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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Weathernerd you calling me ugly?!
lol
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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:


So, possible Special Update?

I really doubt they're gonna issue a special update on 99L, but I think they'll issue an advisory at 2100z.
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Quoting Minnemike:
it would seem someone with your 'critical thinking' skills would get that increased WV in the atmosphere doesn't automatically mean precipitation events everywhere... no, you just use sarcasm to maintain a fallacy
I didn't realize we were talking about individual posters in the blog. When did that become on topic?

What I said was more about what is discussed in here, and elsewhere, as a knee jerk reaction to whatever happens to be in the news, though historical data so far has not clearly indicated a propensity of droughts or floods to increase in the last 100 years. Prognostications are fairly useless, as well.
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looks like the NOGAPS is trying to bring the tropical wave into SC..

Link
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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:


So, possible Special Update?


I'd imagine they'll just wait until 5pm, not exactly any rush on something in the middle of the Atlantic.
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CMC curves the CATL wave OTS.

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Quoting wolftribe2009:
I PREDICTED 3 STORMS for July in my facebook hurricane prediction in Early June. We are about to have the second storm. One more is being talked about from the African Wave over the Central Atlantic right now. I just wish to know the person here that forecast 4 for this month. I remember someone did. They might just be right as well.

Who forecasted 4 storms for July?

I know a lot of people predicted only 1 or less.



In late June, I said 3/4 in July, but dropped it down to 2.
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Quoting IceCoast:
As I said an hour ago, Dora does appear to be going through RI. The CDO is impressive to say the least, and the eye looks like it is continuing to clear out and become better defined. I say this gets to major hurricane status by the end of the day. Anyone got the latest ADT #'s? On my phone and can't get CIMSS.

UW-CIMMS ADT has it at T5.8/109.8 kts and SSD ADT has it at T6.3/122.2 kts.
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Quoting Darren23:
I have a source (a Wikipedia acquaintance of mine whose interning at the NHC) who said that the NHC is getting ready to initiate advisories on 99L. However, that person didn't tell me what intensity or whether it's gonna be tropical or subtropical.


So, possible Special Update?
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12z UKMET, 120 hours out. System off the islands.


12z GGEM/CMC, 144 hours out. System off Cuba.


00z ECMWF, 240 hours out. Same system in the GOMEX.
Member Since: 8 juillet 2005 Posts: 259 Comments: 24552
Cloudburst, yes we will see...
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I PREDICTED 3 STORMS for July in my facebook hurricane prediction in Early June. We are about to have the second storm. One more is being talked about from the African Wave over the Central Atlantic right now. I just wish to know the person here that forecast 4 for this month. I remember someone did. They might just be right as well.

Who forecasted 4 storms for July?

I know a lot of people predicted only 1 or less.

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Quoting HurricaneSwirl:


Funny that you mention Jerry 07 when I just dug it up along with Ingrid and Gabrielle as examples of ugly storms that have gotten named haha. Melissa, TD10, TD15, Andrea, Barry, and Chantal were all ugly too. 2007 was the year of the ugly storm. Except for Dean and Felix.

Well, Dean and Felix were ugly too, but in a different way...
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Quoting JrWeathermanFL:
What will 99L do at 5:00?

A. Be less than 90%
B. Be 90%
C. Be TD3
D. Be Tropical Storm Cindy
E. Be classified as a subtropical storm or depression.

C


C at 5pm D at 8pm
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Quoting PocketAces09:
So we're looking at the wave right off Africa eventually becoming Emily? And wasn't this season a bust just last week?


There's a few 'ifs' before the new T wave is contending for Emily.
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Quoting IceCoast:
As I said an hour ago, Dora does appear to be going RI. The CDO is impressive to say the least, and the eye looks like it is continuing to clear out and become better defined. I say this gets to major hurricane status by the end of the day. Anyone got the latest ADT #'s? On my phone and can't get CIMSS.


UW - CIMSS
ADVANCED DVORAK TECHNIQUE
ADT-Version 8.1.3
Tropical Cyclone Intensity Algorithm

----- Current Analysis -----
Date : 20 JUL 2011 Time : 171500 UTC
Lat : 15:07:19 N Lon : 103:36:23 W


CI# /Pressure/ Vmax
5.8 / 954.2mb/109.8kt


Final T# Adj T# Raw T#
5.8 6.0 6.3

Estimated radius of max. wind based on IR : 26 km

Center Temp : +5.3C Cloud Region Temp : -68.0C

Scene Type : EYE

Positioning Method : RING/SPIRAL COMBINATION

Ocean Basin : EAST PACIFIC
Dvorak CI > MSLP Conversion Used : PACIFIC

Tno/CI Rules : Constraint Limits : 1.7T/6hr
Weakening Flag : OFF
Rapid Dissipation Flag : OFF

C/K/Z MSLP Estimate Inputs :
- Average 34 knot radii : 95km
- Environmental MSLP : 1011mb

Satellite Viewing Angle : 37.3 degrees
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Quoting HurricaneDean07:
This has been a weird month in the ATL for tropics.
the first half of the month was in the upward phase, and there was no storms, no were in the downward phase and we have 2 storms, and a third one is possible before August, I dont get this MADNESS!!! lol
Sometimes the downward phase is not that strong. And if there is a existing system, it can still win out over subsidence.
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Why is ATCF/TCWEB taking so long to update..

Probably trying to decide whether to issue a renumber or not.
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Convection over the vigorous LLC.

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Possibiliies for Cindy, Don, and Emily. What about Franklin? LOL
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As I said an hour ago, Dora does appear to be going through RI. The CDO is impressive to say the least, and the eye looks like it is continuing to clear out and become better defined. I say this gets to major hurricane status by the end of the day. Anyone got the latest ADT #'s? On my phone and can't get CIMSS.
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I have a source (a Wikipedia acquaintance of mine whose interning at the NHC) who said that the NHC is getting ready to initiate advisories on 99L. However, that person didn't tell me what intensity or whether it's gonna be tropical or subtropical.
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Quoting PocketAces09:
TD3, Cindy at 11. Won't become much more than Jerry '07 IMO...

and also, doesn't shallow-warm core mean subbie?


Funny that you mention Jerry 07 when I just dug it up along with Ingrid and Gabrielle as examples of ugly storms that have gotten named haha. Melissa, TD10, TD15, Andrea, Barry, and Chantal of the same year were all ugly too. 2007 was the year of the ugly storm. Except for Dean and Felix.
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Quoting JrWeathermanFL:
What will 99L do at 5:00?

A. Be less than 90%
B. Be 90%
C. Be TD3
D. Be Tropical Storm Cindy
E. Be classified as a subtropical storm or depression.

C

Any option that classifies it as a tropical/sub tropical cyclone worthy of advisories. Seriously, that thing looks too amazing to not be classified.
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Agreed TAWX
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So as late as 11pm Thursday night it could be 50mph storm.
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Ugggh....Why do I always have such a hard time getting onto ATCF????
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I'm afraid the Conus is going to get it's headlines sometime this year
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Quoting aburttschell:


Wait a minute...I though global warming increased the amount of moisture in the atmosphere?
I thought the drought/flood thing was supposed to be from enhanced wx extremes and climate change; you know, if you are wet you are very very wet, but if you are dry you are parched. Not all wet or all dry....



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Quoting SuperYooper:


Even being a married guy, having peppy blondes explain anything to me is a plus in my day.

No way 99L is named. TD3 max.


Well it's already at 35 mph, so it wouldn't take much to make it a TS. It's appearance may not look all that great, but it looks better than these:

Gabrielle 2007:


Ingrid 2007:


Jerry 2007


And they all got named. So I have no doubt that 99L may end up getting named, but it's up to the NHC's subjective call.
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252. SLU
No doubt

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Quoting DestinJeff:
Although there were surely pockets of pre-existing knoweldge on the matter, I would like to recognize Levi for introducing the "cooling of the Gulf of Guinea" (and its effects on CV storm production) to the blog masses.

Move over "Pumping the ridge", there is a new sheriff in town.

Levi, consider yourself officially recognized.
Might want to check with Levi on who brought it up first before handing out such a prestigious award. I very well may have missed it, but the cooling of gulf of guinea was fist seen by me in member Skyepony's writings.
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Good chance of Cindy at 5pm.

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Quoting JrWeathermanFL:
What will 99L do at 5:00?

A. Be less than 90%
B. Be 90%
C. Be TD3
D. Be Tropical Storm Cindy
E. Be classified as a subtropical storm or depression.

C


Hard to tell. I say C but they might go ahead and name it. I don't think it will stay 90% or lower.
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Cloudburst what time frame tomm are we looking at?
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Quoting JrWeathermanFL:
What will 99L do at 5:00?

A. Be less than 90%
B. Be 90%
C. Be TD3
D. Be Tropical Storm Cindy
E. Be classified as a subtropical storm or depression.

C


C
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Quoting CybrTeddy:


Disagree.


I disagree to. I wouldn't be surprised if it skipped TD3 and was named immediately. NHC likes to do that.
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Good Afternoon.
99L:
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Quoting jasonweatherman2011:
LOOK AT THIS PEOLPE!! look al all the tropical waves


That is a huge wave over the Indian Ocean Jason. How are you?
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What will 99L do at 5:00?

A. Be less than 90%
B. Be 90%
C. Be TD3
D. Be Tropical Storm Cindy
E. Be classified as a subtropical storm or depression.

C
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Shallow warm-core for 99L.

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Quoting CybrTeddy:


Disagree.


Ditto.
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Quoting cloudburst2011:
rita it has lots of convection and banding to the south and se of the well defined circulation at 44west...also in the last few hours convection is starting to fire off north of the huge wave...the wave coming off of africa looks like a baby in size compared to this...this will be named on thursday and i mean tomorrow and be a definite threat to the caribbean sea...


Really? Cmmm, tell us more. What else? Did you noticed it's already forming a pinhole eye too?
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Quoting SuperYooper:


Even being a married guy, having peppy blondes explain anything to me is a plus in my day.

No way 99L is named. TD3 max.


Disagree.
Member Since: 8 juillet 2005 Posts: 259 Comments: 24552

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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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