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Caution: Deadly Heat Wave Reaches East Coast

NOAA illustration.August 1, 2006 NOAA meteorologists blame an unusually strong ridge of high pressure that has been persistent for the last several weeks across much of the central and eastern U.S. for the cause of the heat. More than 50 new all-time high temperature records were established in the central and western U.S. during the last two weeks. The persistence of the unusually hot temperatures has made the past month one of the warmest since records began in 1895 for the contiguous U.S. NOAA will not know for another two days if the record warm national record set in July 1936 will be eclipsed. (Click NOAA illustration for larger view. Click here for high resolution version. Please credit “NOAA.”)

An intense and long lasting heat wave began on July 15th in the northern Plains and Upper Midwest, breaking records that had stood since the Dust Bowl years of the mid-1930s in some locations. The heat spread across the Plains by the 19th and moved into the West by the 21st before returning to the northern Plains by the 28th.

NOAA image of USA temperature forecast for Aug. 1, 2006.THIS WEEK
The national forecast from the NOAA Hydrometeorological Prediction Center calls for very hot temperatures to persist Wednesday through Thursday across much of the East with near record heat in parts of the mid-Atlantic and Northeast before temperatures return to near seasonable on Friday. (Click NOAA image for larger view of USA temperature forecast for Aug. 1, 2006. Click here for latest forecasts. Please credit “NOAA.”)

Meanwhile, the Plains and Midwest are expected to get a brief respite over the next couple of days. However, hot temperatures will return over the weekend and into early next week. The weather is expected to stay seasonably warm in much of the West.

For the month of August, the NOAA Climate Prediction Center predicts above normal temperatures for California, most of the Southern, Central and Southeastern parts of the U.S., especially over the northern Great Plains and upper Mississippi Valley.

Below median precipitation is predicted over the southern and central states. Above-median precipitation is predicted for the Southwest monsoon region and the Northwest, while equal chances were indicated for the remainder of the United States.

Below-normal temperatures are expected in the Hawaiian Islands during August. Hawaiian precipitation is given equal chances of being above, below or near-median values.

In Alaska, temperatures are expected to average below normal in the northwest and above normal in the southwest. Precipitation odds are equal for above, below or near-median.

U.S. Highlights:

There were 70+ new all-time July records (record highs for all days of the month). There were 50+ new all-time daily maximum temperature records for any month.

California Highlights:
Woodland Hills (outside L.A.) reported a new record of 21 days with
maximum temperatures exceeding 100 degrees F (July 6 - 26) [old record was 15 days] Woodland Hills had 24 non-consecutive 100+ days in July (also an all-time record). Woodland Hills set an all-time record of 119 F on 7/22.

Downtown Los Angeles had a record (for July) 15 days (non-consecutive) of
90+ deg days during July.

Burbank reported 14 days of July with minimum temperatures above 70 F, breaking the old July record of 5 days (Jul 1954), and the all-time record of 8 days (Aug 92 and Aug 94). Burbank also broke its July record of 108 F (7/15/78) with a 112F reading on 7/22. On the same day Paso Robles Airport did the same with a 114 F reading. Both were 1 degree shy of their all-time records.

On July 22, San Jose reported its warmest minimum temperature ever
recorded (since 1893) of 74 F.

On July 23, Redding Airport near Sacramento reported new record for the date of 114 deg F (old record 109 set in 2003).

On July 23, the minimum temperature was just 84 F, setting all-time record wamest minimum temperature record for downtown Sacramento (which was 79 F set the day before, and before that was 78, set on Jun 23, 1909).

On July 23, the maximum temperature at Stockton was 115 F, a new all-time record for warmest maximum temperature for the Stockton
airport (114 F in 1972).

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Relevant Web Sites
NOAA Hydrometeorological Prediction Center

NOAA Climate Prediction Center

NOAA National Weather Service

NOAA Weather Safety Information

Media Contact:
John Leslie, NOAA Satellite and Information Service, (301) 817-4410, for climate statistics; Carmeyia Gillis, NOAA Climate Prediction Center, (301) 763-8000 ext. 7163, for national forecast