The Daily Parker

Politics, Weather, Photography, and the Dog

Future heat

James Fallows highlights a new US government website that maps how bad the climate will get in your town:

Let me give just a few illustrations from the first such climate-based public map the White House has released, HEAT.gov. The main points about all this and related “digital dashboards” (like the one for Covid) and maps:

  • They are customizable. You can see your immediate neighborhood, or the entire world.
  • They are configurable. You can see the “real” weather as of 2020, and the projected weather as of many decades from now.
  • They can be combined. You can overlay a map of likely future flood zones, with areas of greatest economic and social vulnerabilities.

First, a map showing the priority list of communities most at risk from heat stress some decades from now. This is based on an overlay of likely future temperatures, with current resources and vulnerabilities, and other factors and trends.

Number one on this future vulnerability list is in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas. Number ten is in Arkansas. In between, at number seven, is my own home county in California. You can tune the map to your own interests here. It is meant to serve as a guide for preparation, avoidance, and resilience.

Pretty cool stuff. At the moment, Chicago's weather seems pretty reasonable for July, but the forecast calls for hot and awful weather later this week. And that will keep happening as climate change keeps pushing more energy into the atmosphere.

Wait, Monday is August?

Somehow we got to the end of July, though I could swear March happened 30 seconds ago. If only I were right, these things would be four months in my future:

I will now go out into this gorgeous weather and come back to my office...in August.

UK sets all-time heat record

The Met Office has provisionally recorded the UK's first-ever above-40°C (104°F) temperature:

Heathrow's 12:50 BST report to ICAO put the temperature at 39°C, with a heat index of 37.1°C (98.9°F). Meanwhile, the city of Abadan, Iran, has hit 51°C (123.8°F), which I can scarcely imagine.

And yet, the forecast for my trip this week looks perfect: highs in the mid-20s, with possible sprinkles Friday morning.

Hottest day ever in Wales: Met Office

The Met Office has declared that Gogerddan, Wales, has reached 35.3°C (95.5°F), the hottest temperature ever recorded in the country. Meanwhile, the London Broil continues:

Met Office Chief Meteorologist Neil Armstrong, said “The extreme temperatures that we have been forecasting are now beginning to build and it is likely that today we will see values reach into the high 30s, possibly challenging the UK record of 38.7°C set in July 2019.

“Even higher maximum temperatures will develop tomorrow with a 70% chance of somewhere in England exceeding 40°C. A value of this level would exceed the current UK record by 1.3°C or more. This is akin to a marathon runner shaving 20 minutes off of the current record.

“Nights are also likely to be exceptionally warm, especially in urban areas. This is likely to lead to widespread impacts on people and infrastructure. Therefore, it is important people plan for the heat and consider changing their routines. This level of heat can have adverse health effects.”

This is the first time we have forecast 40°C in the UK. The current record high temperature in the UK is 38.7°C, which was reached at Cambridge Botanic Garden on 25 July in 2019.

Weather forecast models are run numerous times to help us quantify the likelihood of a particular event occurring and estimate the uncertainty which is always present in weather forecasting to some degree. Some models are now producing a 70% chance of maximum temperatures in excess of 40°C in isolated parts of the UK for the start of next week. Mid, to high, 30s Celsius will be seen more widely with a 95% chance we will exceed the current record.

At this writing, Heathrow and London City both report 36.0°C (96.8°F). They still have more livable weather than the world's hot spot right now: Abadan, Iran, reports 50°C (122°F), but its 6°C dewpoint and 8% humidity make it feel like a much cooler 45.6°C (114.7°F).

I arrive around 22:15 BST Wednesday, when temperatures should be closer to 22°C (74°F), which is still a very warm summer day in London.

Lost on a small island

Ordinance Survey, the UK's equivalent to our US Geological Survey, recently discovered that 77% of Brits can't read a map:

Just how far is it to the pub? Three-quarters of UK adults are in danger of never finding out, according to a poll commissioned by Ordnance Survey to mark National Map Reading Week (11-17 July). It found that 77% of respondents couldn’t recognise the most basic OS map symbols, such as viewpoints and pubs. (The latter is marked with a classic pint “jug” glass with handle, so could the ignorance be down to the switch to straight beer glasses?)

Of the 2,000 adults surveyed, more than half (56%) admitted they’d got lost because they couldn’t use a map or follow a phone app correctly, with 39% resorting to calling friends and family, 26% flagging down help, and 10% calling mountain rescue to get home.

Even when they’re not actually getting lost, 31% said they were worried they might. Many adults (46%) said they were happier walking with someone else.

Meanwhile, the Met Office has declared its first Red Weather Warning as they expect temperatures to hit 40°C in London on Monday and Tuesday:

Fortunately for me, they expect cooler weather Wednesday and beyond.

Meanwhile and elsewhere

In case you needed more things to read today:

There are others, but I've still got a lot to do today.

High temperature record and other hot takes

Chicago's official temperature at O'Hare hit 35°C about two hours ago, tying the record high temperature set in 1994. Currently it's pushing 36°C with another hour of warming likely before it finally cools down overnight. After another 32°C day tomorrow, the forecast Friday looks perfect.

While we bake by the lake today, a lot has gone down elsewhere:

Finally, apparently John Scalzi and I have the same appreciation for Aimee Mann.

Extreme weather, early-summer edition

Last night we delayed the start of Terra Nostra fifteen minutes because a supercell thunderstorm decided to pass through:

The severe supercell thunderstorm that tore through Chicagoland Monday night toppled planes, ripped the roof off at least one apartment building, dropped hail as large as 1.5 inches in diameter and left tens of thousands without power in its wake.

In Cook County, 84 mph winds gusted at O’Hare International Airport. That was strong enough to turn over numerous planes at Schaumburg Regional Airport around 6:25 p.m.

Near Elk Grove Village around 6:30 p.m., roofing material started flying off an industrial building. The entire roof of a three-story apartment building was ripped off near Maywood around 6:50 p.m.

The system reached the Lake Michigan shoreline near downtown Chicago around 6:45 p.m., with “several tree branches downed just northwest of Montrose Harbor,” the weather service reported. Wind speeds of 64 knots were reported a few miles from Navy Pier and a buoy station near Calumet Harbor clocked wind speeds of 54 mph.

The weather report from O'Hare at 6:44pm gives you some indication of what we had in downtown Chicago half an hour later.

Today, the warm front that provided the energy driving that storm has already pushed temperatures over 30°C with a likely high of 36°C:

And wow, it's sticky, with dewpoints near 24°C and heat indices above 38°C. Can't wait for my commute home...

American Airlines brings the HEAT

The most interesting (to me) story this afternoon comes from Cranky Flier: American Airlines has a new software tool that can, under specific circumstances, reduce weather-related cancellations by 80% and missed connections by 60%. Nice.

In other news:

And finally, as Lake Michigan water levels decline from their record levels in 2020, the receding water has exposed all the work the city and state need to do to repair our beaches.

Early afternoon roundup

Now that I've got a few weeks without travel, performances*, or work conferences, I can go back to not having enough time to read all the news that interests me. Like these stories:

Finally, Michelin has handed out its 2022 stars for Chicago. Nothing surprising on the list, but I now have four more restaurants to try.

* Except that I volunteered to help a church choir do five Messiah choruses on Easter Sunday, so I've got two extra rehearsals and a service in the next 12 days.

Bonus update: the fog this morning made St Boniface Cemetery especially spooky-looking when Cassie and I went out for her morning walk: