonderful thing I supposes, but are meaningless without actual temps and humidity that I can relate to. Without the classic data the HI is just a number without a context but a very alarming number when it isn’t understood what it represents. I feel the same way about chill factor. I didn’t grow up in a chill factor, I grew up with a thermometer, wind, and weather and understand very well how it feels.
    The popular use of the HI seems mostly useful to confuse people in to thinking we’ve had a sudden shift in the climate and that we need to spend trillions to put the climate right.
    In any event this appears to be the very same phenomenon that struck Russia last year.

  3. I lived in the Empty Quarter of Saudi Arabia for five years, so temperatures like this were commonplace on a daily basis during the summer. Plus the water table was just a few inches below the surface on the salt pans (subkhas) so at certain times you could have high temperatures and high humidity giving a horrible heat index. But then working off the rigs in the Arabian Gulf would give similar horrible effects with 100% humidity.

  4. Meanwhile it has been raining solid for ten days in Paris with temps never much above 20°c. Much the same across Europe it seems. Where are the headlines?

  5. In Newport News, day-time breezes deliver shaded-area perceptions of much lower temperatures than the HI values.
    Granted, I am an unreliable respondent to “How hot is it?” questions: several decades of employment in wastewater treatment have left me insensitive. We had work to do, when it was 110 and when it was -10 degrees. When basins were re-lined with thick plastic ‘film,’ in mid-summer, we watched teams sealing the edges of the film with propane{?} torches: awed by the fully-clothed crew walking about the floor of the basins with mid-day temp & humidity values above 90.
    I question the actual utility of HI values.

  6. I have to admit that occasionally the Pacific Northwest gloom gets to me. I went camping earlier in the week and it was a good thing I brought the flannel and jacket and raincoat- the week before the temps dipped into the 30s, and the week before that it froze (the fruit crops are three or more weeks late). The fire in the fire-place was most welcome, if unexpected for mid-July. Then I look at the national temp map, and think to myself, “self, this isn’t so bad….”

  7. Feels like………
    I’m sorry, but 98 still feels like 98…
    I have to laugh when I see this from Antarctica:
    – 104
    feels like: – 104

  8. As Steve (Paris) says above, Europe is cool. Here in the UK we still haven’t seen Summer yet – and there’s only 5 more weeks of it left! Night-time temps are ok, but day-time temps are really poor. Sunday is expected to be only 22 deg c. – and that’s the best day for over two weeks! So we are envying your heatwave.

  9. I still see a lot more blue but given that they give more weight to the red, rest assure that this will be the hottest summer ever.

  10. I had to shut off NPR’s “On Point” this morning which featured so-called climatologists linking the heat wave to global warming. You’d have thought they’d have learned their lesson when they tried the same thing with the Russian heat wave of 2010…a weather event which has now been shown to have nothing to do with AGW. But this isn’t about facts or science or even common sense. Weather isn’t climate unless it suits their agenda, and even when it doesn’t as in the recent cold and snowy winters, they find a way to twist it to their advantage.
    I’m 60 years old and thought I’d pretty much seen everything in the way of human behavior, but I was wrong. These guys are absolutely shameless.

  11. It is not here in the Mid-Atlantic. But it is not unusual, unprecedented, or even out of the ordinary. We usually get a handful of 100+ degree days each summer – and they do not dissapate the humidity when they arrive.

  12. I remember summer of 1983 working on the recreational docks down in southern Maryland renting boats and pumping gas it was 107 F on our thermometer at the pumps over the water. The humidity was about 80% as well. I really don’t see the big deal here, we get these blocking highs periodically and people deal with it. I know I worked the day with a wet towel over my head and sold out of cold drinks every day for about two weeks. It was definitely good for business as we had about a 200% markup on most of the drinks. Only problem was we needed a much bigger cooler to really rake it in.
    Sorry to hear about the European summer…I was in England for three years and we had lovely weather all three years. It only rained once or twice a week and we mostly had nice highs about 28C in the summer and only in the -5C range for lows in the winter. Of course the natives were declaring drought and complaining of the heat on the few days we got to 35C. All us yanks thought it was a hoot.

  13. Here in Buffalo we’ve had a brief time-out on the oppresive heat — now it’s just hot with a temp of 92° and a dew point of 62°. And with half my apartment below ground, who needs AC? Don’t know if those storms at the other end of Lake Erie will get here tonight or pass to the south, but it’ll probably mean a rising dew point to make tonight’s lows meeting up with a higher dew point and less comfortable than it is now.

  14. Ok so where can I find a map that show what the actual temperature were or are? Not what the heat index is and not forecasts but actual temperature. I can’t find one on accuweather or weather underground.

  15. We’re past the tipping point; before, there was Celsius and Fahrenheit; now, there is only Heat Index.

  16. Yes – the heartland of USA is finally getting some real summer heat. It is long overdue, in many areas where ‘cool and very wet’ had predominated until recently. This heat is helping the crops (corn, soybeans, etc) accelerate their cold stunted growth and begin approaching a normal state of development for this point in the summer. Normal crop yields may yet be achieved…..
    For the folks around Minot North Dakota, that had homes flooded just 3 weeks ago, this heat is a godsend. They’re working hard to get their damaged homes cleared of fouled carpets, flooring and wallbaord, pump out flooded basements as the water table drops, and get the core structure of the houses dried out before mold growths make them unrecoverable. The dry conditions and 90F temps are a great help with all of that! Arresting and preventing any further mold and mildew growths with dilute bleach solutions is much more effective if the moisture content of the wood structures is already low. The bleach solution soaks in deeply and achieves a ‘complete kill’, preventing the problem from recurring after the repairs have been completed. . It takes real warmth to make all of that happen quickly!

  17. With American temperature data only going back 120-200 years (depending on the site), out of the tens of thousands of years of climate since humans have been in NA, and with thousands of sites, it is almost inevitable that records will be broken every year, as we continue to record what the range really is.
    If the history was only ten years old, what is the likelihood that a real “record high” will have been seen? Not much. If the history was 25 years old, it still doesn’t mean much to say “a record high.” For 50 years not much, but getting slightly better – but only slightly. After 100 years, it still is a only a few drops of water in a glass.
    Yes, after 120 years or 200, we think we have seen what range climate has in store, but it is still only 1/100th of the time since man has been here. 99% of which time we didn’t have thermometers and couldn’t add the temps to the data. with 1% of the local data, our pronouncements of “all-time record” or “record for this date,” they can’t mean much.
    YES, we do want to note them. But we don’t need to get our nickers in a twist over them. SOME place in the US has records every year. The warmists know that, and jump on it, to push their agenda by spinning something that happens every years into the idea that we are on a collision course with disaster. It is intentionally mendacious of them when do so.
    And when they include the HI – what is THAT all about? If it can’t be compared to 100, 200, 1,000 years go, what is the alarm all about? IT IS JULY, PEOPLE. July gets hot. Deal with it.
    (Anecdotal: I live in Chicago, where people don’t even know what “the dog days of August” are. Everyone wants to move to a warmer climate, but when it climbs over 90F, they all start crying about it. Here, in two weeks or so the heat will break, right around the 2nd of August. And if it doesn’t come right on schedule, it is natural variability. No big deal.)

  18. I love that Chicago is off the bottom of the chart legend.
    For years I’ve been calling it “The Climate Capitol of the USA.” Everybody here thinks I am crazy to say that, but we miss hurricanes and tornadoes, and most of the summer heat, and outside some sporadic heavy snowfalls in the last 3-4 years, we’ve missed the brunt of winter. We didn’t have any of that snowfall the East had the last two years.
    Come to Chicago folks! (If you can sell your houses and move…) The place where almost all the bad weather avoids!
    It wasn’t always like this, though. The 1970s SUCKED! And into the mid-1980s, but since then, ahh, what gloriously unspectacular weather!…LOL

  19. I just checked the USA Today web page for record highs by state, and MD, PA and WV all had their all-time highs set in 1936 — the heart of the Dust Bowl. Delaware’s was set in 1930 and Virgina in 1954.
    None of those highs are going be threatened by this heat wave (109F – 111F).
    But OMG the models say things are going to be worse, so the alarmists are out in full force at the Huffington Post:
    IT’S HOTTER THAN IT USED TO BE!
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/peter-h-gleick/its-hotter-than-it-used-t_b_906242.html

  20. The center point of the heat looks to be Washington DC. Thus the heat could be anthropogenic, caused by all the politicians mouthing how they have to pay for the discretionary spending transferred to their political patrons by taking money out of Social Security. That’s some steam!

  21. July 22nd and here in Calgary, Alberta we have a high of 55 degrees F. When is global warming going to arrive here?

  22. I live in the midwest and it was quite hot at the beginning of the week. On Monday we set a record for Heat Index with a temp of 118°. It was 112° on Tuesday. In both cases the real temp was only on the lower 90s. The dew point was over 80°. On Wednesday the temperature remained about the same but the humidity dropped and the difference was noticeable.
    When someone says it’s not the heat, it’s the humidity … sometimes they are right on. I played golf all 3 days and could barely finish my round the first two days. On the 3rd day it didn’t even seem that hot.

  23. As I’ve been noting, by and large, this is contained within the Southeastern quadrant. Surprise, surprise, most of that area has a Continental Subtropical climate.
    This ongoing “drama” is not news. It is MSM hype.

  24. Let’s assume, for the sake of argument, that “consensus” AGW theory is correct and global warming is the cause of the current U.S. heat wave. By what mechanism would global warming, which amounted to about 1 degree from 1980 to 1998 and little or none since then, cause a heat wave averaging about 15 degrees above normal over a region comprising just 2.7% of Earth’s land mass (i.e, the eastern half of the continental U.S.)? Do the climate models predict this? Is Michael Mann’s “loaded dice” analogy the best explanation the Team can come up with?

  25. Steve (Paris) says:
    July 22, 2011 at 11:01 am
    Meanwhile it has been raining solid for ten days in Paris with temps never much above 20°c. Much the same across Europe it seems. Where are the headlines?
    In SW France we have had temperatures of 39°C and 17°C just in the last month. The 39°C is not unusual but the 17°C. Average for this time of year is 26°C. I have never been in jeans and pullover in July in France and I have never slept with a blanket and over cover before in july in France but I have this year !!! Nothing in the lie sheets though. It’s cold !!

  26. Fact is that It does not matter how intelligent model simulation we could construct, it won´t be able to stop the next solar minimum….

  27. feet2thefire says:
    July 22, 2011 at 12:21 pm
    “Come to Chicago folks! (If you can sell your houses and move…) The place where almost all the bad weather avoids!”
    Also the place where bad politicians never avoid. 🙂

  28. Mid-Atlantic states experience Middle East climate
    On the local weather I watch, for the benefit of those with loved ones deployed overseas on the last two *official* US war-type military operations, they sometimes show the next-day temps and weather for Iraq and Afghanistan. Right now, from here in central Pennsylvania, Afghanistan doesn’t seem that bad.
    I found some weather info for Kabul, detailed 48-hr and general 15-day forecast. For the next week, highs in the low to mid 90’s (°F), lows just above and below 70°. And if the 48-hours is any hint, low humidity! Man, it’d be great to be in Afghanistan for the next week! ☺

  29. Yes, we had the same thing here in MN a couple of days ago. New dewpoint record of 82F at MSP and new state record potentially (needs to be verified) of 88F at Moorehead. Many sites around the Twin Cities reported 84F with temps in the mid and upper 90s producing heat indicies above 120F. In fact MN had the highest dewpoints being measured on earth at that time.

  30. What are bedridden seniors supposed to do if their air conditioning breaks down? Will someone come get them? Are their any vans that will pick up people and take them to the nearest cooling center? Will there be any nurses or doctors on hand that know how to take care of the elderly in such situations?
    What if there is a power outage?
    Custering on,
    Seneca

  31. @Smokey says:
    July 22, 2011 at 10:48 am
    NOAA’s latest scare tactic: a fiery red map.
    CRS reply Smokey, last Friday would have been a perfect day for James “Venus Syndrome” to give one of his scare presentations on global warming to Congress! He could have turned off the air conditioning and everything, just like last time!
    I would love to see that considering what the mood in the capitol must be about now!!

  32. @Brian:
    More signs of Climate Change. When are you guys going to accept the signs?

    Well, maybe if the temps broke all-time highs and kept doing so. Maryland’s is 110 deg set in 1936. In fact, PA, WV and DE all set their all-time highs in 1936 — the middle of the Dust Bowl heat wave and drought.
    Maybe if you could read the signs you wouldn’t make such silly statements.

  33. This is the nth day in a row that Drudge.com has had these kinds of stories:
    BIG BROIL: ALL-TIME RECORDS IN JEOPARDY IN NYC, PHILLY…
    HORRID…
    TEMP MAP…
    HELL: NYC waters FLOODED with raw sewage…
    Chicago fire crews shut off 2,000+ open hydrants…
    Could somebody with some climate credentials email him and point out that 80% of the county has temps in the high 90s and 100s with high humidity EVERY summer?
    Out west it hasn’t been too bad – mostly mid 80’s so far. But it seems to be getting closer to the more normal 90s soon. It IS almost August.
    Thank you
    URL
    http://www.drudgereport.com/

  34. Darwin, Australia from November to March (wet season) regularly reaches 95F and 90% humidity. What does that look like on the index

  35. heat wave predictions says:
    July 22, 2011 at 4:35 pm
    What are the seniors supposed to do in this heat?
    The same thing as they are supposed to do in the cold, call 911.

  36. “temperature”->”heat index”, “carbon dioxide”->”carbon emissions”, “global warming”->”global climate disruption”
    Tower of Babel or 1984?
    Post by “Dr. Ryan N. Maue”, first comment by “Ryan Adam Maue”. Same guy? Father/son? Just curious, not suggesting it’s related… 🙂
    Best,
    Frank

  37. Sure enough – nine hours later and the dew point is up from 62 to 70. It was nice while it lasted. Actually slept rather nicely last night with the drier air. Not quite as likely to happen tonight. Oh well, when all else fails, there’s always …
    ice cream !!!

  38. Robert, this doesn’t compare yet, give it maybe 5 years though and look back. A primer maybe. We’ve entered an uptick volcanic period that’s surprised me. Will it progress on to the bad news stratosphere reaching biggest eruptions? Who knows? Those will definately cool us off.
    They seem to like it hot in the nation’s capital. Since the hotter it gets the more political incapacity comes out of Washington DC, wouldn’t it be an idea to take air conditioning away from those dunderheads? A cut to help pay debt.

  39. Last year this happened in Russia, this year the USA, could we be seeing a pattern emerging or are we still in the “it’s just weather” phase?
    When it breaks it’s going to rain like there’s no end.

  40. Mike Abbott says: Let’s assume, for the sake of argument, that “consensus” AGW theory is correct and global warming is the cause of the current U.S. heat wave. By what mechanism would global warming, which amounted to about 1 degree from 1980 to 1998 and little or none since then, cause a heat wave averaging about 15 degrees above normal over a region comprising just 2.7% of Earth’s land mass (i.e, the eastern half of the continental U.S.)? Do the climate models predict this? Is Michael Mann’s “loaded dice” analogy the best explanation the Team can come up with?
    I don’t know Mann’s “loaded dice” analogy, but it sounds like it might be similar to what I’m about to say. Do you know what a normal distribution curve (bell curve) looks like? The temperatures for a given date or a given period, same date or period in each of many years, are very likely distributed like that. If you shift the curve to the right (hotter), you get a disproportionately great increase in the number of years near the right end of the curve, because you’ve shifted a “bulkier” part of the curve to every temperature on the right side. “Disproportionately” is somewhat hand-waving unless we know how steep the curve is, and it’s not clear what a “proportional” increase would be, anyway, but it’s true that if you shift the curve to the right, you’ll get an increase in the number of cases near the right end that would surprise someone who had not studied statistics. By the same token, a small increase in average IQ would produce a surprisingly great increase in the number of geniuses.
    I don’t know what to say about the 2.7 percent.

  41. See that very blue area out west? That’s where I live. S.West BC, 60 miles east of Vancouver. It is 7 degrees on my front porch right now, where I sit shivering in front of my laptop, sipping hot coffee. Daytime temps have not exceeded 26 degrees this year, (we hit 26.7 earlier this month for one day) This cold stretches all the way down to LA and at times as far as San Diego. It is particularly cold off the west coast of Vancouver Island, where a friend is trying to earn a living catching Salmon. I am told that the temps dive down to 3-5 degrees most nights, and the days are cold and blustery. He has never seen a summer like this one, and he has been fishing for 40 years.
    What are the odds of anyone reporting the record cold we are having? Zip is my guess.
    Thanks for the article Dr Maue. And thanks very much for the weather map pages! I have been running ~80% in my forecasting this year, thanks to your hard work!

  42. As posted above – here in the UK its around 55F and with a nasty breeze and a lot of showers. But – hey – any day now our Minister for Propoganda (aka the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change) will come out with something like: ‘Exceptionally high temperatures in North America are evidence of climate change…’
    I absolutely guarantee it….

  43. Here in the middle of the mid-Atlantic, but in a rural area, the high Thursday was — wait for it — a whopping 97F (36C)! Big deal. That’s the typical high summertime temp here. Yesterday’s high was less as small local thundershowers knocked it down 10F in minutes & it never got back up to 90F. The only thing of remark were the overnight lows that were above 70F — now that is a bit unusual, but very comfortable for viewing the stars at night.

  44. Let me rephrase my comment above if it wasn’t clear — “That’s the typical annual highest summertime temp here.”
    And that has ranged from 95F – 99F here the last 7 yrs.

  45. The Netherlands today; a fiery 14 C in the middle of summer.
    I got out my sweater this afternoon before i went outside.

  46. Neil Jones said on July 23, 2011 at 1:00 am:

    Last year this happened in Russia, this year the USA, could we be seeing a pattern emerging or are we still in the “it’s just weather” phase?
    When it breaks it’s going to rain like there’s no end.

    In central and northeastern Pennsylvania, and many other places in the US, “Spring” was a long cool cloudy wet season, it delayed the normal Spring planting into the technical start of Summer. With the rain, right here in Central PA the undergrowth has exploded, the forest has nearly conquered our little property at its edge. The only “climate change” I’m wondering about is if this is becoming a temperate rainforest.
    The current “heat wave” is, as far as I’m concerned, just averaging out the temperatures for the year. It’s just weather. If it is going to “rain like there’s no end” after it ends, either it’s going to take several years to average that precipitation out or we’re in for a very dry Fall and/or Winter. Either case, it’s still weather. We’ve had hot stretches before, and precipitation running low for years. If anything, all this “freakish weather” is doing is averaging out some locally cited “demonstrated effects of global warming.”
    And to note it, after all those cool dim Spring days with some rainfall every day of a month, anyone around here with a solar photovoltaic system should really be considering doing some serious upgrading of their storage capabilities to get through those “rare” sunless periods.

  47. Smoking Frog says:
    July 23, 2011 at 1:42 am
    I don’t know Mann’s “loaded dice” analogy, but it sounds like it might be similar to what I’m about to say. Do you know what a normal distribution curve (bell curve) looks like? The temperatures for a given date or a given period, same date or period in each of many years, are very likely distributed like that.

    Yes, Mann was basically saying the same thing. (Here’s where I got it from: http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2006/08/060801-heat-waves.html) The problem is, how do they know how much of a “load” a 1 degree temperature increase puts on the dice? That’s the same thing as saying how much does 1 degree difference change the slope of the normal curve? Until you know that, it’s just a lot of hand-waving, as you noted.

  48. A new article (Goldberg et al. Environmental Research 111:853-860) looks at mortality in Montreal as a function of temperature. The study finds a strong effect of heat above 27 C, not very strong for cold. However, the authors make the very interesting observation that Montreal homes are better equipped for cold than heat:
    “A feature of the city and the province is that there is little air conditioning in homes (25.6%) in the Province of Quebec in 2008 (Statistics Canada, 2010) but that the buildings are well-heated during cold periods…”
    Persons quoting just the main finding would do well to also include the caveat.

  49. If the weather in France is so cold, why are there so many Tour de France spectators running alongside the race wearing only their budgie smugglers?

  50. Smoking Frog-“The temperatures for a given date or a given period, same date or period in each of many years, are very likely distributed like that. If you shift the curve to the right (hotter), you get a disproportionately great increase in the number of years near the right end of the curve, because you’ve shifted a “bulkier” part of the curve to every temperature on the right side.”
    Faulty assumption here! That warming constitutes merely a change in the mean of the distribution. The standard deviation could also change, because you could get disproportionate warming in, say, the coldest days. Now someone could test this…Ah, here we go!
    Knappenberger, P.C., P.J. Michaels, and R.E. Davis, 2001. Nature of Observed Temperature Changes Across the United States during the 20th Century. Climate Research, 17, 45–53.
    The warming in the most recent period in the US was concentrated on the coldest days of the year. Meaning way fewer cold extremes, not a whole lot of heat waves.

  51. Andrew says:
    Faulty assumption here! That warming constitutes merely a change in the mean of the distribution. The standard deviation could also change, because you could get disproportionate warming in, say, the coldest days. Now someone could test this…Ah, here we go!

    Yes, the assumption very likely is wrong, but I only made it for the sake of explaining a particular mathematical aspect of things to Mike Abbott. Quite possibly, I was wrong in thinking that he might not already understand it.

  52. Mike Abbott says: Yes, Mann was basically saying the same thing. (Here’s where I got it from: http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2006/08/060801-heat-waves.html) The problem is, how do they know how much of a “load” a 1 degree temperature increase puts on the dice? That’s the same thing as saying how much does 1 degree difference change the slope of the normal curve? Until you know that, it’s just a lot of hand-waving, as you noted.
    I thought you might not understand the mathematical question. If I was wrong about that, I apologize, but I’m not sure I was wrong, because in my explanation there was no change of slope at all. In reality, a change of slope may be likely, but I think this might depend on what is meant by “mean temperature” (e.g., mean of temperatures at which times of day?).

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