24 July 2016

The Heat, the Floods, and the Danger of Underestimating How to Handle it.

Posted by Dan Satterfield

Extreme heat and very high water vapor content in the atmosphere pushed the heat index to brutal levlels across much of the Eastern half of the U.S. Satuyrday afternoon.

Extreme heat, and very high water vapor content in the atmosphere, pushed the heat index to brutal levels across much of the Eastern half of the U.S. Saturday afternoon. Click image for larger size- map ctsy. WX Bell.

The NASA Terra satellite measurements of ground temps. in the early afternoon clearly show the heat, and the extra heat added by the urban concrete (and road systems) was clearly visible. On a day like today, large cities can be much hotter than the rural areas.

From NASA Terra Satellite- IR image showing ground (not air) temps.)

From NASA Terra Satellite- IR image showing ground (not air) temps.

Also, notice how the temps near the Delaware coast are hotter than inland in Delaware (and here on the Eastern Shore of Maryland). A DEOS sensor at Bethany Beach DE recorded 99.9 this afternoon. A westerly wind flow blocked the usual afternoon sea breeze, and the air heated up crossing the land. Normally the coastal areas are cooler, but today was just the opposite. A weak sea breeze will cool the Delaware coast to the low 80’s tomorrow, but it will stay hot inland.

image-download (2)

Note the higher temps. along the Delaware coast, and in DC and Baltimore.

The intense upper level high pressure system can be seen in the image below. Click the image to see an animated version.

Screen Shot 2016-07-23 at 8.29.42 PM

Here is the wind at the 250 mb level today (around 10km), and you can see how far north the jet stream has been pushed by the hot air. The jet forms on the boundary between the colder and hotter troposphere. This temp. difference actually makes the jet stream.

This heat is dangerous, and Marshall Shepherd has a MUST read article about the myth that hydration alone is the way to prevent heat stroke. This is especially important to read now that summer football practices are starting. Every year there are needless deaths, because this danger is underestimated. If you have a child going to football practice, you really need to read what Dr. Shepherd (Past President of the Amer. Metr. Society) has written. UPDATE: Another piece by John Abraham at the Guardian (London) has info about the latest medical research into cooling down someone who is in danger of heat stroke. Apparently, cooling the cheeks, hands, and feet are best, if total cool water emersion is not possible. Another MUST read.


From WX Shift/Climate Central

Heat waves happen, but our warming climate means they will happen more often and be hotter. This kind of heat is going to become more and more a factor in our summer weather in coming years, as NOAA made clear earlier this week, with the latest global climate data.  Phil Plait (Bad Astronomer) has a good take on it as well here. Andy Freedman at Mashable put it best when he said “We have left the climate of the 20th century behind and it will not likely return in our lifetimes”.

Another deadly flood in China this week. BBC has an update here, and lastly, I’ve just started reading an excellent book, and so far, I can highly recommend it. If you mistakenly believe that the world is only 6,000 years old, or that vaccines cause Autism, or that China is behind climate change, you are not going to like it. You really should read it though.

Screen Shot 2016-07-23 at 9.16.00 PM