July 28, 2009

Heat Update

What is happening now is really amazing. The atmosphere above us has warmed substantially during the past 24-h. Seattle is 5F warmer than it was a day ago and the air aloft (measured by the Sand Point profiler) is about 6F warmer. The minimum temperatures this morning are considerable warmer this morning compared to yesterday morning. Clearly, today will be substantially warmer and SEA-TAC will get close to 100F today. Some warmer Puget Sound locations will get to the century mark. And remember, the Willamette Valley got to 100F yesterday...although they have done that many times (they don't have the cooling influence of the water that the Puget Sound region enjoys. My book has a section on the heat of the Willamette Valley and the major temp records around here)

We way well break another major record....the high low temperature record...which until now has been 69F. Will know in a few hours whether that record is gone.

Probcast is still going for over 100F tomorrow...and Thursday as well.

One unusual aspect of this heat wave...and something that has made it feel much worse....is the humidity. Dewpoints are very high for around here...generally in the 60sF and in some places close to 70F. Feels like an east coast summer. Dewpoint is a good measure of the amount of moisture in the air (much better than relative humidity which varies during the day as temperature changes). More moisture in the air makes us feel warmer by lessening our ability to evaporate water from our skin (sweat) and the moisture partially blocks the infrared radiation leaving the surface....thereby keeping the temperatures up.

Anyway, this is a very serious weather event, and the National Weather Service has upped their predictions to the century mark. People don't think about heat waves in the same vain as storms, but heat kills more people around the world. So drink lots of liquids and check on the elderly, who are particularly vulnerable. Another risk is for kids in sports camps, where heat prostration can strike even the young. I am going to bike to work as usual, but will go early and my route is in the trees.

47 comments:

  1. I tried to bike last night with the high power led lights but it was still too warm at 9. You're correct, it does feel like a east coast summer. I think it only got down to 70 for the min. I'm wondering about the power grid and if it can handle the load for the next several days.

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  2. It's like we have an Eastern summer after having had an Eastern winter. BUT if we have an Eastern fall, I will be very happy indeed.

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  3. It looks like Seattle beat the overnight low temperature of September 1972 at 69 with last night's low at 71.

    It still does not feel like east coast weather to me. I am still escaping the extremely high humidity, finding plenty of respite in the shade and sleeping comfortably under the covers at night. Finally, I am inspired to swim in cold northwest waters!

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  4. natchrl8r must have air conditioning. :)

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  5. It was awful last night. Our bedroom, even on really hot days around here, usually cools by morning even if the lows only get to the 60's...it got down to 64 this morning...and our room is very muggy and not feeling too comfortable.

    Ugly stuff, stay hydrated everyone.

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  7. Hi Cliff - would you believe me when I told you that Michael and I were talking about the upcoming heat wave ten days ago (Saturday, July 18), and about how at the time it appeared it would be at such a magnitude that we started discussing all-time record high temperatures in Seattle and Portland and how it could rival those? And how similar the forecasts from the models looked to the last time Seattle hit 100 in 1994? Ask him if you don't believe me. :)

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  8. But of course, I give you credit Cliff for teaching me what I know about Northwest weather. :)

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  9. Cliff -

    Thanks for the great analysis, as always.

    Now that I'm in the energy world, I'll share a factoid to help everybody stay cool:

    Compact fluorescent light bulbs emit about 70 percent less heat than conventional bulbs -- while giving off the same amount of light.

    You can save energy, and stay cooler as well, with CFLs.

    Thanks again for your blog postings, as for me I am hoping we hit 101F -- as long as it's this hot we might as well!

    Andy Wappler
    Puget Sound Energy
    http://askandy.pse.com
    Twitter: PSETalk

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  10. also pets are a big concern, make sure they are well watered and outdoor pets have access to shade!

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  11. Most of me wants us to set a new record (and I think we will tomorrow, probably 101-103 for the high) - it's exciting!).

    But it was always easy for me to remember the all-time record low and record high in Seattle - both very round numbers of 0 and 100. How many weather stations can say that? Seattle may lose its uniqueness in that respect this week.

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  12. And leave the car out of the garage. It takes forever to cool down and all that heat ends up in the house.

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  13. Drive around with your windows up with the heater on...Then it will feel like the marine push has happened when you step outside of the car..

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  14. Does anyone know what is the highest dewpoint ever recorded in Seattle?

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  15. What were those big, puffy, pink and white clouds over Tacoma last night. I assume the color was enhanced by the sunset and they were formed due to our high temperatures. Do they have a a name?
    Thank you.

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  16. It's official. 69 was the low this morning. Now, how long will that new record last?

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  17. The 12z GFS is showing only slight cooling after Thursday, and actually rebounding to the mid 90's or better on the weekend. It looks like a rapid cool down is possible on Tuesday at this point. I think even the diehard sun fans will be ready for some cloudy weather by then.

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  18. Cliff you add an interesting perspective to the western heat and help us easterners understand the extreme nature of this particular event. Keep up the good work and hopefully we can talk to you on The Weather Channel toinght. Best, Jim Cantore

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  19. I'm kinda upset I'm out of town during this epic heat wave. I'm in New Orleans and it's actually warmer in Seattle!! -although the lows in New Orleans have been warmer

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  20. Well! . . . I sure hope that was the real Jim Cantore of TWC. I guess the Pacific NW is a weather "story" right now.

    I don't see Seatac getting to 100 today, though it looks like Everett is well ahead of yesterday at this time. I see that Willamette Valley temps are in the low to mid-90s at noon.

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  21. Jim,
    thanks..just talked to your producer...will be talking to you or someone else at the weather channel at 9:30 EDT...cliff

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  22. I am going to be looking forward to you tonight on the tv cliff.

    This is definitely one for the ages.

    Any chance we get the normal cool down during the night time hours that we usually get with a hot day?

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  23. Low temp last night on the peak of Gold Mt. in Kitsap County: 71 @ 5:10 am

    I was thinking about the Seafair activities on the lake this weekend. Yikes! As hot as it will be, I'm sure there will be numerous health problems and injuries. The paramedics will be working overtime, I'm sure. Fast boats, plenty of beer, air mattresses, skimpy swimming attire, and long boring stretches between heats. A great combination for record-breaking sunburns!

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  24. We are renting a house in Kirkland after moving up here from Concord, CA last year to get away from heat waves. Gee, THAT worked. But even last summer it was warm enough that we decided to pay out of pocket for putting ceiling fans into our house. THANK GOD. Ceiling fans (and other electric fans) + lots of icy cool liquids = THE way to beat the heat without breaking the power grid.

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  25. FWW, the CPC 6-10 and 8-14 Day Outlooks (http://www.cpc.noaa.gov/)actually appear to have some precipitation coming into the Pacific NW (don't know if it's "just" convective or not) . . . and temps eventually coming down to near average levels.

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  26. You folks are evil! I certainly understand the allure of the record-breaker, but tomorrow while you all are sitting back in the shade, sipping a cool beverage and dipping your toes in the kiddie pool, remember poor schlubs like me as I gear up for dinner in my very tight, very warm kitchen. Temps on the line are commonly 10-15 F. warmer than the outside temps.
    (ilovemyjob, ilovemyjob, ilovemyjob,...)
    Andy Wappler, you're a meteorologist, you should be ashamed of yourself rooting for this record!

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  27. Where's our cool, heat-wave breaking ocean air!? I thought it was our birthright.

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  28. dawsonct, meteorologists like Andy and myself like breaking records - that's one of the main reasons we get into the field. Believe me, I hate the heat - just ask anyone here! And I have no air conditioning, so I surely can't enjoy it. But our point is that as long as it's going to be close to 100, it might as well be 101 instead of 99 so we can say we lived through the record-breaking heat...

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  29. Cliff,
    An interesting phenomenon is the temperature variation in the Kingston - Edmonds ferry run. The temps are about 10 degrees cooler on the east side of the sound? I would have expected the reverse. Any reason why this is so?

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  30. Same observation with the Bainbridge- Seattle run..

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  31. Hey "Weather is my Life""How ya doing? You surviving. :)

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  32. All this humidity is making it cloudy in Eastern Washington and keeping the heat down. Only 92 in Ellensburg, 99 in Enumclaw. Weird! Also a tornado warning by Spokane? Wow....stay cool everybody.

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  33. Today's drive home from work...
    Bothell - 92 degrees
    Kirkland - 97 degrees
    Bellevue - 102 degrees (near I-405/Factoria Blvd and Coal Creek Parkway)
    Renton Highlands - 100 degrees

    According to Issaquah's website (thankfully provided by evilzenscientist yesterday), it was 102 there as well.

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  34. Cliff,

    I've been enjoying the probcast page, that was new to me. However, it's missing one big piece imho, and that is the actual temperature recorded at each location.

    Without that, I've got to hunt down the official recorded temp and compare it to the probcast. It would be nice to see that info along side the predictions.

    I'm sure you are comparing the forecast to actuals to determine the accuracy of the predications.

    Would it be a lot of work to add it to the page?

    Btw, I am loving this heat, although I know others aren't. Kids are having a blast in the blow up pool.

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  35. I will definitely affirm the east-coast summer feeling. Except for the whole we had a/c there and evening thunderstorms that would bring a little relief. That's probably because the humidity still isn't very high.
    Still - blargh.

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  36. Might we talk about thermals? - max thermal updraft velocity and the effect on such by humidity
    I am a paraglider pilot

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  37. 69 the projected low at Timberline Lodge on Mt Hood, high of 91 tomorrow.

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  38. Good to hear you get some heat your side of the Pacific & it is not all over here in our Queensland Summers.

    I used to drape a wet cotton cloth over my hat & shoulders whilst picking grapes in the Summer Heat. No air conditioners out in the fields.

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  39. Heh, heh, WIML, IF we live through it!

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  40. I'll have a bucket of ice water with a couple towels in my reach-in cooler and my camelback in case it's too busy to reach for a drink (it happens).
    Cool appetizer; ceviche? Panzanella?
    Chilled melon soup w/fresh berries for dessert. I am not baking a cake, tart, or anything. You'll need to wait until next week.

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  41. Thanks for introducing me to probcast. Really interesting info, but there seems to be a glitch in the data for Port Townsend (98368). The Probcast target for Tuesday was 71 F if I remember correctly, while the central Sound was well into the 90's. In fact, our high today was 93. Tomorrow's Probcast high is 72 F - just about where we are now at 11:00pm. I know why it is cooler here, but the discrepancy is huge!

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  42. My top-of-the-line Oregon Scientific weather station recorded a high of 100.2F today. Warm enough no matter how you slice it... and it's still 90 in my office right now.

    The official School Net station 0.8 miles away from us recorded 99.4 as their high.

    My giant Redmond-based employer is advising folks on campus that our buildings are maxed for air conditioning capacity and that offices may be well above normal in temperature tomorrow as cooling is diverted to labs in our buildings. Nice... but even 75 is a mercy on days like these.

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  43. Unbelievable. It's only going to return to "normal" in about 7-10 days. This is already unbearable!

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  44. Oddly, I found the first days above 80F to be unbearable but I have acclimated and am feeling quite comfortable. AC in the car and a fan at my desk help but I don't live at my desk. Water in the pool is above 80 so was in after dark with a friend and a Mojito! It is still just pushing 90 Max here in Bellingham. Sleeping happily under covers at night.

    We shall see how I like 100F in Seattle tomorrow with no AC. During the 1981 heat wave I was supervising at a Restaurant on Mercer Island. I hated it! The cooks were sweating heavily, the customers were disgusted that there was no relief inside. I sent everyone home for sanitary concerns and was nearly fired but management needed me to train new employees. It was only 99F.

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  45. I just want to say, Cliff, that I appreciate your weather geekery, especially during #seascorcher

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  46. IDK how people can keep denying global warming trends. Duh. We 're all cranking our heat and ac all hear long just to keep up with the changes. Ahh how easily people forget.

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  47. Some time ago I must have ''subscribed to this blog''
    Actually I had to look on Google to see where Seattle is situated. Do you have mountains or hills to your East & between Seattle & the Ocean. Industry in such a pocket would add to extreme weather.

    I live in Central Qld & notice Brisbane, our Capital City, has got hotter in past 40 years due to increased heavy industry & expansion of City. Progress, what can you really do. We export Coal & burn Coal for Electricity, more Export more power needed..

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