Welcome to the inaugural post of Weather and Climate News! There’s much going on this week, but the most significant has been the intense heat over the center of the country as very strong high pressure system has entrenched itself over the region. This, in combination with dew points of 70-80 degrees, was allowed for heat indices of 105-115 degrees F to steam much of Plains, Midwest and Deep South. This, while periodic areas of thunderstorms, some severe, form around the periphery of the clockwise high pressure system. Heat advisories and excessive heat warnings are in effect today as a result of the potential health hazards of the heat. Be safe and drink lots of water! Particularly in areas with heat or heat indices in the triple digits when you may be outdoors for long periods.
The intense heat will relax a bit over the Central Plains this weekend as a result of a “cold” (more like cool?) front with temperatures closer to seasonal norms.
The Central and Eastern Pacific is quite active with the tropical cyclone activity! Eastern Pacific activity can of course impact Mexico, but (more typically later in the season) enhance the Southeast US monsoon with either additional atmospheric moisture for afternoon thunderstorms or (rarely) move ashore Mexico or into the United States as an organized tropical depression or weak tropical storm. Today, however, neither country has any issues from any of these systems today. Three to be exact, with a four likely imminent. All of these cyclones…Tropical Storm Fernanda (born in the East, but now in the Central Pacific west of 140W longitude), Tropical Storm Greg, and Tropical Depression Nine-E are all moving away from major land masses and populated areas.
The Eastern Pacific Basin (defined as 140W east to the continents and north of the equator) is running ahead of schedule in terms named storms to date (7), hurricanes (3) and major hurricanes…defined as Category 3 or higher strength (2). Fernanda was at one point the most intense hurricane of the season in the Eastern Pacific with maximum winds of 145 mph on July 14-15.
It’s now a shell of its former self and while it’s heading in the general direction of the State of Hawaii, it should continue to weaken dramatically as it encounters drier mid-level air and cooler waters. High surf and hazardous rip currents are the biggest threats to anyone doing recreational activity around the Big Island the next couple of days as the dying system moves to the north.