August 2nd, 2006 16:50 EST
Caution: Deadly Heat Wave Reaches East Coast
NOAA meteorologists blame an unusually strong ridge of high pressure that has been persistent for the last several weeks across much of the central and eastern U.S. for the cause of the heat. More than 50 new all-time high temperature records were established in the central and western U.S. during the last two weeks. The persistence of the unusually hot temperatures has made the past month one of the warmest since records began in 1895 for the contiguous U.S. NOAA will not know for another two days if the record warm national record set in July 1936 will be eclipsed. (Click NOAA illustration for larger view. Click here for high resolution version. Please credit “NOAA.”)
An intense and long lasting heat wave began on July 15th in the northern Plains and Upper Midwest, breaking records that had stood since the Dust Bowl years of the mid-1930s in some locations. The heat spread across the Plains by the 19th and moved into the West by the 21st before returning to the northern Plains by the 28th.
The national forecast from the NOAA Hydrometeorological Prediction Center calls for very hot temperatures to persist Wednesday through Thursday across much of the East with near record heat in parts of the mid-Atlantic and Northeast before temperatures return to near seasonable on Friday. (Click NOAA image for larger view of USA temperature forecast for Aug. 1, 2006. Click here for latest forecasts. Please credit “NOAA.”)
Meanwhile, the Plains and Midwest are expected to get a brief respite over the next couple of days. However, hot temperatures will return over the weekend and into early next week. The weather is expected to stay seasonably warm in much of the West.
For the month of August, the NOAA Climate Prediction Center predicts above normal temperatures for California, most of the Southern, Central and Southeastern parts of the U.S., especially over the northern Great Plains and upper Mississippi Valley.
Below median precipitation is predicted over the southern and central states. Above-median precipitation is predicted for the Southwest monsoon region and the Northwest, while equal chances were indicated for the remainder of the United States.
Below-normal temperatures are expected in the Hawaiian Islands during August. Hawaiian precipitation is given equal chances of being above, below or near-median values.
In Alaska, temperatures are expected to average below normal in the northwest and above normal in the southwest. Precipitation odds are equal for above, below or near-median.
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Relevant Web Sites
NOAA Hydrometeorological Prediction Center
NOAA Climate Prediction Center
NOAA National Weather Service
NOAA Weather Safety Information
John Leslie, NOAA Satellite and Information Service, (301) 817-4410, for climate statistics; Carmeyia Gillis, NOAA Climate Prediction Center, (301) 763-8000 ext. 7163, for national forecast