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Extreme western heat & northwest flow in the plains
Wow, the weekend was nice. We had a 3 day break from the heat wave. It is now going to heat back up with a mid week twist. Our heat wave has shifted to the west where it is ridiculous. I grew up in the western San Fernando Valley, yes I am a valley boy. I left when I was 18 years old to go to the University of Oklahoma to work on my meteorology degree which I received in 1985. But, in those first 18 years of my life I didn't know any better and I thought the weather was exciting in Los Angeles. We would go 7 months without rain and then there would be a cloud over the mountains and I would go nuts. Then it would rain off and on for a few months, mostly off, and then dry again. I even went through two years in a row that only had 5 inches of rain each year. I bring this up because my home town of Woodland Hills has been over 100 degrees 16 days in a row. And, yesterday they hit 119 degrees. So this is an impressive heatwave that started in the Dakotas with 120 degrees in South Dakota. Is this Global Warming? Well, we will be talking about it on our special Global Warming segment Tuesday night at 10 PM.
This week we are in northwest flow aloft over the western ridge. This almost has to bring thunderstorms close by around Wednesday or Thursday. But, dewpoints are back into the lower 60s and 50s again. It should moisten up by mid week. Below is the 500 mb flow forecast for Thursday morning. You can see us in the northwest flow with all kinds of disturbances. The models are having a hard time predicting anything organized, but an MCS is possible later in the week. I hope so.
Click to enlarge (shows the 500 mb flow forecast for Thursday morning)
Have a fantastic day. Later on this evening we will look at all of the hot weather forecasts and see where we stand.
Posted by at July 24, 2006 10:12 AM
Hope you don't mind an out-of-stater tuning in from eastern Colorado. I found your site and there is none other as interesting (weatherwise) in our area.
Like many others, I think the current weather pattern since last Oct/Nov has been horrible -- the worst I've ever experienced!
A change cannot get here soon enough -- this pattern has certainly tested the patience...
Anyway, you mention in today's blog that an 'MCS' may occur later this week. This may be a stupid question, but what does that mean? Also, do you see any positive changes in the weather pattern that could bring some much-needed moisture to the Colorado front-range and eastern plains? In our area we have yet to break 4" moisture for the YEAR!
Hopefully when the pattern changes it will benefit you. Unfortunately it isn't the wettest time of the year for you. Less than 4 inches of rain is EXCESSIVE.
MCS stands for Mesoscale Convective System. It is an organized area of thunderstorms that often moves across the plains.
Posted by: Doug at July 24, 2006 11:40 AM
Good Afternoon, Gary & Jamie,
Woodland Hills, Ca. 119 degrees? is that correct Gary?? You know something is up when The San Fernando Valley is running Death Valley, California numbers!! I can relate to your years of no weather or the slight hope of it in Southern California for month's on end..Hey Gary, at least you had a 20% stray westward nudged thunderstorm chance from the San Gabriel Mnts. to look forward to on those 7 month's stretches of nothing. Try living on the coast of Orange County in the summer time..marine layer =)( low clouds and fog ) timing gets old when thats the only weather in town for 1/2 year, day in day out. Everything has balance in this life however..and without Southern California there is no Dr. George Fishbeck and looking at the rest of the " non mediterranean climate " further east and wanting to experience that and the inspiration to understand the weather and pass along the knowledge and beauty of it to ones who sometimes take weather change for granted when they are blessed to live right in it. This is why in the last 5 years here in the midwest I have marveled at the day to day changes in the weather..the cloud displays..the extremes..the storms..despite sometimes when it seems we are missing out on the action. Now...lets keep the fingers crossed for that midweek change!!
Ahhhh, Dr. George, my idol growing up. We are still in this pattern. I keep waiting, but not yet. Some signs are there.
Posted by: SkyMan at July 24, 2006 12:25 PM
That Southern California weather puts our "boring" stretches of weather into perspective! I don't think I could have lived there without going crazy. By the way, did you ever feel any earth tremors while growing up there? (always wounderd what they felt like) Thanks Nick
Yes, I have felt about 10 earthquakes in my life, including two big ones. In 1971, I was 9 years old, and we had a 6.4 earthquake centered in San Fernando, CA. It shook for 60 seconds and was quite scary. We were out of school for a week. Then, in 1989 or so I was in a 6.1 earthquake while visiting my family. Thanks for asking
Posted by: Nick Rau at July 24, 2006 1:58 PM
I look forward to catching the Global Warming segment. I haven't said too much on here about it, but definitely have some thoughts. Gary, I hope you will give us a chance to blog our reponses to your piece tomorrow, since there won't be much going on regarding storms. I would like to read other peoples thoughts on the piece and the topic itself.
Thanks in advance...oh..and still need a 106 or so on July 30th. Make it so. ;-)
I will likely post all of the comments after the piece.
106 on the 30th is possible.
Posted by: Scott at July 24, 2006 2:55 PM
Gary: Please don't jump to any conclusions about "global warming" without reading "State of Fear" by Michael Crichton. There is no global warming...at least not a warming caused by human activity. If there is warming at all, it is likely due to solar activity, not SUVs.
Actually, he entire idea of "warming" is quite similar to the theory of eugenics that was popularized by academics in the early twentieth century. Same support in theory by academics and philanthropists...same type of flawed logic and political goals behind the research.
I have made a few conclusions, but like with everything I have an open mind. There is a lot of debate right now, but the evidence is there. Something is happening, but I still have my doubts.
Posted by: Ed at July 24, 2006 3:03 PM
Its great to have you here in KC Gary. I have watched you and Windy since you first moved up from OK. You have always demonstrated your love of weather and the kid it brings out in us when it gets exciting.
Keep up the good work You guys Rock!!!!
I love it here too. Hopefully next year we will have some weather excitement.
Posted by: joe at July 24, 2006 4:26 PM
My sister lives in Southern California and I like to joke that they talk about traffic like we talk about weather here, because they have no weather to talk about.
One time I flew out to surprise my dad on a Friday. It took 3 hours to get from the airport to the restaurant. Very frustrating.
Posted by: Marlina at July 24, 2006 4:52 PM
Hi Gary - Appreciated your comments on my last blog - now that the pattern should be going "bye-bye", I wonder what November's pattern will bring us - only time will tell.
In the meantime, the in-between will be interesting to see - BTW, haven't seen a lot of hurricane action in the Carribean, but I suppose it's early days yet. Hopefully all the predictions for this year will be wrong, but the Gulf is getting full sun and nothing to interrupt that, so any easterly wave/tropical system moving into that area will have virgin energy to tap into. That would not be good. BTW, Flagstaff, where I lived for 2 years, is gonna have a good Monsoon week - 50% pops - it was fun watching the CBs over the San Francisco peaks go up at 1200 daily and then drift over us by afternoon/evening.
The monsoon is doing well, but the west is sizzling. The pattern seems to be in transition, but I am not sure as to what yet.
Posted by: StormDog at July 24, 2006 5:28 PM
Just a quick response to Dog...so far we are in a typical tropical season. Last year, like this year the SSTs were up significantly above normal, but the sheer was much lower earlier last year. That is a double edged sword I think. Because of the lack of mixing of water caused by signifcant storms, the Gulf is percolating [sp?]. I am not convinced we will have the number predicted this year [Me thinks Dr.Grey overstated this years projection due to the fallout of last years complete miss], but I do think we will have the same amount of major hurricanes. The sheer is continuing to drop across the tropics and the SSTs are well above normal. Sheer has been the main factor limiting development at this time..and even in the face of that, Alberto formed in 20-25 kt sheer! The remaining question is where will these monsters go? I have been watching the Bermuda/Azore high and its location as that serves as one of the steering forces to whether it goes Gulf or Atlantic. I have noticed a slight weakening and a bit of a shift to the east, so maybe that would indicate more of a east coast path than Gulf. [Applicable to more of the Cape Verde variety - but..the African dust is still persistant this year like last year] The only complicating factor is the persistant east coast trough...we shall see...we are nearing the beginning of the peak season.
Aside from all that...Gary, what is the prize for the winner of the hottest day?
The prize is millions and millions. But, really, I think the winner will get one of my books, "Our Spacious Skies". Or, perhaps a plush Windy and Stormy animal. Good luck!
Posted by: Scott at July 24, 2006 8:36 PM
I am looking forward to the global warming special. Some individuals need factual data and evidence that global warming is occuring. All you need to look at is the winter temperatures that are increasing dramatically in the northern latitudes. And, it has been many years since we have had temperatures -10F or lower. Sidenote:(This will become even less likely if another proposed power plant is built in Platte County, which hopefully will be tied up in the courts for a long time). The evidence of climate change will be in the arctic, however. Sea ice studies are astounding in their scope. This probably effects the buildup of cold air masses that originate in the Arctic. Just some of my thoughts.
Thanks for all your great work Gary & Team :)
A lot to think about tonight. I just hope my segment comes across well.
Posted by: Devin Kellerman at July 24, 2006 9:11 PM
How about a tour of the station too? The winner might be interested in seeing how/what tools are used for your forecasts? Maybe that is just me..
The winner could come up to get their prize and the tour.
Posted by: Scott at July 24, 2006 10:11 PM
And a thought about Ed's comment above [couldn't wait until tomorrow]. In general terms, I agree. I believe the earth has natural heating and cooling cycles. The problem is we have not been around long enough to definitively prove the human effect. There is lots of scientific proof of warming, and much that is attributed to human interaction is the measurement of CO2 increases. I am not convinced that humans are the sole contributors to this, as other main contributors, such as volcanos and other natural occurances can greatly affect this as well. I do believe humans have an impact to warming, but not as much as many alamists would like the public to believe [in my opinion]. Global warming is big business. Anytime money is to be made in gobs, it becomes a politically motivated engine that will use scientific data in any way it needs to prove a point. I figure since there is not a concensus on the facts from scientists, I likely won't fall for opinions pro or con from politicians/general media. Warming is happening, but..tough to define what or who is responsible.
Posted by: Scott at July 24, 2006 11:16 PM
In a response Monday afternoon you said that you would "likely post all of the comments" after a story. I'm curious as to what percentage of blogs never get posted. What is the criteria you look for when deciding whether to post a blog?
Also, I've noticed that you respond to most but not all of the blogs that are posted. What is the determining factor? I'm eager to learn the requirements so that my blogs will both get posted and get a response! :)
Additionally, Gary, you mention a California weatherman, Dr. George Fishbeck, who was your idol. What were some of his attibutes that you most admired? Did he influence your desire to become a meteorologist?
In closing, I wish to thank you, Gary, for the fine job you and all the KSHB Team do in keeping us informed! Y'all are the BEST!
We post most comments. The only ones we don't post are ones that are mean spirited and have bad language, or are extremely attacking.
Dr. George had fun, was exciting on the air, and most importantly he would actually explain the weather situation scientifically and I learned from his weather reports, as short as most of them were in Los Angeles. So he inspired me to have fun on the air, but also to pursue me weather interests since I was five.
Thanks for the kind comments Katey.
Posted by: Katey at July 25, 2006 12:20 AM