Famine declared due to drought in Somalia; U.S. heat wave shifts east

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 15:43 GMT le 20 juillet 2011

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The main rainy season rains have failed again in the Horn of Africa--the region of East Africa comprising Somalia, Kenya, and Ethiopia. Rainfall over most of the Horn of Africa between February and July 2011 was 2 - 8 inches (50 - 200 mm) below average, leading to today's official declaration that famine conditions now exist. The region is experiencing a humanitarian emergency with more than 2 million malnourished children needing lifesaving action. The Horn of Africa has two rainy seasons, a main rainy season in April/May, and then the "short rains" of October/November. The main 2010 April/May rainy season brought above average rains to the region. However, the October/November 2010 "short rains" failed, as did the April/May 2011 main rainy season rains. The failure of two consecutive rainy seasons is a devastating blow for East Africa. African countries are highly dependent on rain-fed agriculture for both employment and economic production, with agriculture accounting for more than 50% of gross domestic product and up to 90% of employment across much of the continent (World Development Indicators 2009, World Bank). One third of the population of Africa lives in drought-prone areas (World Water Forum, 2000), and about 25% of the population of Africa currently experiences high water stress. Remarkably, several nations in East Africa have been selling their land to other countries to raise food for export in recent years. These nations include Ethiopia and Sudan, who both receive massive food aid from the U.N. World Food Program. According to the fascinating and sobering book, World on the Edge by Lester Brown, in January 2009, Saudi Arabia celebrated the arrival of the first shipment of rice on land they had acquired in Ethiopia, where the World Food Program was feeding 5 million people at the time. Saudi Arabia has been actively buying land in other countries to raise crops since the recent failure of agriculture in their country after they pumped their aquifers dry. India, South Korea, and Saudi Arabia have all brought land to grow crops in Sudan, which was the site of the World Food Program's largest famine relief effort in 2010. The world is running short of food, and nations that cannot feed themselves are aggressively competing to buy land to grow food where land costs are low, like East Africa.


Figure 1. Rainfall over most of the Horn of Africa between February and July 2011 was 2 - 8 inches (50 - 200 mm) below average, leading to a deadly drought in the region. Image credit: NOAA Climate Prediction Center.

Another day of dangerous heat in the Midwest
The dangerous Central U.S. heat wave of July 2011 will continue to bring another day of exceptionally humid heat to the Midwest today, and will also begin bringing temperatures in the mid-90s with high humidity to much of the mid-Atlantic and New England. The heat index--how hot the air feels when factoring in both the temperature and the humidity--exceeded 100°F in sixteen states in the center of the country on Tuesday, with the dangerous heat extending from Texas northwards to North Dakota, Minnesota, and Wisconsin. At least thirteen deaths are being blamed on the heat in the Midwest. The heat index hit a torrid 129°F at Newton, Iowa on Tuesday, and a heat index in excess of 120° was recorded at several locations in North Dakota, Iowa, Illinois, and Minnesota.


Figure 2. Predicted maximum heat index for Friday, July 22, 2011. Portions of 35 states are predicted to have a heat index in excess of 100°, with a heat index in excess of 115° expected over large portions of Virginia, Maryland, and Delaware. Image credit: NOAA.

Heat wave headed to the Eastern U.S.
The extreme heat will shift slowly eastwards this week, peaking in Chicago today, Detroit and Pittsburgh on Thursday, and New York City and the mid-Atlantic states on Friday. The forecast high of 103° in Washington D.C. for Friday is just 3° below the hottest temperature ever recorded in the city, 106°. This will no doubt stimulate some predictable quotes on global warming. The heat will remain in place over the mid-Atlantic states through Sunday, then ease on Monday when a cold front is expected to pass through. Wunderground's climate change blogger Dr. Ricky Rood has some good insights on the current heat wave in his latest post.

Tropical Storm Bret no threat
Tropical Storm Bret continues to spin off the U.S. East Coast, but is a weak storm with 50 mph winds, and is not expected to affect any land areas. Wind shear is a high 20 - 25 knots, and is expected to remain in the high range for the next three days. The combination of high wind shear and dry air nearby should act to keep Bret from strengthening, and the storm should slowly decay as it heads out to sea over the next few days.

Invest 99L no threat
Satellite imagery suggests that a low pressure system near 34N, 55W, about 500 miles east of Bermuda, is close to tropical depression strength. This system, dubbed Invest 99L, has been given a 60% chance of developing into a tropical depression by NHC. The storm is headed east-northeastwards out to sea, and is not a threat to any land areas. The storm will move over cool ocean waters below 25°C by Thursday morning, so it has just a short window of time to develop.

An African wave worth watching
An African wave near 45W, midway between the coast of Africa and the Lesser Antilles Islands, is currently generating a limited amount of heavy thunderstorms due to the presence of a large amount of dust and dry air from the Sahara. However, this wave has a modest degree of spin to it, and it is possible it could develop once it finds a moister environment near the Bahama Islands early next week. The last few runs of the UKMET model have shown development of this wave by Tuesday over the Bahamas. The ECMWF and NOGAPS models show that this wave will become a strong tropical disturbance by Tuesday over the Bahamas, while the GFS model shows no development. If this wave does develop, it may recurve before hitting the U.S., since the models agree that there will be a large trough of low pressure present over the U.S. East Coast early next week.

Jeff Masters

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Quoting Tazmanian:
EP, 04, 2011072100, , BEST, 0, 157N, 1049W, 115, 948, HU
Member Since: 21 mai 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 115387
Quoting BahaHurican:
Is he on FB as cycloneoz?

Dora is a beautiful storm....



Yeah that's him (sans the lack of spacing -- it's "Cyclone Oz").
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting tropicfreak:


Put him on ignore, he's a troll.


I actually consider him something of a friend. He's had his moments where he's faltered, but so have all of us. I hold no animosity toward him.
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Quoting BahaHurican:
Is he on FB as cycloneoz?

Dora is a beautiful storm....

Yes, he is.
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Quoting TaylorSelseth:
Wouldn't that be something to see 2 annular storms, which are very rare, before the season has even peaked?


Actually the East Pacific's peak is a bit earlier, July-September.
Member Since: 28 août 2008 Posts: 79 Comments: 3654
Quoting KoritheMan:


As a rule, yeah, generally the stronger systems go northward.

Steering currently resembles 2004 a lot more than 2007, with the demise of La Nina.
Kori, the longer the wave takes to develop the further west it will go, correct ?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1079. Levi32
Dora is indeed a very beautifully symmetric cyclone with a well-developed eye. That's why I love the east Pacific. It gives us these things to look at and study while they endanger practically nobody.
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EP, 04, 2011072100, , BEST, 0, 157N, 1049W, 115, 948, HU
Member Since: 21 mai 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 115387
If I'm not mistaken Isabel was an annular storm.
Member Since: 2 septembre 2006 Posts: 110 Comments: 6878
Quoting HurricaneDean07:
Thanks Jrweatherman... Appreciate it...


Your welcome. And I completely agree with that. To tell you the truth ive been here a day and your posts are some of the best. Good job.
Member Since: 19 juillet 2011 Posts: 12 Comments: 2528
Quoting FrankZapper:
Sorry. I had a beer or 2.


I have had 8 , a beer or 2 does u bad my friend! :)
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Quoting KoritheMan:

Well, you have to do what you have to do. I'd definitely pay for his services.
Is he on FB as cycloneoz?

Dora is a beautiful storm....

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1073. txjac
Quoting Skyepony:
Latest TRMM pass on Dora. Click pic to go to a large Quicktime animation that sweeps the storm. This can answer txjac's height question.


Thanks Skye! You are awesome!
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Quoting KoritheMan:


Kerry, I think that was uncalled for. There was nothing wrong with his post.


Put him on ignore, he's a troll.
Member Since: 2 septembre 2006 Posts: 110 Comments: 6878
its going up too 115kt and the mb drop 10mber from 968mb too 948mb


EP, 04, 2011072100, , BEST, 0, 157N, 1049W, 115, 948, HU
Member Since: 21 mai 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 115387
Quoting stormpetrol:

becoming almost annular
Wouldn't that be something to see 2 annular storms, which are very rare, before the season has even peaked?
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Quoting KoritheMan:


Kerry, I think that was uncalled for. There was nothing wrong with his post.
Sorry. I had a beer or 2.
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Thanks everyone for your feedback... Frankzapper, well..... yep...
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Thanks Jrweatherman... Appreciate it...
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1065. Skyepony (Mod)
Latest TRMM pass on Dora. Click pic to go to a large Quicktime animation that sweeps the storm. This can answer txjac's height question.
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Quoting FrankZapper:
poof!


Kerry, I think that was uncalled for. There was nothing wrong with his post.
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Quoting HurricaneDean07:
My Timeline for the rest of the month:
July 21: Bret weakens further, and dissipates; Cindy strengthens to a 55 mph TS.
July 22: Cindy Weakens and dies out in the PM.
July 23: Nothing, then in the PM the NHC posts a 10% for the CATL in the TWO.
July 24: The Central atlantic wave is upped to 20%
July 25: The tropical wave moves into the Northern windwards/leewards, and remains at 20%.
July 26: The tropical wave moves into Puerto Rico, and is designated Invest 90L, and is later in the day upped to 30%.
July 27: Invest 90L remains at 30%.
July 28: Invest 90L is upped to 40% in the AM, then is upped to 60% in the PM.
July 29: Invest 90L is upped to 80%
July 30: Invest 90L is renumbered 04L, and is named Don in the PM.
July 31: Tropical Storm Don strengthens as its northwest of Hispanoila.
August 1: Tropical Storm Don goes through the Turks and Caicos, and is a 70 mph Tropical Storm.

If you disagree, fine, but don't troll, and be immature about a far out prediction...


Stop wishing July away. It's a nice month ok! Lol.
Member Since: 28 août 2008 Posts: 79 Comments: 3654
Quoting HurricaneDean07:
My Timeline for the rest of the month:
July 21: Bret weakens further, and dissipates; Cindy strengthens to a 55 mph TS.
July 22: Cindy Weakens and dies out in the PM.
July 23: Nothing, then in the PM the NHC posts a 10% for the CATL in the TWO.
July 24: The Central atlantic wave is upped to 20%
July 25: The tropical wave moves into the Northern windwards/leewards, and remains at 20%.
July 26: The tropical wave moves into Puerto Rico, and is designated Invest 90L, and is later in the day upped to 30%.
July 27: Invest 90L remains at 30%.
July 28: Invest 90L is upped to 40% in the AM, then is upped to 60% in the PM.
July 29: Invest 90L is upped to 80%
July 30: Invest 90L is renumbered 04L, and is named Don in the PM.
July 31: Tropical Storm Don strengthens as its northwest of Hispanoila.
August 1: Tropical Storm Don goes through the Turks and Caicos, and is a 70 mph Tropical Storm.

If you disagree, fine, but don't troll, and be immature about a far out prediction...
poof!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting HurricaneDean07:
My Timeline for the rest of the month:
July 21: Bret weakens further, and dissipates; Cindy strengthens to a 55 mph TS.
July 22: Cindy Weakens and dies out in the PM.
July 23: Nothing, then in the PM the NHC posts a 10% for the CATL in the TWO.
July 24: The Central atlantic wave is upped to 20%
July 25: The tropical wave moves into the Northern windwards/leewards, and remains at 20%.
July 26: The tropical wave moves into Puerto Rico, and is designated Invest 90L, and is later in the day upped to 30%.
July 27: Invest 90L remains at 30%.
July 28: Invest 90L is upped to 40% in the AM, then is upped to 60% in the PM.
July 29: Invest 90L is upped to 80%
July 30: Invest 90L is renumbered 04L, and is named Don in the PM.
July 31: Tropical Storm Don strengthens as its northwest of Hispanoila.
August 1: Tropical Storm Don goes through the Turks and Caicos, and is a 70 mph Tropical Storm.

If you disagree, fine, but don't troll, and be immature about a far out prediction...


Wow. Couldn't have said it better. Well done.
Member Since: 19 juillet 2011 Posts: 12 Comments: 2528
Quoting druseljic:

becoming almost annular
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I would so love to see a 8.0 on the ADT... the storm does not have to affect land it would just be insane to see
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Wow, I didn't expect to see Cindy when I came home from work, today! These systems that develop in sub-80F SST, like Vince in 2005, never cease to mystify me.

Dora is looking quite spectacular. She might have a chance at Cat5 before she is killed by cold water and stratified air.

More locally, the HEAT WAVE IS OVER in Fargo! The temp has dropped to 83F and the dew point is down to 59F! I was shocked when I walked out of the thrift store at the end of my work shift and it didn't feel insanely humid, LOL!

Quoting BahaHurican:
Isabel is my avatar... lol That was a nightmare-making storm... cat 5 on three different occasions, IIRC.... and headed straight for the Bahamas... at the time I hadn't found wunderblog yet, so I couldn't understand how the NHC forecast of it turning off to the N was going to verify, given that relentless Wward movement... I was never so glad to see a storm turn NW.... lol. I think it made landfall as a cat 2... would prolly have roared through here at least a cat or 2 higher.


Isabel is one of my favorite hurricanes, I think annular storms like Isabel and Adrian are the most visually stunning hurricanes.
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1055. txjac
Quoting druseljic:


That is such a beautiful storm ...any where I can find out how high the eye wall reaches? It looks pretty deep
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
My Timeline for the rest of the month:
July 21: Bret weakens further, and dissipates; Cindy strengthens to a 55 mph TS.
July 22: Cindy Weakens and dies out in the PM.
July 23: Nothing, then in the PM the NHC posts a 10% for the CATL in the TWO.
July 24: The Central atlantic wave is upped to 20%
July 25: The tropical wave moves into the Northern windwards/leewards, and remains at 20%.
July 26: The tropical wave moves into Puerto Rico, and is designated Invest 90L, and is later in the day upped to 30%.
July 27: Invest 90L remains at 30%.
July 28: Invest 90L is upped to 40% in the AM, then is upped to 60% in the PM.
July 29: Invest 90L is upped to 80%
July 30: Invest 90L is renumbered 04L, and is named Don in the PM.
July 31: Tropical Storm Don strengthens as its northwest of Hispanoila.
August 1: Tropical Storm Don goes through the Turks and Caicos, and is a 70 mph Tropical Storm.

If you disagree, fine, but don't troll, and be immature about a far out prediction...
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Member Since: 13 août 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 655
1051. bappit
Blog Roundup

Oooo ... I like "deceptively moist".

dearth
"an inadequate supply: LACK"

Feel your Merriam-Webster, be your Merriam-Webster.

We weren't able back then to detect the short-lived, tiny tropical storms that have seemed common in recent years.

Dora is the bomb.
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Quoting KoritheMan:


E. I will eat crow if I am wrong.


Thank you for answering....
Member Since: 19 juillet 2011 Posts: 12 Comments: 2528
1048. Skyepony (Mod)
Behold Dora on MIMIC (if you have a good internet connection)..

Looks about ready for an eyewall replacement.
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1047. Speeky
do you think Dora could give the U.S. some rainfall?
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Quoting hurricanehunter27:

LOL, i hope ur trying to be funny, D and E means more active season and bad for USA, LOL


Yes I am LOL
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Quoting JrWeathermanFL:
This season is going to be_________.

A.a bust
B.not active
C.normal
D.more active
E.bad for U.S.
F.good for U.S.

I say D and E


E. I will eat crow if I am wrong.
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Quoting stormwatcherCI:
Thanks Levi and Kori. Another question. The stronger it gets the further north it goes, correct ? Are conditions more like 2004 than 2007 ? TIA


As a rule, yeah, generally the stronger systems go northward.

Steering currently resembles 2004 a lot more than 2007, with the demise of La Nina.
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Although the structure is near perfect, Dora will have to fire off colder cloud tops and build a vey solid ring of deep convection to make cat 5. Tomorrow mornings DMAX should be the time to do this.



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1042. help4u
Great update Jason!!!
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Quoting caneswatch:


How can it be both D and E? Are you confused or something?

LOL, i hope ur trying to be funny, D and E means more active season and bad for USA, LOL
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Quoting Speeky:
who thinks Dora could reach Cat 5?


maybe for a brief period of time... By the time it gets up there it will start getting into cooler water. Not sure how the upper winds and atmosphere is set up for support.
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1039. Skyepony (Mod)
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How much would you pay kori?

Just read back lol
Member Since: 24 août 2010 Posts: 19 Comments: 4358
Quoting JrWeathermanFL:
This season is going to be_________.

A.a bust
B.not active
C.normal
D.more active
E.bad for U.S.
F.good for U.S.

I say D and E


How can it be both D and E? Are you confused or something?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:

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Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.

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