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Weather in Focus

By Chris DeWeese
Senior Editorial Writer
Good Morning. For some people, summer means beach reads. And there’s a list going around that uses Google search trends to attempt to quantify this year’s most popular summer beach reads by state, which is a good excuse for me to pull up my soapbox and declare that any book is a beach read if you read it at the beach! Want to read Shakespeare at the beach? Great! “Crime and Punishment”? Bring it on!

My favorite beach read memory comes from 2006 or so, when I and a group of friends took turns reading the novelization of “Snakes On A Plane” (yes, they made a book of it after the movie) out loud on a beach outside of New York City.

Weather In Focus

A man in the rain,
(PUNIT PARANJPE/AFP via Getty Images)
A man enjoyed rain showers during high tides in Mumbai, India, yesterday. While he was fine, it (hopefully) goes without saying that you should be careful wading into moving water that deep, as you could be swept away.

What We’re Tracking

  • Scattered severe thunderstorms are possible across the Great Plains today, and the threat could slide east during the weekend. Here’s the scoop.
  • The 2023 Atlantic hurricane season is now forecast to be more active than average despite an El Niño, but also more unpredictable, according to the latest outlook.
  • Antarctic sea ice has reached a record low for this time of year. Here’s what that means.

Tomorrow is the 30 year anniversary of what might be the highest dew point ever measured on Earth: 95 degrees. Where was it measured?

  1. Appleton, Wisconsin
  2. Assab, Eritrea
  3. Dhahran, Saudi Arabia
  4. Moorhead, Minnesota
See the answer at the end of this newsletter.

This Caught My Eye

Photograph of smiling meteorologist Jon Erdman wearing a button up shirt. Jonathan Erdman
Senior Digital Meteorologist
forecast map showing upper level wind pattern.
Forecast upper-level wind pattern next week from the European model. Locations of some of Canada’s largest wildfires as of Thursday, July 6, are also plotted.
Another Smoke Show Or Not?

Last week was the second major invasion of smoke into the Midwest and Northeast U.S. from a rash of Canadian wildfires. It set particulate pollution records in Chicago, Detroit and Pittsburgh, among other cities.

Now computer forecast models are suggesting a U-shaped “trough” of low pressure will set up next week somewhere in eastern Canada. While that will drive cooler, less humid air into the northern U.S., it also could bring some Canadian wildfire smoke.

But this scenario is more complicated and may have key differences compared to the June smoke events. First off, this trough may set up farther west and north over Ontario or Hudson Bay, rather than over the Great Lakes or Northeast U.S. as it did in June. That would keep it from pulling smoke southward from the particularly large cluster of fires in Quebec.

Next week’s pattern could also bring badly needed soaking rain to the Ontario and Quebec wildfires. However, some of that rain, especially in Quebec, could be in the form of scattered thunderstorms. These storms could produce lightning strikes capable of starting new fires or producing shifting winds, making it harder to keep fires away from populated areas.

This U-shaped trough could also pull in at least lofted smoke from the larger fires in Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia into parts of the northern U.S. How much of that smoke makes it to the ground next week is a bit uncertain, but those nearest to the Canadian border from Montana to the northern Great Lakes could experience at least some smoke, at times.

After the first smoke episode in early June, we explained why cold fronts the rest of summer could pull wildfire smoke into the U.S., as long as those Canadian fires continue. So this is a reminder that we’re likely not finished with wildfire smoke. On The Weather Channel app, you can monitor your daily air quality and also turn on “government issued alerts” to receive any air quality advisories that may be issued in your area.


Weather Words

‘Solar Flare’
A solar flare on the sun.
NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory captured this image of a solar flare – as seen in the bright flash on the top right area of the sun – on Sunday. (NASA/SDO)
The largest explosive events in our solar system, solar flares are intense bursts of radiation that come from the release of magnetic energy associated with sunspots. They appear as bright areas on the sun and vary in duration, lasting from minutes to hours.

According to NASA, the most powerful solar flares have the energy equivalent of a billion hydrogen bombs. Light takes only about 8 minutes to travel to the Earth from the sun, so that’s how long it takes for the energy from a flare to reach us. Of course, solar flares only affect the Earth if they occur on the side of the sun facing us. Some of the impacts they can have are on radio communications, electric power grids and navigation signals. They can also pose risks to spacecraft and astronauts.


Quiz Time!

a couple in front of the full moon.
A couple crossed the Al-Shuhada’a bridge over the Tigris River as the full moon rose in Baghdad, Iraq, on Monday. (AP Photo/Hadi Mizban)
Once again, it’s time for our Friday weather news roundup. Let’s see how closely you were paying attention to the news this week. You can find the answers at the bottom of today’s newsletter.
1. Monday’s full moon was the first _____ of the year.

2. Monday marked the beginning of a 40 day stretch called ________.

3. We know what the weather was like in Philadelphia on July 4, 1776, thanks to which founding father?

4. The extremely high, luminous clouds that can sometimes be seen at dusk and dawn this time of year are called _____ clouds.

5. Yesterday marked the point when the Earth was farthest from the sun. What is the name for this?


1993: Heat Burst In Oklahoma
a collapsing thunderstorm.
This stock photo shows lightning and rain from collapsing cumulonimbus clouds late in the day, weather conditions conducive to a heat burst. (Wild Horizons/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)
A few weeks ago, we told you about heat bursts, which occur when a thunderstorm is dying, sending temperatures rocketing to levels typically seen in the middle of a hot day. The phenomenon often occurs well after dark, accompanied by high winds.

Thirty years ago on this date, northwest Oklahoma experienced an intense heat burst when a collapsing thunderstorm in the Texas Panhandle created a heat burst in the town of Gage that sent temperatures skyrocketing from 85 to 102 degrees between 11 p.m. and midnight.

C. Dhahran, Saudi Arabia
According to extreme weather historian Christopher Burt, “Air temperature was 108° at the time, creating a THI (temperature-humidity index) that is far off the scale but estimated in the 160°-170° range.


1. Supermoon.

2. The dog days of summer.

3. Thomas Jefferson.

4. Noctilucent.

5. Aphelion.

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