What Do Dallas and Fairbanks Have in Common?

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Well, this summer they are both cooler than Kansas City!

As of Monday, we’ve had 14 100 degree days. So I quickly compiled a comparison of a few other cities around the country to see where we stand.  Here are the numbers so far:

Number of 100º Days                           City

64                                                      Phoenix

21                                                      Wichita

14                                                      St. Louis

14                                                  Kansas City

13                                                          Denver

11                                               Oklahoma City

10                                                             Dallas

6                                                             Omaha

The southern plains have been hot…but also a little more humid, which has prevented the from hitting 100º as frequently.  Meanwhile, western Kansas and Western Nebraska have been terribly hot.  Valentine, Nebraska hit 109º today.  For whatever reason, there has been just enough consistent southerly component to our wind flow here to keep our top temperature at 107º, and it appears that may be as warm as we’re going to get this summer.

And while our focus has been on the heat wave here, Alaska has had a particularly chilly summer so far! Check out this story from the Alaska Dispatch, describing a less than toasty summer up there!

Our next chance for rain is on Thursday.  That has been in our forecast since last Wednesday, and still appears to be our best shot at obtaining at least spotty storms. As of today, we are still tied for the driest July on record with 2003, with a total of .12″ of rain this month.

After that passes by…it’s right back into the frying pan. And at this juncture, there is till no solid sign of relief from this hot pattern.  Take a look at the latest European map of he northern hemisphere verifying for 7 pm. August 1st.

This chart shows more of the same, with a strong ridge of high pressure parked over the plains, and weak waves moving across the north Pacific, diving into the northwester United States with just enough strength to lock the heat into place over the plains. This pattern is likely to persist until at least mid-August. I know that’s not what you want to hear…but it appears that’s what we’re up against.

The ocean water temperature pattern also appears to keep this pattern locked into place.
The cool waters over the eastern Pacific are actually getting cooler since June:

June 25, 2012 Ocean temperature anomalies

Compare that to the latest image from late July

July 23, 2012 Ocean temperature anomalies

That cold water off the U.S. Pacific coast will promote high pressure out west, while the developing El Nino (warm waters off the western South American coast) will promote low pressure, and a moist flow over the southeastern United States.  The other interesting feature is the very warm waters over the North Atlantic. If you compare the July image to the June image you will notice a marked warming in that area.  If that persists into the coming winter…watch out…we’ll be very cold!  Then, we might look back on this heat with great fondness!

If it weren’t for the lack of rain, the heat would be a bit more bearable. But the patterns I displayed, all point to a continuation of this pattern deep into August, and more serious drought situations spreading over more and more of the nation’s midsection.

Tomorrow should be about as hot as today.  I am predicting 104º to 106º through mid-week. And Thursday should be in the upper 90s even with a chance for rain….er uh…steam.

The longer this goes, the more we’ll pay for it.  Take beef prices for example. Beef prices may initially drop as ranchers decide it’s cheaper to sell the cattle for slaughter than pay for the increasing price of hay and feed. There’s no grass to graze…so the ranchers are forced to spend money for feed, that they normally would not have to at this point in the year. So they sell off the cattle and the market is suddenly flooded. But after a short period…that flood of beef dries up…and a shortage will develop at some point, and then prices will shoot through the roof.   Multiply that by the other commodity prices that will rise…and the economy will get even tighter later this fall.

On that happy note!  have a wonderful Tuesday!

Mike~

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