With Severe Weather Outbreak Aardvark ravaging the eastern United States for much of last week, unusual weather on the west coast was somewhat overlooked.
Elsewhere, a mudslide in Afghanistan has claimed thousands of lives. And there’s a big event coming up in Brazil. Will the weather cooperate?
Extreme Heat On The West Coast
Because Aardvark dominated the weather news last week, the amazingly warm weather on the Pacific coast was little noticed by the media. As we mentioned last week in this column, a Santa Ana (hot east wind) was setting up for California.
The warm weather system expanded and covered the whole coast up to Oregon on Wednesday; temperature records were broken — many by double-digit amounts. Some samples:
- Medford, OR: new record 92; old record 86 set in 2004.
- North Bend, OR: new record 91; old record 72 set in 1931. Beat an 83-year-old record by 19 degrees!
- Newport, OR: new record 86; old record 81 set in 1900. This also breaks the all-time record high temperature for April, set on 4/29/1900.
- King City, CA: new record 97; old record 96 set in 1996.
- Los Angeles, CA: new record 89; old record 86 set in 1996.
- San Diego, CA: new record 94; old record 86 set in 1996.
The heat went on and spread to include Washington state on Thursday, May 1, with high temperature records set in Seattle, San Francisco, and Los Angeles. San Diego set a new record, 95, for the date, beating the old mark by fourteen degrees, and making a new high for the month of May.
The stagnant weather pattern began to show movement on Friday, and by Sunday the record-breaking heat had moved east to Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas. The warm air spilling over the Rockies replaced the cold air that had come in behind Aardvark and set low temperature records just two days earlier.
The heat now covers the southern plains and southeast. Temperature records will fall again today, with readings breaking the century mark in some parts of Texas, Oklahoma, and Kansas. The heat will move east through the week, perhaps tempered somewhat by increasing cloudiness due to the approach of the next cold front.
Disaster in Afghanistan: Mudslide Kills Thousands
As if Afghanistan didn’t have enough to worry about without a natural disaster, the village of Aab Barik, near the border of Tajikistan, was buried under tens of feet of mud Friday after weeks of rain saturated the ground and a hillside collapsed. The death toll is estimated in the thousands; the exact number may never be known because the mud is so thick.
Afghanistan is a dry country, but the mountainous northeast receives thunderstorms in April. Seasonal instability kicks in as the sun heats the lower atmosphere while the jet stream is still cold. In the mountains, the air is forced upwards and precipitation can begin if the air has sufficient moisture. This spring featured an unusual influx of humid air from the distant Indian Ocean, and rain had already caused mudslides that claimed over a hundred lives.
The forecast for the region calls for decreased thunderstorm activity as the higher levels of the atmosphere warm and the flow from the ocean subsides.
World Cup 2014
This summer’s World Cup Soccer Tournament will be played in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, from mid-June to mid-July. High temperatures average in the 70s and lows in the 60s with about two inches of rain during this period. It is too early to make a detailed forecast for the tournament; we’ll just go with the averages for now. However, we will predict the winner of the tournament: Brazil, of course. The Brazilians are too good to lose with home field advantage.
Aardvark Is Deceased; Who’s The Next Of Kin?
Aardvark petered out over the Atlantic Ocean on Saturday, and the name has officially been retired by Decoded Science. The next severe weather outbreak worthy of a name will be Beaver. A pronounced trough of low pressure is now entering the Pacific coast and is forecast to remain strong as it crosses the Rockies. There are faint signs of buck teeth and a flattened tail. Warm Gulf air is streaming northward in advance of the trough, and the stage will be set for another round of violent weather, possibly on Wednesday; more likely on Thursday and Friday.
Decoding Science. One article at a time.