Tuesday, June 26, 2012

"I don't know why I go to extremes?"
- Billy Joel in 1989 single I Go To Extremes (YouTube video)

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 Waterspout crossing near Winterset in Winter Haven, FL, 8 PM 6/24
Photo credit: Reader whgator3 on Foot's Forecast: Tropical Zone

8:25 AM EDT 6/26/12 (Forecaster Mike) – If the nation's weather had emotions, this Tuesday would be noted among the most extreme one can have. The weather map is littered with a variety of extremes across the nation: A heat wave vs. the cool break, the tropical flooding vs. the droughts and fires in the west. 

Rainfall Estimates from the Tallahassee NWS
DEBBY’S FLOODING  The next several days will be the most difficult in this week-loing assault on the Sunshine State. Debby will continue to dump astounding amounts of rain.  Some locations in north Florida have already picked up over 15” of rainfall, and could see an additional 10+” across many areas of the state in the next 24-36 hours. 

Submerged truck in a culvert near St. Petersburg, Florida 
  • The Florida Panhandle zone is continuing to get pounded by Tropical Storm Debby with the historic flooding continuing on Tuesday. 
  • The Central Florida zone is facing new threats of torrential heavy rain, inland flooding and widespread beach erosion for the next several days. As T.S. Debby approaches, another round of severe weather is expected to produce isolated tornadoes across much of Florida. 
  • The Tropical Zone on Facebook is providing on-going updates with Civil Emergency Statements, analyses and NHC forecasts. At last report, Debby is still a minimal tropical storm located just offshore of Florida with maximum sustained winds of  45 mph, as the storm center drifts to the east at 3 mph. 
DEBBY & THE NORTH ATLANTIC So why all these intense extremes? Is it El Nino? Global Warming? The Alec Baldwin controversy? Actually, we think it's due to the current negative phase of the North Atlantic Oscillation, which is a measure of changes in air mass movements over the Northern Atlantic/North America. 

The NAO is holding at a reading of -1 so far this week. This reading simply means a larger than normal cool Canadian air mass has shifted south over North America. This southern shift, denoted on surface maps as the high pressure over the Mid-Atlantic, is putting a clamp on Tropical Storm Debby's northward movement. As such, her only recourse is to nudge East under the periphery of that High pressure -- and exit into the ocean by way of Central Florida. On the backside of this High is where all the heat is building up in the Central Plains and out west, as outlined below.

CENTRAL HEAT  The massive heat wave in the middle of the country continues to build as we head into this Tuesday. Highs in the 100s will be commonplace from eastern Montana all the way down to encompass almost the entire state of Texas. Additionally, there is an area across portions of central Nebraska, Kansas, and Oklahoma where we could see some isolated areas top 110º. 

As the fire threat is breaking out from west of the mountains on Tuesday, Red Flag Warnings have been issued across portions of the Plains. Excessive heat combined with breezy conditions is making for a tough fire risk across the region. Additionally, there will be a fire threat across central Montana, Wyoming, then again in SE Nevada and SW Utah.

EASTERN COOL DOWN – After the Eastern states had their share of the heat wave at the end of last week, Tuesday will bring quite the significant cool down to areas like the Southeast Pennsylvania zone. Philadelphia, which is covered by that zone, will likely not see highs surpass the upper 70s to near 80º, and those kind of temperatures will be fairly common up the I-95 corridor from Central Virginia up to Metro New York. The biggest change in the east will be a significant drop in humidity levels, making those highs feel more comfortable without the flood of humidity.

Big weather stories are unfolding across the country as this Tuesday of extremes continues! 

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