Tuesday, June 25, 2013

25 Year Ago: 104 Degree Heat in Cleveland!

I remember the hot and dry summer of 1988 vividly. My lawn mowing business took a HUGE hit. After mowing lawn at a record pace in April and May, everything came to a stand still by June and never really recovered until September. By then, it was too late to re coop the losses.

That was also my first time experiencing 100+ degree heat. Sure, it was a "dry heat". But 100 degrees is 100 degrees! Today marks the 25th anniversary of the HOTTEST DAY IN CLEVELAND HISTORY when we reached 104 degrees that late afternoon on the 25th of June.

What is interesting about June of 1988 was not only the all-time recording setting heat which we all remember but the cold nights!

First, we set 4 record highs that month leading up to the 104 on the 25th...

Check this out: We had 7 nights in the 40s. The 2 nights in the 40s at the end of the month were RECORD LOWS!

The drought had a lot to do with this. Humidity levels that summer were low so large variations from day to night were more common.

Its an interesting case study. When you look at the occurrences of 100 degree heat in June---only two other times (1944 and 1934)--they featured no instance of record low temperatures! 

This really shows the severity of the drought during the summer of 1988.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Why is this early summer pattern different than 2012? More 90s in store?

In March at The Ohio State Weather Symposium, I  presented a paper on the conditions that preceded the Drought of 2012 and how those conditions set the stage for the summer of 2012. You can scroll through my POWERPOINT here. Its loaded with graphics that give a chronology leading up to last summer.

Last summer and the summers before it (2011 and 2010) are still fresh in everyone's mind. All three were above normal. Each one featured different degrees of heat. 2010 & 2011 had consistent heat. Last summer featured about 3 solid weeks of oppressive heat in late June and early July with 28 days in the 90s by mid September.  So its nature to think that this summer will be just as hot right? Not necessarily.  Why is this summer setting up to be different than last summer?  The answer lies partially in the amount and location of the spring rains.

Take a look at the Long Term Drought Indicator. This map blends a bunch of variables to include soil moisture, short term and long term precipitation, ground water and reservoir water levels. Last year's indicator for late June is on the left; this year is on the right.

The corn belt was in serious trouble last year with dry conditions that carried over from the winter before (SEE MY POWER POINT) while this year, above normal spring rains across Illinois, Indiana, Iowa and parts of Missouri are in great shape. Spring heat was absent so evaporation of soil moisture didn't occur as rapidly as it did in 2012. Look at the temperatures from March through May in 2012 and this year: POLAR OPPOSITES!
Evaporation was lower, rainfall in spring was above normal. The above normal rainfall for much of June this year has stayed above normal versus last June.
So what does ABOVE NORMAL SPRING RAIN, COOLER SPRING TEMPS AND HIGHER SOIL MOISTURE MEAN for our summer pattern? Last summer, the central US drought feed the heat which strengthened the ridge of high pressure which worsened the drought....etc. It was a huge drought/heat feedback loop with no end in sight.
This year, with WETTER AND COOLER CONDITIONS IN SPRING AND EARLY JUNE along with other pattern changes globally, the chances for a huge heat dome to develop in the center of the US and across Ohio are considerably smaller than last summer. The wet ground will reduce the propensity for the heat dome to develop. So far, the core of the heat has stayed out west with only small bursts of 90 degree heat across Ohio so far.

Remember that almost 50% of our 90 degree days occur in July so we have a lot of summer left.
More than half of the summers since 1980 have had less than 10 days above 90.
What's the bottom line?

1. This summer is starting out much different than the summer of 2012. 

2. The soil conditions and accumulative rainfall in the central US and across Ohio are far better.

3. They favor more frequent breaks from the 90 degree heat into the first 10 days of July. As long as we continue with frequent rainfall, this pattern could stick around longer. We'll watch carefully as we head into 4th of July week and beyond!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Wall Cloud Photos, Muckelheads, Mayflies

Yesterday was a textbook example of what I like to call "potent yet widely scattered storms." Many believe the phrase "scattered storms" is an indicator of intensity. In reality, the word "scattered" is referring to how much of the area will see storms not how strong the rain/wind. For those who saw storms, they were certainly potent!

Rainfall resembled a monsoon in some areas (2"+)  while other spots didn't receive a drop.

Andre Bernier took this panoramic photo from on top of the FOX8 roof as the wall cloud moved closer.

He also posted this time lapse as it moved inland.

Several other wall cloud photos from across the area.

Wall cloud from Sunday's storm

And last but certainly not least, the two insects we've been covering recently. Both are harmless; each look VERY different.

Finally, the mayfly invasion on an ATM in Sheffield Lake

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Severe Weather Update - 2AM THURSDAY

Squall line moving through northern Ohio...but weakening.

Biggest threat will be high winds between 2 and 4AM. Other threat from 2AM until 6AM will be local heavy rainfall between 1 and 2 inches. Flash flooding possible in low lying areas.

Severe thunder storm watch for most of northern and eastern Ohio until 6AM

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Severe Weather Update - 5PM

So far, the showers have been scattered with no storms as of yet. This jives with what our forecast was this morning--that is, highlighting the scattered nature of the rain through the early evening then focusing on the main threat which would build mid evening and especially overnight (after midnight).

We are still in a slight to moderate risk for severe weather later this evening. The last time any part of Ohio was under a high risk was in October of 2010. Needless to say, it rarely happens in these parts.

This was my summary from earlier this morning. It still holds true:   

1)  Scattered storms this afternoon. Coverage will be 50% with breaks of sun in between. 


2)  Large cluster of heavy rain and storms will develop by mid evening to the west and over most of Ohio after midnight/early Thursday. Here is the current radar loop as of 5PM. I'm already noticing the beginnings of a LARGE COMPLEX IN NORTHERN ILLINOIS. 



3)  Severe weather threat will be from high winds (50+ mph) and hail. Gusty winds will continue into Thursday AFTER the rain moves out

4) Tonight's rainfall will exceed 1-2" in many areas. Flood Watch for all of northern Ohio for tonight and early Thursday

Today/Tonight's Severe Weather Update

As of 8AM Wednesday morning, a few showers have made it into northwestern Ohio. Most of this rain is outrunning the energy associated with the large scale cluster now developing in the upper midwest.

The Storm Prediction Center still has western Ohio under a MODERATE risk of severe weather. Remember that the definition of a SEVERE THUNDERSTORM is a storm that has 58 mph winds or greater and/or hail of at least 1 INCH in diameter. 

* Moderate risk for western Ohio *

Wind damage will be the biggest threat along with heavy rain tonight

Any showers and storms that develop ahead of the main cluster this afternoon will be more scattered. Not everyone will see rain and storms this afternoon and early evening. That said, we will need to keep a careful eye on this. Often times, these scattered, fast-moving storms in the late afternoon can rapidly develop into organized clusters by themselves. In fact, one computer projection is showing just that but not until the mid evening.
The last complex of rain and storms overnight will be heavy. Rainfall will be significant. Winds will be pushing 30+ mph in spots.

Courtesy: Weatherbell Analytics
To summarize:   

1)  Scattered storms this afternoon. Coverage will be 50% with breaks of sun in between. 
2)  Large cluster of heavy rain and storms will develop by mid evening to the west and over most of Ohio after midnight/early Thursday
3)  Severe weather threat will be from high winds (50+ mph) and hail 
4) Tonight's rainfall will exceed 1-2" in many areas. Flood Watch for all of northern Ohio for tonight and early Thursday

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Wednesday's Severe Threat - Derecho Perhaps?

After looking at the severe weather parameters along with the SPC's severe weather outlook for tomorrow, the threat for severe storms later tomorrow and into the evening is more than just a passing thought for northern Indiana and most of Ohio.

The storms will occur in large clusters moving from west to southeast along the front where the best convergence will develop.

WSI's RPM model in its future reflectivity output illustrates what the radar might look like tomorrow late afternoon/early evening

If you recall, last year around this time, a Derecho developed along the same latitude that storms will fire up late tomorrow afternoon and evening. Due to their uncertain and progressive nature driven by changes in the storm clusters magnified on the larger scale, the position and direction of derechos are difficult to forecast.

Here was the SPC severe risk area last year before the Derecho ON THE LEFT versus tomorrow risk area.

 What is tomorrow's bottom line?  If these storms track through northern Ohio, anticipate wind gusts of 50+ mph with rainfall amounts between 1 and 2" in local areas. Anticipate sunshine between these storm clusters. Power outages are also a reality.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Muckleheads from Lake Erie Are Invading!

"Muckleheads" are insects that hatch from Lake Erie in the late spring each year and push inland. They don't bite; they are just an annoyance. I wrote about them a few years ago. Here is the link.

Some video I took this morning of the coating of bugs on the front of the station

This morning, they invaded the front yard!

FOX8 Front yard with bugs on the wall
I won't be calling for help. The muckleheads are invading the intercom!
I can't turn the lights off...
I can't text or email anyone. The muckleheads have hijacked the wi-fi
So what is a weather guy to do? Absolutely nothing but pick the bugs out of one's teeth :)

The Impatience of Blog Readers


I ran across this great article on the behavior of the readers of blogs. After reading this--the entire article--it got me thinking that this occurs many times as people read my blog for reasons that I will write about later.
This article on Slate shows that most of blog readers rarely have the patience to read an entire piece yet they will share the article on Facebook or on Twitter. In keeping with the findings that are illustrated in this article (which states that a good percentage of you won't scroll down to read beyond the first page of an article) I will bullet-point what the article summerized:

"Only a small number of you are reading all the way through articles on the Web...many smart-alecks jump in to the comments to make points that get mentioned later in the piece."

""Of the 100 of you who didn’t bounce (click away from the article), five are never going to scroll. Bye!..."  Some sites have a higher share of people—10 percent—that never scroll."

"Chartbeat’s data shows that most readers scroll to about the 50 percent mark, or the 1,000th pixel, in Slate stories..."

Are you one of these reader who comment on articles without reading them entirely? Hmmmm....

Friday, June 07, 2013

Friday Morning Update: 8 day forecast, Cool June & T.S. Andrea

Its finally Friday and my voice is going due to allergies. Its frustrating having a weakened voice due to congestion when the rest of you feels fine. I'll give it a few days to clear up as I always do in the spring when this happens. Sigh.....

In the mean time, I figure a post with a myriad of weather elements would take my mind off of my voice. Luckily, we have a bunch of topics to cover this morning.  First, here is the 8 day forecast for northern Ohio. Notice the absence of 80 degree warmth. This time of year, I am always apprehensive about running an 8 day forecast with a string of 70s. The extended models have been flipping back and forth on the strength of the mid west warmth for next week. Given their inconsistencies and the strength of June sunshine, an 80 degree high in this environment is ALWAYS possible. Rather than bounce back and forth, I like the numbers to stay consistent until the pattern becomes more definitive.

This "cool" start to June has happened in a long time right? Not really. Here is the list of years that had "cooler" starts to June. This year isn't close to the top of the list. We've had 4 years with cooler starts to June since 2000!

Rainfall across northern Ohio has been feast or famine. Shoreline communities from just east of Cleveland to Ashtabula is running well above normal (3-5" in spots) over the last month. Whereas most other locations are running near normal to almost an inch below normal even with the rainfall yesterday (Friday June 6th).

Now the tropical storm....Andrea continue to fly up the eastern seaboard at almost 30 mph producing heavy rainfall from the Carolinas to New York and Boston over the next 48 hours.

One quick Andrea forecast element I just noticed was the GFS long range forecast for Andrea. It takes its  remains over Greenland. While this could be an outlier, its fun to think that tropical remains could finish over a typically arctic location. Its happened with other tropical storms like Hurricane Faith back in 1966....its just wild to see in a model projection.  I like extremes!

Have a good weekend!

Wednesday, June 05, 2013

Hurricanes: Frequently Asked Questions

Hurricane season officially started last Saturday. The National Hurricane Center updated their hurricane season forecast. It continues to highlight above average activity. One lone storm could develop further this weekend.

This usually brings up many of the same questions about hurricanes and hurricane season. Rather than answer each question as they are received, here is a substantial list of questions that I've received over the years WITH answers with some help from NOAA's hurricane FAQ page.

If you have a question that's not listed here, feel free to send me an EMAIL, TWEET OR FACEBOOK MESSAGE

QUESTION #1: When it rains inside a hurricane, is it salt water?

No. When the water evaporates from the ocean, it leaves behind the salt.

QUESTION #2: Who names tropical storms? When did they start naming them?

In 1945, the military started naming Pacific storms with women's names. From 1950 to 1952, tropical cyclones of the North Atlantic Ocean were identified by the phonetic alphabet (Able-Baker-Charlie...). But in 1953 the US Weather Bureau switched to women's names solely. In 1979, the World Meteorological Organization began naming storms using a list that alternates between men's and women's names.

QUESTION #3: What happens when they run out of names in a specific year?

The Greek alphabet will be used (alpha, beta, gamma, delta...etc)  This happened in 2005 when we went 7 names deep into the Greek alphabet. That storm was named 'Zeta".

QUESTION #4: What names have been retired?

Here is the list: Audrey 1957, Agnes 1972, Anita 1977, Allen 1980, Alicia 1983, Andrew 1992, Allison 2001, Betsy 1965, Beulah 1967, Bob 1991, Connie 1955 ,Carla 1961, Cleo 1964, Carol 1965, Camille 1969, Celia 1970, Carmen 1974, Cesar 1996, Charley 2004, Diane 1955, Donna 1960, Dora 1964, David 1979, Diana 1990, Dennis 2005, Dean 2007, Edna 1968, Eloise 1975, Elena 1985, Flora 1963, Fifi 1974, Frederic 1979, Fran 1996, Floyd 1999, Fabian 2003, Frances 2004, Felix 2007, Gracie 1959, Gloria 1985, Gilbert 1988, Georges 1998, Gustav 2008
Hazel 1954, Hattie 1961, Hilda 1964, Hugo 1989,Hortense 1996, Ione 1955, Inez 1966, Iris 2001, Isidore 2002, Isabel 2003, Ivan 2004, Ike 2008,Igor 2010, Irene 2011, Janet 1955, Joan 1988, Juan 2003, Jeanne 2004, Klaus 1990, Keith 2000, Katrina 2005, Luis 1995, Lenny 1999, Lili 2002, Marilyn 1995, Mitch 1998, Michelle 2001, Noel 2007, Opal 1995, Paloma 2008, Roxanne 1995, Rita 2005, Stan 2005, Tomas 2010, Wilma 2005

QUESTION #5:  What happens if a storm cross from the Atlantic to Pacific or Pacific to Atlantic...is it renamed?

If the storm remains a tropical cyclone as it moves across Central America (Atlantic to Pacific or vise versa) then it will keep the original name. Only if the tropical cyclone dissipates with just a tropical disturbance remaining, will the NHC give the system a new name assuming it becomes a tropical cyclone once again.
QUESTION #6: Why can't we use a nuclear bomb to dissipate the hurricane?

NOAA has a detailed explanation: "A fully developed hurricane can release heat energy at a rate of 5 to 20x10^13 watts". This is equivalent to 200 times the world-wide electrical generating capacity!..."

That is the energy created from the condensation of water vapor molecules into water droplets. When you consider that 1/2" of rainfall per day over a 360 mile radius from the center, you can understand the power generation of a hurricane. NOAA continues...

"...This is equivalent to the heat release is equivalent to a 10-megaton nuclear bomb exploding every 20 minutes! In addition, an explosive, even a nuclear explosive, produces a shock wave, or pulse of high pressure, that propagates away from the site of the explosion somewhat faster than the speed of sound. Such an event doesn't raise the barometric pressure after the shock has passed because barometric pressure in the atmosphere reflects the weight of the air above the ground. For normal atmospheric pressure, there are about ten metric tons (1000 kilograms per ton) of air bearing down on each square meter of surface. In the strongest hurricanes there are nine. To change a Category 5 hurricane into a Category 2 hurricane you would have to add about a half ton of air for each square meter inside the eye, or a total of a bit more than half a billion (500,000,000) tons for a 20 km radius eye. It's difficult to envision a practical way of moving that much air around."  

Basically, it can't be done!


What is the fastest a storm intensified?

Hurricane Wilma in 2005 went from 954 mb to 901 mb in a 5 hour 23 minute period for a 9.8 mb/hr pressure drop. The winds went from 150 mph to 184 mph in 5 in that period.
What was the lowest hurricane pressure ever recorded?

Typhoon Tip in the Northwest Pacific Ocean on 12 October 1979 was measured to have a central pressure of 870 mb.
Hurricane Wilma's 882 mb lowest pressure (estimated from a dropsonde) in 2005 is the most intense for the Atlantic basin.

What was the strongest wind ever recorded in a tropical cyclone?

Tropical Cyclone Olivia off the coast of Australia on April 10, 1996 sets the new world record for the Highest surface wind speed with a gust at 253.5 mph
Typhoon Nancy on 12 September, 1961 located in the Northwest Pacific region has estimated maximum sustained winds of 213 mph.
Hurricane Camille (1969) and Hurricane Allen (1980) have had winds that are estimated to be 190 mph.

What was the largest hurricane?

Typhoon Tip had gale force winds (39 mph) which extended out for 675 miles from the radius in the Northwest Pacific on 12 October, 1979,  It was half the size of the continental United States!

What tropical storm lasted the longest?

What has been the deadliest hurricanes for the US?

A great list created by Chris Landsea at NOAA

What is the total number of storms through 2012?

Why doesn't the South Atlantic Ocean experience tropical cyclones?

It has happened. Once in 2004 off of the coast of Brazil. The other was a disturbance off the coast of Africa in April of 1991. The region south of the equator has no convergence zone that promotes "spin" for thunderstorm development necessary for large scale tropical systems. The wind sheer is much too great.