A Heat Wave So Big You Can See It From Space

Hot enough for ya? If you live anywhere on the eastern half of the United States (like me) you’ve probably been sweating it out over the past several days in what certainly feels like the warmest week yet for the season. The cause of the oppressive weather? A large mid-level ridge centered over the Ohio Valley — large enough to be easily visible from space.

The image above was taken by the GOES East satellite at 12:45 p.m. EDT on July 15. The clear area over Ohio shows the center of the system, which has been driving temperatures up into the 90s for much of the eastern U.S. and is expected to expand into the plains by mid-week. Along with increased humidity, heat index values will exceed 100 ºF and even approach 110 ºF on Friday.

From the NASA Image of the Day page:

A very anomalous weather pattern is in place over the U.S. for mid-July. Trapped between an upper level ridge centered over the Ohio Valley and the closed upper level low over the Texas/Oklahoma border, atypical hot, muggy air is stifling a broad swath of the eastern U.S. The closed low is expected to drift west toward New Mexico bringing heavy, localized rain to some areas and temperatures running 10-20 degrees below mid-July averages. Across the east, temperatures will warm well into the 90s and stay there through the week. (NOAA)

Rendering of a GOES satellite (NOAA)
Rendering of a GOES satellite (NOAA)

As of the time of this writing heat advisories are in place in many parts of Michigan, southern Minnesota, and southern New England, and excessive heat warnings are active in eastern Pennsylvania and west central New Jersey. (Source)

Click here for summer heat safety tips.

Meanwhile, a closed low — seen above as a large, moisture-laden spiraling cloud system — is moving west across Texas and New Mexico, and is expected to bring lower-than-average temperatures along with heavy rains and flash flooding.

Keep up to date with weather alerts for your area at the NOAA’s National Weather Service site here, and see the latest GOES satellite images here.

Image Credit: NOAA/NASA GOES Project

At an altitude of 22,336 miles, the geosynchronous GOES satellites continuously provide observations of 60 percent of the Earth including the continental United States, providing weather monitoring and forecast operations as well as a continuous and reliable stream of environmental information and severe weather warnings.

7 Replies to “A Heat Wave So Big You Can See It From Space”

  1. Looks kind of like how a hurricane would look over land? Family in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area say they are happy with the rain and lower temps, even if it is WARY unusual!

    1. Yes, this time of year it’s usually close to 110 in Dallas… so 90s are a “cold front” for them!

      1. It’s been in the high 80’s to low-mid 90’s here in Arizona, and I’ve been loving it! Usually it’s from the 1 teens to 1 twenty’s this time of year.

      2. Yeah… I lived in Tempe in the spring-summer of ’86. Late July early August saw temps averaging +110*F w/humidity in the 90%tile. The monsoons started w/raging sand storms to ‘spice up’ the smoggy mix. Beginning of July, my ex g-friend called from Californicator and begged me to come back. I got weird/lonely and went to Graffiti’s Bar near ASU. The co-eds were young and gorgeous and I wanted to dance to take my mind off my ex. Well.. no one would dance with the ‘old guy’! I got bummed and drank a few too many Bushmill’s w/beer chasers. Got busted on the way home and lost my license for 3 months, spent a day in the slammer, paid a fine of $1,500 and wuz sentenced to an alcohol rehab. class. which turned into a good thang! The class was GREAT – sponsored by the ‘Right On foundation’, I stopped drinking and learned many things! Bottom line is that I ended up riding my bicycle to work thru the hottest part of the summah @ +115*! UGH! I’d drink a gallon of water riding home and not have to wee! Wuz in the +90’s at 7am! Dint much care for that… so… I yam sympatico!

        P.S. I haven’t touched hard stuff since and don’t miss that or those temps… at all! No sir…

  2. Took my kids to see Despicable Me 2 in 3D today. Hotter than… well, hot. Left the windows cracked in the van – no rain in the forecast until Thursday. While we were in the theater the power went out due to a surprise thunderstorm. Power came back quick, but we waited 40 minutes for the movie to come back on. Water in the van. Dried fast, though!

  3. Alley 99 Show “Heat Awareness PSA”.
    (puppet service announcement).

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