Friday, August 3, 2007

Hazy, Lazy Daze of August


Sunny, hot, widely scattered showers. Once again today, temperatures were in the low 90s shortly after lunch time in most of the Washington metro area. A slight increase in humidity has helped widely scattered thunderstorms to develop, mainly southwest of the Beltway and in the immediate Baltimore metro area. At 4pm, Dulles and Manassas were reporting thunder and temperatures down into the 80s.

Hot temperatures and seasonable humidity are likely to continue through next week after a partial respite on Sunday.

Tonight and Tomorrow

Hot, humid, scattered thunderstorms. The chance of scattered thunderstorms will continue through this evening with overnight lows from the mid 70s downtown to some upper 60s in the 'burbs. Tomorrow will be a couple of degrees warmer than today with highs 94-98° and a 20% chance of scattered thunderstorms.

For the outlook through the rest of the weekend, scroll on down to Camden's post below.

Tropical Topics

The tropical wave over the western Caribbean and the low pressure area over the northeastern Gulf of Mexico are still disorganized, although gradual development is still possible for each of them.

Dr. William Gray's Colorado State Tropical Meteorology Project has issued a revised forecast for the remainder of the hurricane season; the Miami Herald has a review, "University team trims hurricane forecast". The new total season predictions vs. the May 31 forecast are (50-year average in parentheses):
  • Named storms: 15 vs. 17 (9.6)
  • Hurricanes: 8 vs. 9 (5.9)
  • Intense hurricanes: 4 vs. 5 (2.3)
  • Net tropical cyclone activity: 160 vs. 185 (100)
The probabilities of at least one major (Category 3+) hurricane landfall are (100-year average in parentheses):
  • Entire U.S. coastline: 68% (52%)
  • East Coast including Florida peninsula: 43% (31%)
  • Gulf Coast from Florida panhandle westward: 44% (30%)
The forecast has been lowered from earlier levels because of:
  • Cooler sea surface temperatures in the tropical Atlantic
  • Significant dust outbreaks from Africa
  • Expected cool neutral or weak La Niña conditions in the Pacific

No presentation by Dr. Gray would be complete without an attack on global warming, and the latest forecast is no exception. It contains about 2½ pages of arguments against the "many media references to recent papers claiming to show such a linkage" between global warming and hurricane activity. Despite the peer-reviewed publications by Kerry Emanuel and others to the contrary, Gray, whose techniques are purely statistical, nevertheless asserts, "We have no plausible physical reasons for believing that Atlantic hurricane frequency or intensity will change significantly if global ocean temperatures continue to rise."

Drought Deepens

The MarylandWeather blog reports that half the state is now in the "severe" drought category.

The global warming references are overstated, but the Montgomery Gazette this week reports on the effects of the drought on Potomac River kayaking. The MoCo Council is considering reinstating an emergency assistance program for the county's farmers.

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Seasonal Outlook

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Latest 3-month temperature outlook from Climate Prediction Center/NWS/NOAA.