I'm pausing to pay my respects to an enlightened Muslim inventor named Ziryab, the first person to introduce underarm deodorant, back in the 9th century, in what is now northern Spain. According to Wikipedia a Philadelphia man, whose name has been lost to history, was the first entrepreneur to commercialize & patent this miracle product ("Mum"!) in the U.S. back in 1888.
Let us give thanks.
From a tender age we've all been told "It's not the heat, it's the humidity!" It's true. When there's this much water in the air (dew points at or above 70) your body can't cool itself naturally by evaporating sweat off your skin. You can overheat much more rapidly, especially infants, the sick & elderly, and people taking certain medications.
Recent research suggests it's not daytime highs, but consistently warm, 80-degree lows at night that cause the most mortality.
A Heat Advisory is posted into Thursday - it will feel like 100F for this evening's Torchlight Parade. Storms Thursday night mark the arrival of a cooler front in time for the weekend, but long range models show highs from 92-97F the by the middle of next week.
My advice? Slow down, avoid the midday sun, lose the tie, and check in on older friends & neighbors.
Stinking Hot For The Torchlight Parade. The parade kicks off on Hennepin Avenue in Minneapolis at 8:30 PM, well past the peak heat of the day, but expect evening temperatures around 90F, with a heat index of 94-97 into the late evening hours. The metro area can be slow to cool on a day like this, asphalt and concrete retaining the heat of the day (longer). Dress light out there and stay hydrated - water still works best. The graph above is from our Smart Energy unit; one of the most reliable models, the HRRR, shows a high of 95.2F in the metro, which seems realistic to me - nearly as hot again tomorrow before a nice cool-down Friday and Saturday.
Heat Advisory. The combination of 90-degree heat and dew points at or just above 70F will create a heat index near or just above 100F from Minnesota to Michigan and much of the Northeast today. Heat Advisories in orange from NOAA, an Excessive Heat Warning for the Philadelphia area.
Friday Heat Guidance. NOAA predicts a Friday heat index as high as 110-115F. for Richmond and Roanoke, 105-110 for Washington D.C., as hot as Phoenix, Las Vegas and Barstow. The worst of the heat begins to shift south of the MSP metro by Friday, but a vast sweep of the USA will experience 100+F heat indices the latter half of this week.
Two Pulses of Heat. Pulse number one arrived yesterday, and lingers into Thursday, highs in the low to mid 90s. After cooling down over the weekend the second surge of tropical heat and humidity arrives by Tuesday of next week, according to ECMWF (European) guidance.
Sweet (and temporary) Weekend Relief. Dew points hold near 70F today and tomorrow, dipping into the 50s by Saturday night and Sunday morning. That means by the weekend there will be roughly HALF as much water in the air. A rerun of the muggies returns early next week, so enjoy the well-timed break. Graphic: Iowa State.
Even Hotter Next Week? It's too early to say with anything approaching confidence, but the ECMWF model shows an even hotter bubble of air expanding northward across the Plains by Tuesday and Wednesday of next week. If this forecast verifies (582 to 586 thicknes) highs may approach 100F in the Twin Cities by Tuesday and Wednesday of next week, followed by a slight cooling trend late next week. Yes, it looks like we'll see a real summer after all. Map valid next Tuesday evening, July 23, courtesy of WSI.
Keeping Your Cool - Retrograding Weather Systems - Why High Dew Points Increase Heat Risk. That's a lot to jam into a 2:30 YouTube segment, but I'm going to give it a try. Here's more on today's installment of Climate Matters: "Just like we read left to right, most weather systems move left to right (West to East). Right now however, the weather pattern is out of whack, moving East to West, creating a monster tropical heatwave for a big chunk of the U.S. WeatherNation Chief Meteorologist Paul Douglas has more on the rare retrograde weather pattern and why it's important to take the heat seriously, but not lose your sense of humor."
Why Do We Sweat More In High Humidity? When there's a lot of water already in the air (days with a dew point above 70F) your body has a much tougher time cooling itself naturally, by evaporating sweat off your skin. You're more likely to overheat, with unpleasant and even dangerous implications. Here's an excerpt of a good explanation of what happens from MIT's School of Engineering: “When it’s humid, I’m drenched,” says Patricia Christie, a lecturer in MIT’s Experimental Studies Group who teaches The Chemistry of Sports. Some research studies do suggest that the human body sweats more as humidity increases, while others suggest that sweat eventually decreases. But what’s really sopping Christie is that the sweat’s just not evaporating as fast. Normally, the body cools itself by opening pores on the skin and releasing water and salts. As the water evaporates, it transfers the body’s heat to the air. Because water has a high latent heat, which is the heat required to change liquid water to vapor, this process usually carries away enough heat to do a good job of cooling the body.”It’s a fabulous system,” says Christie. But the rate at which water—or in this case, sweat—evaporates depends on how much water is already in the air. On dry days, sweat evaporates quickly, which means it also carries away heat faster. On humid days, when the air is already saturated with water, sweat evaporates more slowly..."
Why Do Mosquitoes Bite Some People More Than Others. Because, face it, some of us aren't very sweet, right? Wrong answer. If you're pregnant, have Type O blood, love to exercise, wear bright colors or just want to enjoy a beer in the great out of doors, you may be out of luck. Here's a clip from an article at Smithsonian.com that delves into this question: "You come in from a summer hike covered with itchy red mosquito bites, only to have your friends innocently proclaim that they don’t have any. Or you wake up from a night of camping to find your ankles and wrists aflame with bites, while your tentmates are unscathed. You’re not alone. An estimated 20 percent of people, it turns out, are especially delicious for mosquitoes, and get bit more often on a consistent basis. And while scientists don’t yet have a cure for the ailment, other than preventing bites with insect repellent (which, we’ve recently discovered, some mosquitoes can become immune to over time), they do have a number of ideas regarding why some of us are more prone to bites than others..."
Photo credit above: "Blood type, metabolism, exercise, shirt color and even drinking beer can make individuals especially delicious to mosquitoes." Photo by Flickr user Johan J. Ingles-Le Nobel.
More Tornadoes In Unlikely Places. Thanks to Kim Murray and the National Weather Service in Glasgow, Montana for sharing this - photo courtesy of WeatherNation TV.
Supercell. This is what Doppler radar tracks, rotating thunderstorms that produce the largest hail and most of the tornadoes, nationwide. Thanks to Kristin Jenson and WeatherNation TV for showing us the kind of cloud formation that should get us to the basement - quickly.
The Space Race Is On For Climate, Weather Privatization. Yes, let's put all of Earth's monitoring devices in private hands, because there's no question they will look out for all our interests right? Here's a clip from a story at Climate Central: "The latest version of the "Space Race" lacks the Cold War-era drama of the last one, and does not even involve daring feats of manned spaceflight. No, this one is a race to launch a network of increasingly tiny Earth-observing satellites that will change how weather and climate information is gathered and disseminated. And in this race, it is private industry, not the government, leading the charge. Instead of stirring presidential speeches, plans are being hatched in office parks around the country, by companies such as Skybox Imaging, PlanetIQ, and GeoOptics. They are vying to launch fleets of small, advanced, and low-cost satellites that represent a revolution akin to the one that turned computers from room-sized behemoths into things we hold in the palms of our hands..."
Surviving The Inevitable Summer Power Outage. Here's an excerpt of a story at Popular Mechanics with some interesting details and data nuggets: "Summer is blackout season - when heat waves bring on extra air-conditioning use, and extra air-conditioning use taxes the power grid and leads to rolling blackouts. And while the power grid in the U.S. is relatively stable—99.9 percent stable if you factor out weather-related outages, according to the Electric Power Research Institute—power outages are a year-round fact of life. A growing population, along with more homes that cover more area, has meant that hurricanes, wildfires, and other disasters impact more people and have led to a staggering increase in power outages. According to Dr. Massoud Amin, a professor of electrical and computer engineering at the University of Minnesota, 500,000 people per day in the U.S. lose power for at least two hours. Between 2005 and 2010 there were 272 power outages that each affected more than 50,000 people. In 2011 alone there were 136 weather-related power outages that snuffed out 178 million meters. The economic toll is equally intense, costing between $80 billion and $188 billion annually..."
Air Pollution Causes Millions Of Deaths Each Year. Why Do We Let It Happen? EmaxHealth has the story; here's the introduction: "Air pollution that is implicated for a number of health issues including cardiovascular disease, stroke and respiratory ailments is found in a new study to kill more than 2 million people annually. The question is why do we let it happen? The finding, published in the Journal of Environmental Health, highlights the need for community and individual actions to protect human health that we should all take seriously. Smog that comes from the ozone layer contributes to premature death from inhalation of fine particulate matter resulting in inflammation – the root cause of disease..."