Saturday, February 11, 2017

Weird, Extreme Heat In U.S. Plains, Arctic And Especially Australia

Wildfires like this on in Australia are likely to get much worse
this weekend amid a long, record shattering heat wave in that country.
Other record heat waves are hitting the Arctic, and Texas.
While we in New England hunker down for an expected roaring winter storm, three heat waves are breaking records in different parts of the world. 

One of the heat waves, in Australia, is particularly dangerous and potentially deadly. We'll get to that first one in a minute.

First, in the Arctic, the third extreme blast of winter heat to get close to the North Pole this winter is headed that way. It'll bring temperatures to near the freezing point way up in the high Arctic, further slowing winter ice development up there.

Ice is already at record lows in the Arctic, thanks in part to two previous heat waves this winter. Each hot blast has driven temperatures as high as 50 degrees above normal. Totally weird.

The second big heat wave is going on in the southern Plains of the United States. Temperatures could reach the 90s in some parts of the Texas and Oklahoma panhandles later this afternoon.

If that happens, it will be by far the earliest 90s on record. Some cities in Oklahoma and Texas could exceed record highs by a lot, perhaps by 10 degrees. Breaking a record high by that large a margin is really, really rare.

Not surprisingly, the unseasonable heat in the southern Plains is contributing to a very high fire danger in the region today.

This won't last too long, as a sharp cold front is diving south. Talk about extremes! Childress, Texas is expected a high of 94 degrees today and a mix of sleet and rain Sunday night with temperatures in the mid-30s.

Weather whiplash indeed.

The world's biggest heat problem right now is probably in Australia, which is suffering under torrid record temperatures once again.

The town of Perinth, Australia has set an all time record high of 46.9 degrees Celsius. (116.4 Fahrenheit.)

Observatory Hill in Sydney has reached 35 degrees Celsius (95 Fahrenheit) for ten consecutive days, which is a record.

The heat is so bad that some Australian cities have experience rolling blackouts because of the high demand for air conditioning.

Worse, the heat and dryness will combine with increasing winds Sunday, which Australian authorities say could cause one of the worst fire disasters in the country's history.

Many are comparing the weather situation to that of "Black Saturday" in 2009. The wildfires on "Black Saturday"  killed 173 people and destroyed 3,500 structures.

Already bush fires were burning Saturday in Australia and were threatening structures. Let's hope the wind unexpectedly slackens off, at least.

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