'Unusual weather we're having, aint it?'

Oz_lion_weatherThe title of this post is a famous quote from the cowardly lion in the 1939 movie the Wizard of Oz. Readers may remember this film was one of the very first to show “climate disruption” manifesting itself as extreme weather, as regular garden-variety tornadoes in Kansas turned ugly and started transporting people into alternate universes.

I thought that quote was rather appropriate for the kind of weather I’m experiencing in Las Vegas today, on the morning after the ICCC9 conference. This is the view from my hotel room window:


This view is looking southeast at the West end of the McCarran International Airport (KLAS). You can see puddles on the runway and on some of the surrounding land plus the rain shafts coming from the clouds. For those of you that prefer data over pictures, here’s some:


source: http://www.wrh.noaa.gov/mesowest/getobext.php?wfo=vef&sid=LAS&num=48

Of particular interest is the graph in the upper right. Note that it registers .08 inches of precipitation this morning but also smaller amounts of precipitation going all the way back to Tuesday.We’ve had sort of a monsoon season this week.

Before I went to the ICCC9 conference, a number of people wrote to me expressing concern that climate skeptics headed to Las Vegas in the middle of July were risking being embarrassed by a heat wave and potentially new high temperature records being set.

That’s why I wrote this post about records and possibilities that might occur during the conference.

But instead, rather than heat waves we got cooler weather as a result of rain and clouds.

In case you’re wondering whether or not the rainfall today set a new record I’ve done that work for you and look it up at the local National Weather Service office. The table below shows that for July 10 we fall significantly short so far. Of course the day is not over.Vegas_rain_record_KLAS

source: http://www.wrh.noaa.gov/vef/climate/LasVegasClimateBook/July%20Normal%20and%20Record%20Precipitation.pdf

While not unprecedented, it is a rather unusual weather event to have rain in July in Las Vegas. It’s almost as if all those climate skeptics coming to Las Vegas had some sort of a symbiotic Gore effect.

I have some other observations to depose later but for now I really need some coffee.



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July 10, 2014 10:37 am

Watts effect?

Richard Mallett
July 10, 2014 10:58 am

And the cyclists in the Tour de France are slipping and sliding all over the place because of the wet roads.

Greg Goodknight
July 10, 2014 10:58 am

No, it’s common for Lost Wages to get some rain in July and August, and sometimes a lot; search ‘Las Vegas monsoon season’.

July 10, 2014 10:59 am

Wait for the Polar Vortex next week for more unusual weather.

July 10, 2014 11:00 am

A little rain in the desert is a lot. The ground does not usually allow it to soak in, so it sits. And makes mud!
Did Algore show up? 😉

John F. Hultquist
July 10, 2014 11:00 am

Nice. Cleans the air. Keeps the dust down. We could use some of that.
Seems like the ICCC9 went well.

more soylent green!
July 10, 2014 11:02 am

Actually, this is the monsoon season in Las Vegas. July and August are the prime months for the southwest monsoon season (google it) and we see a shift in wind and weather patterns. Most of the year in Las Vegas, the winds and the weather come from the west, but in the summer monsoon season, the wind and weather predominantly come from the southeast, bringing moist(er) air from the gulf.
Thunderstorms this time of year are not unusual. We also get a lot of virga in the summer, too.

July 10, 2014 11:08 am

Watts….Your not in Kansas anymore!

more soylent green!
July 10, 2014 11:08 am

Ken says:
July 10, 2014 at 10:37 am
Watts effect?

Watts on second?

July 10, 2014 11:11 am

July is usually our hottest month in Toronto. It has been rather cool so far. No extreme heat alert days called yet.

James at 48
July 10, 2014 11:18 am

The Monsoon actually made it to the Bay Area over the weekend. Got enough sprinkles to turn the dust on the windshield into mud. Although ENSO appears to be flailing a bit (which stinks given the CA drought) I suspect that it may have spiked the Monsoon this season.

G. Karst
July 10, 2014 11:24 am

Well, a warmer world does bring more needed precipitation to arid and parched lands. How much longer can we hold on to the benefits of our slight warming, before cooling takes them all away. Again! Be happy! GK

Adam from Kansas
July 10, 2014 11:28 am

The forecasting websites are predicting days in the 70’s and lows in the 50’s for Wichita for up to 3 or 4 consecutive days next week, which is quite unusual, but not completely unheard of for mid July (enough to slow down the production in our vegetable garden for sure, which is the opposite of past years when it was just too hot).
In fact, the wave of cool air coming next week is supposed to cover most of the country east of the Rockies. Forecasters think it’s once again due to the so-called Polar Vortex (who says it takes a vacation during the Summer apparently?), though I’ve heard of Piers Corbyn saying we’re right now in the transition to the meridional jet stream based Little Ice Age pattern that we may be stuck with for the foreseeable future.

July 10, 2014 11:36 am

This is the Gaia principle in action.
Gaia H/T to the skeptics!

July 10, 2014 11:59 am

I once had a client in Las Vegas. One day I called their office and the phone went unanswered. A little later I called back, it rang repeatedly and I was just about to hang up when someone answered. I asked where everybody was. She said “It’s raining, we’re all outside watching!” She went on to explain that they get so little rain that, when they do, the roads turn into ice rinks – and the real fun begins.

July 10, 2014 12:01 pm

I love flying into places like Vegas and Phoenix. When you look down on the desert landscape, all you can think is “It’s all shaped by water!”

July 10, 2014 12:05 pm

At one time in the past there were no speed limits on rural open paved highways in Nevada. Drove NW of Vegas once between 90 & 100 mph and could see why, as the road was wide and finished flush with the desert and even if I had left the highway would probably only have known it from the giant trail of dust (provided I avoided the occasional Cactus). This unlike Montana which on many open speed rural paved highways were in bad shape and I was uncomfortable at the time driving 60mph.

July 10, 2014 12:12 pm

Vegas is in a bowl with mountains on all sides. When you get even a little bit of rain the streets can flood pretty quickly.

July 10, 2014 12:18 pm

JimS says:
July 10, 2014 at 11:11 am
July is usually our hottest month in Toronto. It has been rather cool so far. No extreme heat alert days called yet.
Have your jackets and sweaters handy it’s going to get cooler still next week according to the forecast. In fact the unseasonably cool weather is supposed to last through the end of the month for you up there in Toronto and everyone here in the US in the great lakes and midwest. Supposed to extend down to Texas even. Doesn’t bother this Hoosier a bit. I like highs in the 70’s (F.) and lows in the low 50’s or even high 40’s.

July 10, 2014 12:24 pm

I once examined the null hypothesis that the probability of setting a single specific type of weather record (high temperature, low temperature, precipitation, etc.) on a specific date was inversely proportional to the number of years for which the weather records for that date were recorded.
For example, if 110 years of daily rainfall data is available for July 4th at a particular location, the probability of setting a rainfall record *this* July 4th at that location is 1 in 110. (At the end of the day there will be exactly 1 record rainfall datum in the 111 years, and 110 non-record rainfall datums.)
Framed this way, the hypothesis is amenable to statistical analysis.
Similarly there will be a 110 in 111 chance there will not be a record for that date, and a (110/111)^365 ~= 0.0368 chance (3.68%) of no one-day record rainfall event *all year*. Corollary: with a 110 year weather record, the chance that a one-day rainfall record will be set at least once in the year is 96.32%. [Psychological corollary: THAT will be the day everyone remembers.]
Every time I’ve tested this with actual weather data (which I have done with temperature and precipitation data for my home towns of Richmond, VA and Amarillo, TX) I have been unable to disprove the null hypothesis.
In other words, the null hypothesis, which implies that the chances of a record weather event have nothing to do with the climate, and a LOT to do with how long the weather record is, has not yet been invalidated by long-term changes in the climate, which would shift the frequency of one-day record weather events.
Unusual weather is not unusual. What is unusual is to understand how usual it is.

July 10, 2014 12:26 pm

Corrigendum: ” the probability of setting a rainfall record *this* July 4th at that location is 1 in 111.”

Reply to  tadchem
July 11, 2014 5:37 am

@Tadchem – Richmond and Amarillo? Your living locales are eclectic! 😉
Still got that 72oz steak challenge in Amarillo?

July 10, 2014 12:26 pm

usually the weather is different,
even when it is the same which is unusual.

John Silver
July 10, 2014 12:37 pm

TomB says:
July 10, 2014 at 12:01 pm
I love to fly over the desert with Google Earth (anyone can do it anytime) and it is very clear that water have formed the desert floor. There are water runs everywhere.

Doug Proctor
July 10, 2014 12:40 pm

Here’s a stat you might find useful: what percentage of the year do we experience “normal” weather , I.e. rhe average +/- 20%? (More than 20% we might consider not “normal”.)
There should be some stat that reflects normal local climate variability to counter the ridiculous claim that every big event is a sign of global climate change. A bar graph of (for example) max temps per day during the pre CAGW years of 1945 to 1975 would define what normal is/was. Then you could see where today fits, maybe as a percentile of a “normal” variation.

July 10, 2014 12:41 pm

I’d be more concerned about that really weird green colored sky.

July 10, 2014 12:50 pm

What about this impending polar vortex. Any truth in the matter.

July 10, 2014 12:54 pm

I’ll be in Vegas this month.
Average July high T is 106° F (41° C). Record high used to be listed as 118° F, set on July 24, 1942, but that has been adjusted down to 117° F (47° C), so that that date is now tied with July 19, 2005.
Monsoon is right. Rainfall spikes up in July from June low:
Three hours ago, the NWS put out a flash flood warning for Vegas area.

July 10, 2014 1:07 pm

Meanwhile in New York…
….”Gov. Andrew Cuomo today surveyed the damage from a tornado in Madison County outside Syracuse that led to four deaths, including a four-month-old baby, and said it’s another example of “a pattern of extreme weather that is different.”…
..”Tornados in upstate New York, are comparatively rare events, but are by no means anything new.
Similar storms in the past have wreaked devastation in New York and New England, but few have had the incredible impact of the twister that struck northern Franklin County on June 30, 1856.
The extent of destruction along the eight-mile path through the towns of Burke and Chateaugay was of near-Biblical proportions. In the final tally, 364 buildings were damaged or destroyed. Few North Country disasters can compare in scope and intensity with the tornado of 1856. For decades into the future, it was used as a reference point for comparing other tragic events.”…
See more at: http://newyorkhistoryblog.org/2013/06/03/ny-weather-history-the-1856-chateauguay-tornado/#sthash.FVkxzgt7.dpu

Jeff L
July 10, 2014 1:15 pm

TomB says:
July 10, 2014 at 12:01 pm
I love flying into places like Vegas and Phoenix. When you look down on the desert landscape, all you can think is “It’s all shaped by water!”
The features you see were predominantly formed during Pleistocene glacial times. see link (bottom of discussion):
Conclusion : colder periods (Pleistocene glacial) = wetter weather in Mojave desert.
Today’ Vegas weather …. wetter :))) …..conclusion ???? :)) …

July 10, 2014 1:19 pm

Note that all of the largest rain events on the list, with the exception of 1980, occur during a La Nina event.

July 10, 2014 1:20 pm

Poppies make you sleepy. “Snow” wakes you up.

July 10, 2014 1:27 pm

Chicago Weather: Polar Vortex returns? 2 days of ‘unseasonable cold’ possible
With maps.

July 10, 2014 1:28 pm

The Las Vegas monsoon water vapor trail started in the Pacific and Gulf of Mexico, where higher-than-anticipated solar energy has warmed the surface waters so much it easily evaporated.
The USAF solar flux forecast was for an F10.7cm flux to be 140 a few days – but it was over 200 for most of the week after climbing up from 94 on July 25, as a result of the SSN being over 250 (now lower). – http://services.swpc.noaa.gov/text/45-day-ap-forecast.txt – The sun has an active face to us now until those sunspots roll around to the “farside”. The farside right now is sparsely active – the SSN was 37 on June 25 during the last excursion a few weeks ago, and it’ll get close to that again. The USAF forecast is for F10.7 to be back down to 95 on Aug 18-19, after peaking Aug 3-5 at 205. Are they right this time?
Presently, the lunar-driven atmospheric “tide” is drawing cooler Canadian air southward, deep into the US, and temps have cooled in most places for days in spite of the recent solar uptick (outside of the coastal areas). We burned wood twice in July for the first time in memory. Later today, the moon cycle will reach the southern declination maximum of nearly 19 degrees south of the equator. Then it goes the other way, northward for two weeks, drawing warmer tropical moisture and heat further north, and then the cycle repeats with slight differences in max declination angles.
The USAF’s next low in F10.7cm flux is set for July 23, which happens to be same day the moon will be at it maximum declination angle of nearly 19 degrees north of the equator – a good day to evaluate the relative extremes and effects of the solunar cycles.
Who wants to learn from reality?

July 10, 2014 1:34 pm

usually I check DUTCHSINSE BLOG OR YOUTUBE account for details on weather modification. What the devils are doing with the controls, he shows many radar images and for years now can warn people about Joplin inland hurricane type weather. He shows scalar weapons and HAARP return images on radar etc. Geoengineering trails and now dumps as in SAndy. As Scott Stevenston (sp?) states, there is no natural weather anymore. Dana Wigington says the planet is headed for a Venus Syndrome caused by methane release if the lunatics are not stopped.

July 10, 2014 1:40 pm

Well this Hoosier living in central Indiana likes this “different” weather we’re having. The field corn was up to my shoulder on the 4th and now some of it is already beginning to tassel. We’re running almost two weeks ahead of a “normal” year for growth it seems. Some farmers will complain about the weather no matter how good it gets but the only real complaint by those types these days is that they had to replant portions of some fields because of heavy rains early on. The grass is green and growing like it’s spring time when and I’m still cutting it low. Usually it’s getting brown by now.
The only downside is that I will have to bring a jacket for warmth when I go watch the sprint cars run under the lights during the up coming Indiana Sprint Week on the nights the races don’t get rained out.
Despite the wetter than normal weather for this time of year the mosquitoes seem to be considerably fewer than we see during a “normal” year at this time.

July 10, 2014 1:41 pm

TomB says at 11:59 am
I once had a client in Las Vegas. One day I called their office and the phone went unanswered. A little later I called back, it rang repeatedly and I was just about to hang up when someone answered. I asked where everybody was. She said “It’s raining, we’re all outside watching!”
—————– —————- ————————- ————————- —————
Lol. On the other hand, I just got back from Hawaii where I stayed at my uncle’s place in the rain forest above Honolulu, and it just kept on raining, every day for a week, off and on. I kept on noting and making a big deal about the rain, and my uncle would look at me kind of quizzically, saying “yeah?” So I stopped saying “it’s raining again.” And I would just walk outside in the rain as if it wasn’t there. Sometimes I’d have an umbrella, sometimes not (it cooled you down).
On another note, check out the funny 1 minute trailer for the new skeptic film. As I noted at the Real Science link: my only, yet quite serious, reservation about the trailer is that though it is made clear via the Statue of Liberty scene that sea level has not risen any appreciable amount, it is implied that there has been a significant amount of warming. Not true. And I don’t know if that implication is needed.

July 10, 2014 2:01 pm

Third hardest rainstorm I have ever been in was near Beatty, NV in September. Second hardest was in August in Phoenix, AZ.
Hardest was on the edge of the Sahara, but that’s another story.

more soylent green!
July 10, 2014 2:05 pm

A July polar vortex? http://www.local2.ca/ssm/viewarticle.php?id=15416
No word yet on if this will be the long-feared AGW induced sharkolar vortex.

July 10, 2014 2:06 pm

Jeff L says:
July 10, 2014 at 1:15 pm
Hence the name Pluvial for the time in which the western US enjoyed lakes much bigger than now, such as Lake Bonneville of which the Great Salt is a remnant. Ditto Lake Lahontan & present much reduced Pyramid Lake. SE Oregon lakes & dry lakebeds were much bigger, too.
The “world’s oldest shoes” were found in a cave overlooking one such ancient lake:

more soylent green!
July 10, 2014 2:27 pm

It should come as no surprise that the drought in the southwest is affecting Lake Mead.

LAS VEGAS – Drought in the southwestern U.S is depleting the vast Lake Mead on the Colorado River to levels not seen since Hoover Dam was completed and the reservoir was filled in the 1930s.
U.S. Bureau of Reclamation officials in Nevada said Tuesday the water level at the reservoir serving Las Vegas, Phoenix and Los Angeles will drop this week and should be about 1,080 feet above sea level by November.
That’ll be below the nearly 1,082 feet recorded in November 2010, and below the 1,083 feet in April 1956 during another sustained drought.
The lake level is currently a little under 1,082 feet, and it’s about 39 percent full.
Bureau regional chief Terry Fulp says water deliveries will be met this year and next year to cities, states, farms and Indian tribes.

So what human activities caused the drought in the 1950’s?

July 10, 2014 2:46 pm

Kenny says:
July 10, 2014 at 11:08 am
Watts….Your not in Kansas anymore!

Not in California actually. 🙂

July 10, 2014 3:17 pm

It’s probably related to some Gore special ops forces in the area trying to look for hot pavement to report on during the conference.

July 10, 2014 3:26 pm

And up next will be an interesting AMO number (down again).

July 10, 2014 3:32 pm

I was really more concerned about the green glow in the photo. If I looked out and everything was green, the dosimeter would probably be black.

July 10, 2014 3:49 pm

For crying out loud! Next Friday’s low is into windchill measuring territory.

July 10, 2014 3:51 pm

Next Friday = the one after tomorrow.

July 10, 2014 3:53 pm

Al Gore went to Australia last week, causing a massive plunge in temperatures and bursts of snowfalls in our southern mountains not seen for over a decade. Now, he returns to the US and causes a polar vortex to descend in July. He really is a champion!

July 10, 2014 4:05 pm

I have a theory for what causes the Gore effect – when he speaks, he puts the greenhouse effect to sleep.

July 10, 2014 4:32 pm

I live in north Arkansas and we’ve yet to have a 90 degree day. I believe the high so far for July is 86 (NOAA). It might have gotten up to 88 for an hour last week. It was 64 when I woke up this morning. And we’ve getting a lot of clouds and rain all through June/July. The high today was 82. A few more hours and I’m opening the windows and doors and turning the attic fan on. Been doing it every night this week. Why use the AC when the temp outside is lower than the thermostat setting?

July 10, 2014 4:41 pm

I grew up out there 60 years ago.
This is common monsoon season. This year is proving to be a wet monsoon, wetter than normal and yes, it is cooler than normal but not as cool and wet as 1964.

July 10, 2014 4:58 pm

Its only 50F here in Hervey Bay, Australia, on the southern edge of the tropics. Thanks a bunch Al.

July 10, 2014 5:05 pm

After the dinner and talks at the ICCC on Tuesday I made the 10 minute hike back to my room and turned on the local news and weather. I had no idea that there were flood warnings around town or that we had all missed a spectacular thunderstorm (at the very least, viewers had sent in spectacular photographs). I had figured that if I had to trade off the very dry pre-monsoon weather for the more humid (and just as hot during the day), then perhaps I’d see a good thunderstorm.

Ulric Lyons
July 10, 2014 5:47 pm

I had forecast the solar signal weakening early July with wetter cooler conditions from around July 5th for around 10 days. The solar wind speed has certainly been very slow, and the AO has dropped negative.

July 10, 2014 5:54 pm

Driving back to Phoenix on Wednesday, I got this pic about 40 miles before Wickenberg:
We hit it about 10 minutes later and the rain was quite intense. Life in the desert. I love it here.

July 10, 2014 6:02 pm

The weather always feels unique. That’s why Joe Bastardi is someone who I always listen to. He will tell you exactly when the weather was just like it is now. Then he’ll tell you why.

george e. conant
July 10, 2014 6:06 pm

We had a low of 50F last night here in the Catskills / Woodstock area. I have had three summer fires at night to keep warm so far this year.

July 10, 2014 6:57 pm

NWS Climate Prediction Center July 18 2014 to July 24 2014
Whoa – 50% probability of below normal temps for the Midwest.

July 10, 2014 7:13 pm

Good post!

July 10, 2014 7:15 pm

Back in 1964 I got a job as a Ranger at the BSA (Boy Scouts of America) Ranch in Cimarron, NM.
The year before they had devastating floods, which wiped out most of the transportation infrastructure.
They were still rebuilding when I was there. This place was 147,000 acres large and located in the
Sangre De Cristo Mountains. The 12K+ peaks had snow in July. Used to drive over the Raton Pass to Trinidad, CO with 2 people on a Honda 50 scooter. Walked it up, rode it down at 65 mph.
Every day, there was a 10 AM and 3 PM thunderstorm. You could set clocks by the weather.
Wondering if it’s still like that…

July 10, 2014 9:30 pm

[snip -derogatory, unnecessary -mod]

July 10, 2014 11:57 pm

Here in south of France, it’s been the wettest beginning to July I can remember. Meanwhile the local authorities are in full climate denial and what appears to be centrally orchestrated warnings and restrictions are being put out.
Normally ( last 20 years personal recall ) May is blazing hot, this year it was grey. There is one good summer storm each in July and August. ( Local folklore has it that it always happens on the 15th ).
This year every second of this day is cloudy and we’ve had a few good down pours. My water reserve is full.
This makes it lot more agreeable than the heatwaves we were having ten years ago. Looks like quite a nice ( cool ) summer.

July 10, 2014 11:59 pm

This year every second of this day is cloudy

July 11, 2014 1:17 am

Interesting article with some interesting facts about records.

July 11, 2014 1:33 am
July 11, 2014 4:36 am

Very wet here in North Alabama this year so far. We average around 4″ of rain in the month of June…This year we had over 7″. July has started out wet as well. And one thing I have noticed…..the rain seems to come down in buckets. Heavy, heavy downpours….like tropical rain. Y’all know what I mean…..It’s like a cow pissin on a flat rock.

July 11, 2014 6:01 am

I am sure Gore must be in Australia still.. We’re on track for our best ski season since 1981.

July 11, 2014 6:22 am

Still not a 90F day here in mid-Appalachians (other than city/town cores). 89F a couple days ago & also once in late May. Tallest corn is near 6′ already.

July 11, 2014 9:19 am

Jeff L says:
July 10, 2014 at 1:15 pm

Thanks for those links. Interesting reading. Getting information like this one of the reasons I love this blog.

July 11, 2014 9:44 am

Weather men ought not to make predictions. Murphy can hear you.
Hey Anthony do us a favour. I’m in the North West UK, can you predict low seasonal weather for us to continue?
Thank you 🙂

July 11, 2014 10:33 am

“Unusual weather we’re having, ain’t it?” Considering that the movie was released in August 1939, Cowardly Lion was probably not the only one making that comment. Did anyone at the time think it was permanent climate change?

James at 48
July 11, 2014 11:59 am

I think we need to look up some of Mulholland’s offspring. I see a really, really long adqueduct, from the Mid South or Ozarks to California. Mwahahahah! We are coming to take your water!

July 11, 2014 4:15 pm

If you are/were suffering from PTSD symptoms, like me, from last winter’s shock here comes a rude reminder… call it PVSD (Polar Vortex Stress Disorder) Hope and pray we get a new pattern change from something, like El Niño before winter returns? This country is not very well prepared and more people very well could lose a lot more, even their lives. It’s serious folks, this could be another really hard fight ahead.
What amazes me most about the pattern is not so much the forecast temperatures, but the uncanny similarities in the weather patterns over North America seen in both the heart of winter and heart of summer. All of the same features (refer to the map at the top of this post)  apparent in January are on the map in mid-July: low pressure over the Aleutians (blue shading), a large hot ridge (yellow and red shading) over the western U.S., the huge cold low or vortex over the Great Lakes (blue and green shading), and then the ridge over northeast Canada (yellow and red shading).

Brian H
July 11, 2014 11:59 pm

Soon, the ice sheets will begin their march …

July 12, 2014 8:02 am

You guys need to go back to Las Vegas. Lake Mead went up two tenths of an inch from the record low. The record low water level since it was filled back in the thirties.

July 12, 2014 8:23 am

I guess that’s ‘two hundredths of an inch’ instead of tenths of an inch, oops. Anyway, there is unusual weather going on, like in the thirties. Now as weather happens that Wizard of Oz quote will always run through your mind.

Ulric Lyons
July 13, 2014 7:50 am

Coronal holes have got remarkably weak in the last few months:

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