Extreme US Heat Fuels Extreme Thunderstorms

An intense heat wave broke hundreds of heat records in more than a dozen states on Friday, spawning one of the most damaging severe thunderstorm events seen in years, reports Andrew Freedman at Climate Central. At least 3 million Americans, mainly from Indiana Southeast to Virginia, were likely facing another day of triple-digit heat heat without air conditioning, after storms knocked out power. At least 13 people were killed. The storm complex, known as a derecho, knocked out power to two-thirds of Ohio residents, and caused large-scale tree damage there. Derechos are roughly analagous to tornadoes with straight rather than twisting winds.  The thunderstorms then raced southeast, delivering a punishing blow to the Washington, DC area, where more than a million customers were without power as of noon Saturday. Similar storms followed the deadly 1995 Chicago heat wave. Heat helped fuel those storms by making the atmosphere extraordinarily unstable, and providing the energy needed to sustain longterm thunderstorms.  Climate change increases the odds of longer, hotter, extreme heat events. And as the heat wave continues, so does the likelihood of more derechos.

Source:

Heat wave spawns deadly severe thunderstorms. An intense heat wave broke records in more than a dozen states on Friday, and spawned one of the most damaging severe thunderstorm events seen in years, killing at least 12 people. Climate Central http://www.climatecentral.org/news/heat-wave-spawns-deadly-severe-storms/

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About melharte

Mel (Mary Ellen) Harte is a biologist (PhD) and climate change educator. She co-authored the free online book, COOL THE EARTH, SAVE THE ECONOMY, available at www.CoolTheEarth.US, and writes the CLIMATE CHANGE THIS WEEK column at the HuffingtonPost. Living summers in the alpine Rockies, she is on the frontlines of watching what climate change can do. Her diagnostic digital photographs of wildflowers have appeared in numerous publications.
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