Joe Lundberg

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No Matter How You Slice It, Warmth Still Wins

July 30, 2012; 9:38 AM ET

Monday, 11:20 A.M.

Every time I look at the weather maps these days, I'm seeing a lot more blue than red, meaning more warmth than coolness. And that is only in reference to the departures from average. In other words, there are few places that are seeing negative departures right now. The central and western Gulf Coast is one area that will end up with a cooler-than-average July, but even these areas will end on a warm and mainly dry note. And the West Coast has maintained its cool weather regime. However, the farther east you go from California and western sections of Oregon and Washington, the warmer those numbers are, the warmer it is. Basically from the central Rockies to the East, July has continued the trend begun in the spring of temperatures being above normal.

Going forward, I see little reason to forecast change. Even the notoriously bad GFS and the GFS ensembles are inching in that direction, though they remain more or less out of touch with reality. The European and Canadian models continue to lead the way with the warmth, and show no signs of backing down. The anchor point is the strong upper-level ridge over the southern Plains, shown here on the Canadian ensembles for tomorrow evening:

Yes, there is a trough in the East, and there was enough dry air associated with high pressure overnight and early this morning to allow early morning minimum temperatures to be near or even a little below normal across the interior Northeast back into parts of the Great Lakes. In reality, this is merely holding temperatures back and preventing them rising several degrees above normal. And that's not going to last for long!

By weeks' end, note how the ridge in the Plains is flatter, with another upper-level trough in the westerlies coming across the northern Plains:

The problem is that downstream, the upper-level trough has weakened considerably, so by default it will get warmer across the Ohio and Tennessee valleys into the mid-Atlantic states and New England Friday into Saturday. That trough will move downstream over the weekend, and by Monday evening, we're not far from where we started out:

That means that after a couple of cooler days from the northern Plains and Midwest to the mid-Atlantic and New England, we're probably going to see that eastern trough weaken, the flow flatten, and another surge of heat will be allowed to advance downstream out of the Plains yet again sometime next week. And if you examine things like the NAEFS 8- to 14-day temperature outlook, or any of the European weekly forecasts, the message is largely the same - the heat isn't budging through the first half of August. The real challenge will be the timing of heat surges, as well as their intensity, and when this pattern may officially "break" and allow some genuine cooler-than-normal air to gain more than a toehold in the U.S. going forward. In other words, your energy bills are going to be high if you want to keep cool!

Another point to be made here is that two western Pacific tropical systems appear destined to follow one another into China over the next week, maintain a west or northwest course. That's another argument that is on favor of keeping the ridge in the Plains rather than over the Rockies or interior West, as well as limiting the extent of the downstream trough over the East, or, at times, wiping it out completely.

Speaking of cool, the weekend MS 150 ride was a great success! Our team of 26 joined with nearly 500 other riders in raising nearly $300,000 so far for the Western Pennsylvania Chapter of the National MS Society. But they have yet to add in all of the monies turned in on ride day, so that number will easily swell and surpass the goal for the chapter! If you have yet to make a pledge in support of me for the National MS Society, there's still time to be counted for this year's event. Here's the link you can follow:

Again, I tremendously appreciate your support for me, and more importantly, to help fight MS and find the cure!

The views expressed are those of the author and not necessarily those of AccuWeather, Inc. or


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Joe Lundberg
Joe Lundberg, a veteran forecaster and meteorologist, covers both short and long-term U.S. weather on this blog.