Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Digging through the Heat

I’ve been doing some digging in the historical weather numbers and so has some of the National Weather Service offices across the Midwest.

Interesting Weather Tidbits:

  • Cape Girardeau has officially had 1.37” of rain for the month of June.  This is 1.75” below average for the month.  For the year, Cape Girardeau is 12.72” below normal.
  • In 2011, Cape Girardeau had 42.87" of rain from January 1 - June 30.  That is 31.37" more than 2012.
  • The last time Cape Girardeau had an above normal month (rainfall) was December 2011.
  • As of June 26, Cape Girardeau is 0.6° below average for the month of June.
  • The hottest temperature in 2011 was 103° (August).
  • The hottest temperature from 1960 to present is 105° (July 15, 1980, July 12, 1980, July 14, 1966, July 12, 1966, August 4, 1964).

CARBONDALE, IL (sewage plant):
  • The hottest temperature from 1898 to present is 113° (August 9, 1930).
  • The hottest temperature from 1904 to present is 114° (August 8, 1934).
  • The hottest temperature from 1893 to present is 112° (July 24, 1934).
  • Indianapolis has officially recorded 0.05” of rain for June.  As of June 27, only 5 out of the last 48 days  have had measurable rain.
  • Indianapolis has set a new record for longest dry period in June.  It is the longest since 1983.
  • June 2012 will go in the record books as the driest month in history in Indianapolis.
  • All time record high temperature for June in Indianapolis is 102°.  This record was established in 1954 and 1988.

  • The hottest temperature from 1963 to present is 107° (August 4, 1964).

  • Paducah, Kentucky has only recorded 0.90” officially for the month of June 2012.  This is 1.78” below normal for the month.  For the year, Paducah is 12.31” below normal.
  • The hottest temperature from 1937 to present is 108° (July 17, 1942).

  • Poplar Bluff has officially recorded 1.43” of rain in June.  For the year, Poplar Bluff is 9.08” below normal.
  • The hottest temperature from 1893 to present is 112° (August 9, 1930, July 23, 1901, July 22, 1901, July 12, 1901).

  • It has been 58 years since St. Louis has had three consecutive days of 100°+ temperatures. (1954)
  • All time record high temperature for month of June in St. Louis is 105°.  This record was established in 1936 and 1952.
  • Highest temperature ever recorded at St. Louis was 115° July 12, 1954 and July 14, 1954.

10 Consecutive Days

There are some amazing numbers coming from the overnight runs of the computer models.  Bottom line, it’s going to be HOT and DRY for the foreseeable future.

As I mentioned yesterday, rain isn’t going to happen anytime soon.  Even if we were to get a little bit of rain, it wouldn’t come close to putting a dent in to the drought.  But since I know a lot of you want to know whether or not we’ve got rain coming, let’s get this out of the way.

To start with I took a look at rainfall numbers from two computer models.  To be honest, NOAA’s global forecast model is so far out in left field lately, it has left the stadium.  This turns me to the European forecast agency’s computer model, which has been doing very well as of late.

These numbers may be troubling and aren’t for the week of heart of you are in need of rain.

Rainfall through July 3

  • Cape Girardeau:  0.00”
  • Indianapolis:  0.07”
  • Paducah:  0.00”
  • Poplar Bluff:  0.00”
  • St. Louis:  0.00”

More pressing is going to be the excessive heat.  Yesterday, I first mentioned on Twitter that the European computer model was suggesting we could see seven consecutive days of 100°+ temperatures in east/southeast Missouri.  Last night’s run has upped the ante.  It is now suggesting that we could see ten consecutive days of 100°+ temperatures beginning Thursday.  Yes, 10!  That would take us from Thursday, June 28 to Saturday, July 7 with daily high temperatures in the triple digits.

I have averaged what two computer models are suggesting for temperatures Thursday/Friday across select locations.

  • Cape Girardeau: 104°/109°
  • Indianapolis: 101°/97°
  • Paducah: 104°/109°
  • Poplar Bluff: 104°/107°
  • St. Louis: 105°/106°

The one saving grace to oppressive heat is that it appears temperatures will be able to drop quite a bit overnight.  Meaning, temperatures will be able to fall off to the 50°s, 60° and 70°s.  Often times, when we have extremely high temperatures, there is never a “cooling off” period overnight as temperatures will only drop to the upper 70°s and 80°s.

I mentioned this yesterday but it is worthwhile mentioning again.  Heat is the biggest weather killer.  Hundreds die from heat each year.  Unfortunately, there has already been someone killed from the heat.  Let’s try not to have any more people die from the heat.  If you have air conditioning, turn it on.  I know many people do not want to spend the money running their air conditioning but this really could be a matter of life or death.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Doing the Wave

There are fascinating numbers coming out from the computer models this morning.  I say "fascinating" from a meteorological standpoint.

If you are needing rain, don't expect much, if any at all, over the next seven days.  Here is a break down of seven-day rainfall averages taken from two computer models for various locations across the Midwest.
  • Cape Girardeau: 0.02"
  • Paducah: 0.00"
  • Poplar Bluff: 0.01"
  • St. Louis: 0.03"
As you can see, there isn't much coming.  A lot of people have been asking me "When is it going to rain?".  The bigger question is probably "When is it going to rain to enough to help with the soil conditions?".  I would like to say "There's a chance coming.", but I don't want to give people a false sense of hope at this point.  The realistic answer is "Not anytime soon."

At this point, I think it is time for people to stop concerning themselves with the lack of rain and start thinking about the upcoming temperatures.

Later this week we are going to be moving in to a significant heat wave for the next week.  Temperatures will likely pass the 100° mark for much of Missouri, Illinois, Indiana and Kentucky.  In the short term, it appears that Friday will be the hottest day for parts of the region.  (Computer models are indicating Thursday will be hotter for Indianapolis.)  Here is a breakdown of various locations and the 2-meter temperature average between two computer models.
  • Cape Girardeau: 108°
  • Indianapolis: 102° (Thursday)
  • Paducah: 108°
  • Poplar Bluff: 106°
  • St. Louis: 106°
Keep in mind, the above temperatures are straight from the computer models.  They are not the actual forecast for the specific locations.  The one thing that will slightly help is that the humidity shouldn't be "terribly bad".  Don't get me wrong, it WILL be humid and heat indices will likely approach 110°-112°.

A lot of people don't realize this, but heat is the #1 weather killer.  Heat waves have been known to kill hundreds a year across the planet.

The first day or two of high temperatures isn't usually a problem, it is the cumulative heat that can be most dangerous.  Meaning that the last several days of a heat wave that usually brings problems for people.  That being the case, be sure to check on family, friends, neighbors and loved ones, especially if they do not have air conditioning or if they do not like to run the AC.

The National Weather Service office in Paducah, KY has put together a good list of safety tips for battling the heat.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Outdoor Warning Sirens

I have been having an interesting discussion about outdoor warning sirens on Facebook and wanted to move it/include my blog readers.

What is sparking this conversation?  I have had a strong opinion about outdoor weather warning sirens for many years.  I feel they are dangerous to people in a community.  They give people a false sense of security and rely on them too much.

Tragically, a tornado hit the village of Diehlstadt in southeast Missouri Monday, June 4.  Three people were killed when their mobile home was overturned.  Because of the event, several people in Diehlstadt are working to have an outdoor warning siren installed.  KFVS/Heartland News reported on the story of a woman in Diehlstadt working to have a warning siren installed.

Since the tornado occurred in the KFVS viewing area, where I used to work, there has been a lot of good conversation going on my Facebook page.

Something many people don't know about outdoor weather warning sirens. Warning sirens are only designed to cover 1-square mile. A typical warning siren costs approximately $30,000 to install. That does not include annual maintenance fees, $2,500 (total) for 5 years.

Weather warning sirens are an antiquated technology dating back to the civil defense system of the 1940's.  The system was initially designed to warn of air raids during World War II.  They were then adapted to warn of nuclear attack and eventually used for warning of storms.

Lets look at a couple of examples...
  • The city of Cape Girardeau has approximately 24 square miles. That would take 24 warning sirens to cover the city. Keep in mind, that is to cover the city outdoor.s Sirens are not designed or meant to be heard if you are indoors. If you break down the number of people in Cape Girardeau (37,941 according to 2010 Census) that equates to 1,580 people per square mile. I would propose a city purchase weather radios for each household within that square mile. A Midland Weather radio would cost approx $26 wholesale (I imagine they could get a bulk rate discount and I know there are cheaper alternatives available). Electric companies say they figured 3-4 people per "customer". That means approximately 530 radios would need to be purchased per square mile. That would cost $13,780 (high end) and warn people indoors and in a much more timely manner. Plus, it would save the city $16,220 (54%).
  • In the case of Diehlstadt, according to the 2000 Census there were 61 households within the village. To provide every household with a weather radio would cost approximately $1,600. If you install an outdoor warning siren, it will cost approximately $30,000. Weather radios would provide savings of 94% to the village/county.
I contend that with weather radios, you can be notified several minutes ahead of warning sirens. The process of a warning siren being sounded is the NWS sends a warning. The warning is read by the dispatcher (if they aren't on the phone/radio). The warning is read over the radio. The dispatcher presses the button to sound the siren. That can take several minutes and the siren doesn't tell you why it is being sounded.

The information you get via weather radio, is the exact same information the tv station, radio station and dispatcher is getting and at the same time. Along with the alert, the radio also speaks the text of the warning so you know why it is going off.

I should probably add that I am not being compensated by Midland Radio or any other manufacturer of NOAA weather radios for the above comments.

What are your thoughts?  Join in the conversation by leaving comments to this post.