Air quality degrades as heat spreads east
For the seventh day in a row we're talking about heat as it spreads into the Mid-Atlantic and East Coast. The hottest temperatures in the country will be from Missouri southeast to Georgia and north to the Washington D.C. area. Why not Florida? Moisture tends to keep the temperature regulated; the worst heat waves this country has seen have also coincided with widespread drought. Given the extreme to exceptional drought that many states can't get rid of, this heat wave isn't all that surprising. Air quality is becoming more of an issue the longer the heat sticks around. Air quality alerts have been issued for many major cities from Kansas City to New York, including Chicago, Detroit, and Atlanta. Chicago is seeing some relief from the heat today in the form of thunderstorms—northeast Illinois and northwest Indiana are under a severe thunderstorm watch. Washington D.C. is pushing its all-time record high of 106°, which is the high that BestForecast is going with. You can see the all-time record highs for almost all major cities here.
Figure 1. BestForecast high temperature for Friday.
Our Weather Historian, Christopher C. Burt, will likely post two blogs today and tomorrow this week's heat, but for now, he wraps up Thursday's significant temperature records:
• 109° in Chesterfiled, Missouri (well short of state monthly record of 112°)
• 108° in Lawrenceville, Illinois (ties all-time state June monthly record of 108° at Palestine in June 1954)
• 108° in Huntingsburg, Indiana (well short of state monthly record of 111°)
• 107° in Defiance, Ohio (1° short of all-time state June record-108° in Germantown in 1934)
• 111° in Evening Shade, Arkansas (short of state June record of 113° in 1936)
• 108° in Smyrna, Tennessee (short of 110° state record in 1936)
• 107° in Little Rock, Arkansas (all-time June monthly record)
Waldo Canyon Fire now 15% contained
The Denver Post is reporting that 346 homes have been lost to the Waldo Canyon Fire, which is burning northwest of Colorado Springs. They also report that one person has died and another is missing in the area of the blaze. The fire has been 15% contained since Thursday night, and the acreage is down to 16,750, welcome news to a terrified city.
Figure 2. Satellite imagery of Invest 97L, which is expected to drift west into the Caribbean over the next few days.
A tropical wave in the central main development region of the North Atlantic is still producing thunderstorm activity as it moves west, and the National Hurricane Center has increased its chance of development to 20%. 97L's circulation continues to be moderate and in the past day has realigned with the thunderstorm activity, which is likely why NHC gave the go to invest the wave and begin running models on it. This wave continues to be in some moderate wind shear, 10-15 knots, and sea surface temperature is around average, 28° C (82° F), which is warm enough to support tropical development. Many of the track models are forecasting 97L to continue trekking west into the Caribbean, crossing the Lesser Antilles around July 1.