Sunday, July 8, 2012

The D.C. Summer from Hell -OR- Endless Heat, Endless Annoyance

Mike and Eileen Hutson of Trenton, S.C., suffer through the blazing 100F heat on Friday by the U.S. Capitol Building on their visit to the Nation's Capital. This was the lead front page image in the 7/7/2012 print edition of The Washington Post (accompanying the article that I have linked below).

On a side note, for those of us who actually live in D.C., we like our large Red state  American tourists  to wear short, flip flops, and t-shirts emblazoned with stars and stripes, rockets, and eagles and sayings like, "These colors don't run" as they move slowly around the Lincoln Memorial or through the National Air and Space Museum. In the case of the Hutsons, it's just their handkerchiefs that have flag designs.

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I started this entry yesterday to note that it reached 105F at Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA), the "official" weather / climate station* (see note below) for Washington, D.C., but as usual the entry grew too frickin' long and unwieldy and I had to put it aside (if only to go out last night). Baltimore (BWI) hit 104F, a daily record.

This marked a three-way tie for the second hottest ever in Washington, D.C., with Aug. 17, 1997 (which I remember) and July 10, 1936 (a pre-airport record).

A scene at the overheated U Street / Cardozo Metro station yesterday, July 7, 2012. This is the station through which I pass every morning and some evenings to and from work. This is a quintessentially D.C. scene.

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We WOULD HAVE tied the all-time Washington, D.C., heat record of 106F -- set Aug. 6, 1918 and July 20, 1930, both pre-airport records -- but the 106F recorded at the DCA station (KDCA) yesterday held for only 1 minute instead of the required 3 minutes.

Above is a screen capture of the Tweet. Here is the Tweet (not sure how long this link will remain active).

This was noted in today's Washington Post print edition news article on the heat that is available online here.

A little boy enjoys the fountain in downtown Silver Spring, Md., during the current heat wave. This picture was taken at some point in the past several days.

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This probably will be used in our mind-numbingly stupid political dialogue as "proof" that there is no global warming by the usual corporate whores on this-or-that foundation-funded payroll, and transmitting by the disinformation machines of Fox News and hate radio to the Teabaggers, loopy libertarians, and fearful fundamentalists who make up far too much of the electorate.

Anyway, 105F is what got reported.

KDCA obs for July 7, 2012 showing 105F reached

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I am writing it Sunday afternoon. It already has reached 101F, surpassing the previous daily record of 100F set in 1993. BUT! There are thunderstorms beginning to form in the mountains. After days of it, the flippin' cap may finally be broken. And thunderstorms are in the forecast for the next several days. We don't need explosive t-storm violence -- just rain.

A screen capture image of the Sterling LWX NWS main page showing the county warning area (CWA) advisories as of 12:48PM EDT, July 8, 2012.

Unlike yesterday, there is no excessive heat warning in effect, just a heat advisory, yet the dew point is 71F, so the heat index is 108F, nearing threshold criteria.

Image of the LWX CWA advisories as of 12:08PM EDT, July 7, 2012.

Today's 100+ F reading is a record-setting 11th day of 95F or higher high temperatures (I believe the old record for that was 8 days). It also marks the 4th day of 100F or higher -- which at least ties a stretch back in 1930. (I'm unsure if that was a 3 or 4 day stretch.) In addition, July 7th saw a new daily record high low temp. at KDCA of 82F and the overall average temperature of 94F was the highest for ANY day ever.

(This info is from the Capital Weather Gang site that I have been following the past few days.)

Here is a map showing NWS weather advisories across the U.S. as of 1746UTC (1:46PM EDT), July 7, 2012. Of note, this is the new NWS format.

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As noted,  the GOOD NEWS is that unlike every previous day lately since June 30th, there is a chance of desperately needed rainfall, although in the form of severe thunderstorms as a frontal boundary sags into the area FINALLY breaking a  goddamn "cap" that has been in place for days. I guess the Sue Palka - cabra she-dragon won't like that one bit.

Here is the LWX radar in enhanced base mode reflectivity at 2:15PM EDT, July 8, 2012. Thunderstorms are just starting to form in the Potomac highlands.

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My poor little strained window a/c is barely keeping up with this flippin' heat and it is *almost* too warm in this apartment. I was all sweaty while sleeping even with the a/c and the fan. I hate that. 

Here is a picture of my little window air conditioner taken on June 21, 2012. Yes, those are my Sunshine Buddies next to it given to me by my late blogger buddy Bryan Haberstick.

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However, allow me to note that I went to the gym yesterday and had a fairly good workout, I think, including cardio totaling about 1 hour (treadmill and elliptical-type machine), modest machine-based weight lifting, and swimming in the pool. I really like the YMCA National Capital.

Here is the YMCA National Capital as seen on its website.

I'm going to try to go again today. I don't want to be a human dugong any longer.

Like this guy. Only not frolicking in a sunlit warm tropical sea but in flippin' Washington, D.C.

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OK, what follows is a highly pared down and revised version of what I wrote yesterday ...


Today it reached 105F at Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA), specifically, at the KDCA automated surface observing system (ASOS) station, which is the official climate station* for Washington, D.C.

*I use the term "climate (recording) station" simply to note that this is where extended weather records are kept that form the basis of the climate record. On a daily basis, it is a weather (recording) station.

Aerial view of the KDCA ASOS

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Here I removed a lengthy discussion about the history of D.C. weather observations. Instead, I direct the interested reader to this article entitled Brief History of National Weather Service Offices Past and Present.

[Removed discussion of KBWI and KIAD records and climate station locations.)

I also note this because today's print edition of The Washington Post had this front page article -- complete with the lead image to this entry -- that opened with the lead of the July 21, 1930 article.

The actual news article from that day is here -- and notice that the high was 105.6F, so calling it 106F is a bit unfair if today's 105F is not going to include a tenths of a degree place. In this sense, we in fact reached the all-time high even if not officially recognized.

Here is a JPEG of the above-the-fold edition of The Washington Post for July 21, 1930. The article noting the all-time record heat is on the right. Click on image for larger version.

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Returning to the present, it is SUPPOSED to turn much cooler -- i.e., just returning to normal -- with HOPEFULLY a flippin' chance of rain starting with thunderstorms tomorrow (Sunday).

I know the Sue Palka - cabra she-dragon won't like that.

Here is a picture of the Palka-cabra she-dragon. In her ideal world, we live in endless sunshine and heat.

One of these days, I'll have to post an entry about what is my Sue Palka issue.

It is something that happened back in spring 1998. While I was overall in the wrong, I still pretty much despise what she did and how she did it.

I also think she's just a typically wacky, likely bad-tempered, and not particularly insightful local newscaster "celebrity" who embodies some of the (many) things wrong with unwatchable American local news.

In her case, and as sometimes happens, her likely blue collar family background also gives her something of a chip on her shoulder. In terms of weather, her knowledge is at best average. As with her local counterpart, Doug Hill, she comes at weather forecasting from an earlier PR type job that had nothing to do with meteorology or even science. She completely relies on Sterling for everything. But I guess that's better than relying on the Weather Channel or AccuWeather.

Sue Palka's dream climate.

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As it is, we really are entering into a serious drought with precipitation negative departures from normal in excess of 35 percent year-to-date.

The rainfall from last Friday's "derecho" / MCS was not that impressive -- 0.59" at DCA and 0.52" at BWI. Yes, it's better than nothing. Oh, yes, the LWX crew has a big write up about the June 29th "derecho" -- and never once uses the term mesoscale convective system (MCS). Instead, the term "derecho" is used about 400 times.

And with that I will end this entry. My next planned update will be on Tuesday or Wednesday, hopefully to say that there was a lot rainfall. But it won't shock me if that doesn't pan out.

--Regulus

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