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Weather Wisdom

Napa Valley Earthquake & Tropical Storm Cristobal Make Headlines

Thereís a lot of meteorological and geological information this morning across the country including a new tropical storm and a strong earthquake.

Most meteorologists actually know very little about earthquakes, but as scientists, the news department would often turn to us for an explanation of what happened during things like earthquakes, volcanoes and tsunamis. These things are geological and an entirely different science than meteorology. Nonetheless, I have picked up some knowledge of such things over the years.

This morningís earthquake was centered south of Napa in California and the quake occurred about 3 miles below the surface. The depth of the quake and the amount of slippage are two factors that help determine what people feel and how much damage occurs. Certain types of rock also transmit the shock waves better than others. At a magnitude of 6.0, this quake is considered strong. The map below shows what people felt from the epicenter. As you would expect, the strongest impact is closed to where the quake occurred.

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On the other side of the continent the third tropical storm of the season has now formed. Cristobal is forecast to eventually become a hurricane as it tracks parallel to the southeast coast and then turns northeast passing between the United States mainland and Bermuda.

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If you had to pick a track that was the least impactful for the USA this would be it. This doesnít mean the track couldnít change, because it could. However, right now, most indications are the storm will not present any danger to land other than boats and fish. There will also be large swells along the southeast coast early this week and perhaps off the New England coast as the storm passes by at the end of the week.

Here in the northeast, I donít expect the storm to seriously threaten the area. One of the main reasons is the configuration of the upper winds at the end of the week. If you look at the map below, showing the flow at about 18,000 feet, you can see how the storm is far off the US mainland and will continue to move out to sea.

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The weather this week looks very nice and also very summery especially the first half of the week. Today features a lot of sunshine and warmer afternoon readings than the past several days. Highs will reach the 70s to near 80F with the warmest air inland. Itís another comfortable sleeping night as well on the way. Monday through Wednesday feature abundant sunshine and a warming trend. There will be big heat in the center of nation, but we will just see a small taste of it here.

The St. Louis area will have some of the warmest reading in the country this week. There are excessive heat warnings for that part of the country.

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Some inland areas could reach 90F either Tuesday or Wednesday as a southwest flow of air brings a small piece of the heat north.

Iíll be updating the forecast @growingwisdom on Twitter.


The map below shows high temperatures on Wednesday which are going to be similar to Tuesday as well.

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A cold front will push the heat and humidity (it will be more humid midweek) out to sea Wednesday night and Thursday. Drier and cooler air will then filter into the region for the second half of the week and looks to linger into the Labor Day weekend.

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