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Shelf Life

Steve Scolnik @ 3:35 PM

The current heat wave is approaching its sell-by date. A cold front moving in from the Ohio Valley was producing showers and thunderstorms through Ohio, western Pennsylvania, and West Virginia this morning. The early afternoon weather map indicated that the front had made little, if any, progress in the last 6 hours, however. By mid afternoon, temperatures in the metro area were mainly in the mid 90s, although some of the Usual Suspects were threatening the triple digit mark (Stafford and Frederick at 99). Some isolated showers had developed, mostly in central Virginia. One area with some moderate to heavy rain was coming out of the extreme eastern West Virginia panhandle and expanding as it moved down the Virginia side of the Potomac.


For tonight, the cold front will gradually make its way across the area, probably passing through around midnight or the early morning hours. Lows should be in the low 70s, and there is a 50% chance of showers or thunderstorms. Tomorrow will be cooler and a little less humid, highs in the mid 80s.

Goodnight, Irene

Tropical Storm Harvey was hanging on with maximum sustained winds of 60 mph as its eastward motion slowed down to 5 mph. It is expected to drift northward and become a depression over the weekend, then move northeast to the North Atlantic.

Also threatening to expire, although still forecast to eventually become a tropical storm, is Tropical Depression 9. From the National Hurricane Center discussion of the depression this morning:
How little we know about the genesis of tropical cyclones. Satellite images during the day yesterday showed a distinct disturbance in the deep tropics with all known factors apparently favorable for the system to become a tropical storm. Surprisingly this morning...visible images indicate that the system has become disorganized. Unexpectedly...the low-level circulation moved northwestward toward relatively cooler waters and lost most of the deep convection.

Ice Shelf Life

The same August 4 print edition of the journal Nature which contains the Emanuel hurricane intensity paper we discussed earlier in the week has a cover article about the shelf life of . . . the Larsen Ice Shelf in Anarctica. The collapse of over 12,500 sq. km. of the ice shelf raises the question of whether this is a typical occurrence. By analyzing core samples, the authors were able to determine that this event was unprecedented during the 11,000 years since the end of the last ice age.

The complete article requires a subscription, but the abstract is available online. There is also an article from the CBC, as well as press releases from two of the authors' institutions: Queen's University and Hamilton College.

Book Shelf

With a potentially record-breaking hurricane season underway, it seems like a good time to read Jack Williams' book with Bob Sheets, former National Hurricane Center Director, "Hurricane Watch: Forecasting the Deadliest Storms on Earth". We still haven't found the time, but will plan to write a review when and if we can.

Off the Shelf, Ready to Wear

Wonkette started this theme, but we can't help noting that the Post is again proving that it's taken the month of August off (as well as devoting all months whose names contain an "r" or end in "y" to recycling Watergate coverage). It's time for the 87th annual edition of the article, "Washington Lawyers, Lobbyists, and Bureaucats Don't Have Enough Sense Not to Wear Suits." And ties. And hats. In August heat. In the middle of the day. On the street.

Here at Afternoon Blog Central, we prefer T-shirts, shorts, and socks without shoes. This may seem less professional to some, but personally we prefer to get our information from someone who can actually breathe.

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