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Title: Heat wave bakes central US

Wayne in WA State - July 18, 2011 05:40 PM (GMT)

UPDATE 1-Heatwave bakes US Midwest; East Coast is next
Sun, Jul 17 2011

(Reuters) - A heat wave with oppressive temperatures and stifling humidity lingered and intensified in the midsection of the country on Monday and was expected to expand eastward as the week continued.

On Tuesday parts of 18 states stretching from North Dakota south to Texas and east to Ohio were under a heat advisory, warning or watch, according to the National Weather Service.

When the humidity is factored into the mix, it will feel like 110 degrees in some parts of the nation.

"This is unusual," said Pat Slattery, spokesman for the weather service. "There's no sugar coating anything here."

Temperatures in places such as Dodge City, Kansas, and Woodward, Oklahoma, were forecast to be above 100 degrees through Saturday. Wichita, Kansas, will see temperatures higher than 100 degrees through Sunday.

This heat wave is particularly dangerous because many of the areas under its umbrella are not used to prolonged high temperatures and humidity, according to the weather service. Plus the overnight temperatures are not expected to dip low enough to provide any reprieve.

"The cumulative effects, when it doesn't cool down overnight, you get no relief," Slattery said.

According to the weather service outlook, the central United States from North Dakota to Texas and east to the Carolinas, excluding parts of the Northeast and Southern Florida, will see excessive heat through July 29.

(Reporting by Karin Matz; Editing by Jerry Norton)

earthmother - July 19, 2011 03:48 PM (GMT)
It's coming here next. It's been really hot as it is for the last couple of weeks (and no rain), but now it's going to be truly oppressive. I feel bad using the a/c so much, but it's just too much to take without it.

Is anyone blaming this on climate change, or do they just say it's an anomaly?

Wayne in WA State - July 21, 2011 06:29 AM (GMT)
On the other hand..

Seattle: Home of the 78-minute summer

user posted image

Does it seem like you can measure the amount of summer weather we've had this year with a stopwatch?

Turns out, you probably can. In fact, head to see the latest blockbuster at the theater and Seattle's accumulative summer would be over and done long before the credits rolled.

I've been curious since most of our warmest days as far as official high temperatures go don't seem to stay warm very long -- for example, the high on Friday was officially 76 at Sea-Tac Airport, but it was 63 a few hours later when the rain arrived. Or on July 2, it was 81 at 6 p.m. but 71 two hours later and 64 at 9 p.m.

So if someone was to someday go back and look in the weather logs, it might have looked like Friday was a nice warm day. But it sure didn't feel like it at the time. Plenty of our other warm days have quickly cooled with the strong evening sea breezes or marine pushes.

That got me to thinking -- just how long has it been *really* warm this summer in Seattle?

While Sea-Tac Airport only reports temperatures on the hour, the University of Washington Atmospheric Sciences Department keeps a minute-by-minute log of the weather station atop their roof on the Seattle campus. And since the UW is in the heart of Seattle, while the airport is more like the lower-left shin, I figure this could be an accurate representation of what a true Seattle person would have felt this summer.

The mission: Find out how many minutes it's been at 80 degrees or warmer this year-- what I would call a true warm summer day in Seattle.

The answer: 78 minutes.

Or, breaking it down: 12 minutes on July 2, and 66 minutes on July 6.

(The official Sea-Tac record books say Seattle has had three days at 80 or warmer, the warmest being 84 degrees on July 6. The UW's warmest day was 81 on July 6 with the other day at 80 and the third at 79. Check out Cliff Mass' timely weather blog on how the 3rd runway could be skewing Sea-Tac's temperatures.)

For those that say: "C'mon, you know 80's a pipe dream around here. I'd say 75 degrees is a more accurate 'summer representation,' " I'd first reply, "Wow, these past two summers have really warped our perceptions of a normal Seattle summer." Seattle (at Sea-Tac) does averaage 25 days a year at 80 or warmer.

But my second reply would be, "can do."

It turns out, we've had a whopping 18 hours and 48 minutes of temperatures above 75 this summer -- hey, it's more than 2/3rd of a day! Never mind that some cities like Dallas haven't been below 75, day or night, since June 23rd.

(On the other hand, Paine Field in Everett has yet to reach 75 this year. Their highest temperature has been 74.)

Actually, much of the rest of the nation has been suffering under one of the hottest summers they've seen in ages. The Pacific Coast has been the only safe haven for excrutiating heat, so maybe staying cool isn't such a horrible thing.

But we realize that there are a lot of sun fans out here who realize hot weather is rare enough in a normal summer, much less this one. So next time the temperature climbs to 80 degrees, run -- don't walk -- to your nearest beach. It might be all you get.

Oh, and bring a jacket if you're out past 8 o'clock.

Get timely updates and other neat tidbits about Seattle weather by following me on Twitter @ScottSKOMO or on Facebook.

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ap215 - July 21, 2011 02:44 PM (GMT)
And now the Heat Wave stretches it's muscles & heads eastward get ready East Coast.

earthmother - July 21, 2011 04:57 PM (GMT)
You and I will be in the thick of it, ap215. :rolleyes:

Texan for Gore - July 22, 2011 03:55 PM (GMT)
It's been a heck of a summer here. I think they said we've set a record for the number of days we've been in triple digit temperatures.

Thought this was funny...we had a parade yesterday, and one of the participants in the parade was actually throwing freezer pops instead of candy. :lol: They were actually frozen. You just had to eat them quickly. :D Thought that was a cool idea. My son certainly appreciated it. :rolleyes:

ReElectAlGore2016 - July 28, 2011 09:49 AM (GMT)
get ready for round 2 the next 4 or 5 days in NY/NJ

heat alert already this morning through the weekend

the air is worse than I can recall in 30 years.

everyone is coughing in my area, not like when having a cold, but like


Texan for Gore - July 28, 2011 03:08 PM (GMT)
Hope it won't be as bad as they're predicting for ya'll. Stay inside if/when you can during the extreme heat. We had a 73 year old man here have a heart attack while he was riding his bike at 2:00 in the afternoon!! Way too hot to be doing that right now but he was so used to doing so.

Anyway, hope you guys stay cool and safe.

Wayne in WA State - July 29, 2011 05:34 AM (GMT)
Did I mention that the Republicans are batsh*t crazy?

By Molly O'Toole

WASHINGTON | Fri Jul 29, 2011 1:18am EDT

(Reuters) - The United States is on a pace in 2011 to set a record for the cost of weather-related disasters and the trend is expected to worsen as climate change continues, officials and scientists said on Thursday.

"The economic impact of severe weather events is only projected to grow," Senator Dick Durbin said at a hearing of the Senate Subcommittee on Financial Services and Government, which he chairs. "We are not prepared. Our weather events are getting worse, catastrophic in fact."

Durbin, an Illinois Democrat, held a hearing on the role of government in mitigating the economic impact of weather disasters as Republicans in the House of Representatives were considering an appropriations bill with a number of riders designed to curtail environmental regulation.

As of June, the United States has seen eight weather disasters exceeding $1 billion each in damage, and the annual hurricane season has hardly begun, said Kathryn Sullivan, Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Environmental Observation and Prediction and NOAA's Deputy Administrator.

The record is nine in a single year, 2008. But April alone saw separate tornado, wildfire, flood and drought disasters.

"Any one such a event in a year would be considered quite notable, and we had four in totally different hazard categories in the space of a month," Sullivan told Reuters.

The costs of weather-disaster damages have climbed past $32 billion for 2011, according to NOAA estimates.

The agency also projects that water flowing into the Gulf of Mexico from record flooding will create the largest-ever "dead zone" from pollutants led by run-off from agricultural chemicals, threatening marine life and threatening the $2.8 billion annual commercial and recreational fisheries.


"Every weather event that happens nowadays takes place in the context of the changes in the background climate system," University of Illinois scientist Donald Wuebbles, who worked on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, told the panel.

"So nothing is entirely 'natural' anymore," he said.

Since roughly 1980, the United States has seen a total of 107 weather-related disasters of over $1 billion each in damage, with total losses exceeding $750 billion.

Almost 90 percent of all Presidentially declared disasters are weather-related, and vulnerability to the impacts is also increasing with population, Sullivan testified.

"The scientific and analytical consensus is ... that patterns and frequencies of weather events are changing," said Sullivan. "That alone says past is no longer prologue."

Durbin flagged the trend of rising weather disasters as a major budget issue for Congress. Over the next 75 years, he said, cumulative exposure of the U.S. government budget to weather-disaster damages could reach $7 trillion.

Durbin said federal funding for disaster relief has been typically provided only as needed, rather than as regular budget projections. So weather disasters have been a budget disaster too, he said.

"In years with catastrophic events, we are left scrambling to fund relief programs," he said. "If we hope to put this country on a sustainable fiscal path, we need to be prepared to manage this increase in natural catastrophes."

Congress has asked the Government Accountability Office to determine how federal, state and local authorities are adapting to climate change. But David Trimble, Director for Natural Resources and Environment at the GAO, told Reuters that environmental regulations addressing climate change have fallen victim to political pressure in the current budget debate.

"I think it's more your sort of pressing needs today versus tomorrow, the 'my roof's not raining now' idea," he said.

"This is a difficult, complex issue that involves pretty much every aspect of the government," he said. "To tackle it we need greater clarity about where the money we are spending on climate change is going, and on our national priorities."

(Editing by Peter Bohan)

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