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Heat: Real and Imagined

Steve Scolnik @ 3:50 PM


Temperatures reached 90 degrees in most of the Washington metro area by 1pm this afternoon. At Easton, on the Maryland Eastern Shore, it was 104 with a dewpoint of 84 and a heat index of 135. What?? Yes, here is the excerpt from the Maryland Regional Weather Roundup:
EASTON* SUNNY 104 84 53 W3 29.98F HX 135

This was actually an improvement from an earlier report, shown in raw form below:
KESN 111648Z AUTO 28004KT 10SM CLR 44/32 A2998 RMK AO2
The 44C temperature and 32C dewpoint correspond to 111 and 90 Fahrenheit, respectively. Clearly, the automated station (indicated by the asterisk) is in need of some serious maintenance. Fortunately, there are mathematical techniques for eliminating bad data from input to numerical forecast models, but errors like this certainly undermine one's confidence in the reported data. Does the National Weather Service have a budget for Quality Control anymore?

Regional radar was generally clear, although some showers were scattered around, mainly along the Mason-Dixon line headed southward at mid afternoon.


There is a slight chance of scattered thundershowers through this evening, with lows in the mid 70s. Tomorrow will continue to be hazy, hot, and humid with highs in the mid 90s and a 20% chance of afternoon or evening thundershowers.

The Little Heat Engine That Could

A tropical storm is a giant heat engine, and Irene has undergone a tuneup, regaining Tropical Storm status with maximum sustained winds of 50 mph. The storm is expected to strengthen further; it could be a hurricane within 36 to 48 hours. The forecast track shows the potential for threatening the Outer Banks of North Carolina in about 5 days. There is still a lot of uncertainty about the track and intensity at this point. The "cone of uncertainty" includes the DC area at the far outer fringe.

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