Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Deluge, Heat, and Fire -OR- The Local Monsoon & Overheated Planet Earth Files, Late July 2018

Blurry picture of a deluge in the 2300 block Q Street NW, Washington, D.C., 2:28 p.m. July 22, 2018.


This is an update on this month's monsoon-like rainfall around the region and some other extreme weather-related news.

Sterling (LWX) NWS radaring standard base mode reflectivity looped 5:35 p.m. - 6:15 p.m. July 24, 2018.


KBWI has already achieved its wettest July on record (with a full week to go) and second wettest month ever for the full climate period back to Jan. 1871 (and thus includes the pre-airport period). This was made possible courtesy waves of heavy rainfall on Tuesday that focused along the Chesapeake Bay, moving due north toward Baltimore (although there is a big difference between KBWI and KIAD).

I should also point that out KBWI is also quickly closing in on its annual average of precipitation.

NECONUS composite radar mosaic looped 2028 - 2138 UTC July 24, 2018.


Below the totals for the past several days and updated month-, season-, and year-to-date numbers compared to the 1981 - 2010 base period.

R: Daily record
RR: Monthly daily record
Season-to-date: Refers to climatological summer which begins June 1st (rather than astronomical or seasonal summer).
*KDMH record period only goes back to May 1998.

July 1 - 16: 0.00"
July 17: 2.79"
July 18 - 20: 0.00"
July 21: 4.00" (R)
July 22: 1.35"
July 23: 0.06"
July 24: 0.32"

Month-to-date: 8.52" +5.60" (2.92")
Season-to-date: 13.73" +7.03" (6.70")
Year-to-date: 33.70" +11.04: (22.66")

For the year-to-date, KDCA was in the 99th percentile as of July 22nd with only 2003 recording more precipitation at this point in the year. As for 2004, that year ended up with 60.83" of precipitation or 0.50" shy of the all-time wettest year total of 61.33" set in 1889, a pre-airport record.

The only other 60+ inch precipitation year was 60.09" set even farther back in the historical record in 1878. (Truth to tell, I don't really trust NWS extreme records of any sort -- rainfall, snow, temperature, etc. -- prior to World War II.)

KDCA precipitation histogram for 2018 and other years including wettest (2003) and driest (1986) as well as mean through July 22, 2018; tweet by Greg Carbin.


July 1 - 15: 0.05"
July 16: 0.86"
July 17: 3.35"
July 18 - 20: 0.00"
July 21: 4.79" (R)
July 22: 0.50"
July 23: 1.42"
July 24: 4.07" (R)

Month-to-date: 15.04" +11.91" (3.13")
Season-to-date: 19.81" +13.22" (6.59")
Year-to-date: 39.73" +16.11 (23.62")

Note 1: Previous wettest full month of July was 11.03" set in 1889 (pre-airport record). All-time wettest month in Baltimore is 18.35" set in August 1955 (an airport period record). This is probably not in jeopardy, although another firehose of precipitation like yesterday (Tuesday) would do it.

Note 2: KBWI is just under 2 inches from its full calendar year annual precipitation normal of 41.88 inches.


July 1 - 16: 0.88" including 0.85" on 7/3 and 0.03" on 7/16
July 17: 1.11"
July 18 - 20: 0.00"
July 21: 5.02" (RR)
July 22: 0.08"
July 23: 0.47"
July 24: 0.77"

Month-to-date: 8.33" +5.51" (2.82")
Season-to-date: 12.50" +5.70" (6.80")
Year-to-date: 33.15" +9.53" (23.62")

The wettest July ever for KIAD was set just last year in 2017 with 8.80" of precipitation (rainfall).

Keep in mind that KIAD's record period only goes back to April 1960 and even then the record is spotty -- with 1961 missing entirely -- and not complete until beginning in Jan. 1964.

As for KIAD's wettest month ever, that is an extreme outlier of 18.19" in June 1972 thanks to Hurricane Agnes.

(Interestingly, KDCA's June 1972 total is "only" 11.53" -- no where near its wettest month ever, which was 17.45" set in Sept. 1934 (the pre-airport record.) As for KBWI, its June 1972 precipitation (rainfall) total was even lower at 9.95 inches.)


July 1 - 15: 0.19"
July 16: 0.55"
July 17: 0.35"
July 18 - 20: 0.00"
July 21: 2.77"
July 22: 0.96"
July 23: 0.81"
July 24: 1.77"

*Month-to-date: 7.40" +3.77" (3.63")
*Season-to-date: 10.60" +3.70" (6.90")
*Year-to-date: 32.99" +10.00" (22.99")


Just for comparison, here are the numbers from Charlottesville, Va. (KCHO):

Month-to-date: 2.27" -1.06" (3.33")
Season-to-date: 9.95" +2.89" (7.06")
Year-to-date: 31.04" +7.51" (22.53")

Note that for year to date, KCHO isn't that far off of the three of the other four stations but month-to-date is far under.

Radar-estimated 7-day rainfall total ending 10:30 a.m. July 23, 2018, extended Baltimore / Washington area.


The anomalous pattern remains blocked with an upper level trough over the Appalachians and huge ridge over the desert Southwest and a Bermuda high over the Atlantic and allowing a deep plume of tropical moisture sluicing northward, although the immediate D.C. area has been in a relative dry slot for the past two days.

Satellite pic from the past day or two modified by the CWG showing the path of the tropical plume.


This followed the out-of-season coastal storm on Saturday that dumped 4 to 7 inches of rainfall areawide and a burst of torrential rainfall on Sunday here in D.C. About that storm -- a sort of hybrid tropical / extratropical low that probably should have gotten a "Subtropical" designation (with name) by NHC, below are three images (with their captions) from this CWG entry (link embedded): Here's how Saturday's storm unleashed a historic July deluge in Washington.

Depiction of upper-level airflow, position of surface low (red L) and zone of rising air (red oval) on Saturday evening. (Modified from NOAA)


Depiction of low-level airflow feeding into the storm (purple arrows), position of surface low (red L) and the intense rain band on Saturday evening.
(Modified from NOAA)


Depiction of precipitable water (contours and green-shaded regions) mapped to radar, and also the surface low (red L) and its track, on Saturday evening.
(Modified from NOAA)


Looking ahead, even though flash flood watches and some residual flood warnings and flash flood warnings remain in effect across the region, it appears that the bulk of the heavy rainfall is over, or at least that the pattern is starting to break down / migrate eastward. KDCA might not get much more rainfall in the next day or two.

Sterling (LWX) county warning area (CWA) weather advisories updated 3:12 a.m. EDT July 25, 2018.


A frontal passage is forecast to occur by Sunday. There is a chance that the tropical plume pattern might reestablish itself next week, but that is still days away and that forecast could easily change.

Downpour Capitol Hill, Washington, D.C., July 22, 2018; photo by Fritz Myer and reposted in this CWG entry.

The Flickr page indicates that this image was taken July 21st -- except it didn't rain that day, so I think it was actually taken July 22nd.


GFS 0Z 25 July 2018 showing 300-mb heights, isotachs, and wind barbs over North America, 08Z 25 July 2018.

Note the sprawling high over the Southwestern U.S. and the dep fetch of tropical moisture along the East Coast.


The ridge now over the desert Southwest appears to have retrograded over the past several days (see above map).

Late last week and this past weekend, there was extreme /  record-breaking heat across Texas including 110F highs in the Dallas / Fort Worth area including 109F officially at KDFW on Sunday (July 22nd). It reached 109F at KDFW on Saturday (July 21st) and 108F on both July 19th and 20th. All four of these were daily record highs. As for Love Field (KDAL), it reached 110F three days in a row -- 19th, 20th, 21st -- and 112F on the 22nd.

(To be clear, I couldn't find daily climate info with record highs for KDAL, so I don't know where that 112F ranks but it is certainly among the hottest days ever there.)


Greek Wildfire Horror …

Wildfires burning above Kalamos, Greece, July 24, 2018.


There was also the horror that happened in Greece with wild fires that have killed at least 76 people so far including 26 men, children, and women trapped on a cliffside at a resort in Mati, as reported in this New York Times article: As Greek Wildfire Closed In, a Desperate Dash Ended in Death.

A firefighter and a raging fire in Kineta, near Athens, Greece, July 23, 2018.


The images in this entry are taken from both articles. It's quite a horrific situation.

Wildfires burning in coastal Greece, July 23, 2018.


Here is the CWG entry on the fires: Deadly wildfires erupted in Greece overnight. Here's how it happened. The article notes that this summer has been among the hottest -- possibly the hottest -- so far in that part of the Mediterranean.

People seeking safety in the water from a perilously close wildfire, Mati, Greece, July 23, 2018.


Two men survey the destruction of their car following wildfires in Mati, Greece, July 24, 2018.


Other areas of Planet Earth experiencing record heat include in Japan -- where a new national record high of 106F was just set -- and Scandinavia -- with 90F highs up to the Arctic Circle and wildfires.

Aerial view of the wildfire destruction in Mati, Greece, July 24, 2018.


More generally, record heat has been a persistent theme this month and summer with an anomalously highly blocked pattern in our globally warming world.

Welcome to the future.

Burnt cards in Mati, Greece, July 24, 2018.


As a brief update …

Downpour starts, 17th St and New Hampshire Ave NW, Washington, D.C., 2:09 p.m. July 22, 2018.


On Sunday, I walked -- in a Biblical deluge (see lead entry) over to Georgetown to meet Jake at Martin's Tavern. I had on galoshes but after a while, even that didn't matter. I was -- to quote my dear friend, Wendy, who related a story to me about getting caught in a deluge on a first day at a job -- "inappropriately wet."

A very blurry picture of cataracts of rainwater flowing down the "Spanish Steps" of Decatur Place NW, Washington, D.C., 2:22 p.m. July 22, 2018.

That was as good a pic as I could get -- I didn't want my little phone to be drowned.


And you never dry off in that situation. What's more, water was literally sloshing around in my galoshes. After a very nice lunch at the bar with Jake at Martin's followed by a stint downstairs at Sovereign and a brief solo detour to the outdoor bar at Sequoia at the Washington Harbour (where the flood walls were raised), I took a cab home. There was no way I could walk.

Later, I went to Trade and No. 9 for a bit. So, all in all, a typical Sunday.

As for this week, I went to the gym the past two nights (Monday and Tuesday / tonight). For tomorrow, I plan to meet Fred -- perhaps going to Grady's on 14th Street near my apartment. I kind of like that place.

Evening sky as seen along 15th Street near Q Street NW, 8:24 p.m. July 22, 2018.


As a blogging note …

Blogging is going to be somewhat truncated for the remainder of the work week.

I have to complete two reports (which I should have had done quite some time ago). For this upcoming weekend, I'm visiting my mom in Glen Burnie.

OK, that's a wrap.

I might be able to post an update tomorrow (Wednesday) night, but odds are, it won't be until Friday night.


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