Monday, July 04, 2011
Weather columnist Kevin Myatt: Country could use a quieter rest of year
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It's much too dry for fireworks on this Fourth of July in parts of the southern Plains, the Southwest, and some locations in the Deep South and Florida.
Wildfires are raging amid historic drought and heat waves in those regions, while floods choke rivers in the Upper Midwest and northern Plains. Meanwhile, some ski resorts are still open in the northern Rockies and Pacific Northwest -- a situation contributing to the flooding, as atypically heavy summer snowpack melts into waterways downstream.
America, on its 235th birthday, could use a meteorological breather.
At least tornado season has taken its typical midsummer hiatus.
There hasn't been a tornado fatality in the United States since June 1, when three people were killed in Massachusetts. That brought the Storm Prediction Center's preliminary count of tornado fatalities for 2011 to 537, making it already the worst year for tornado deaths in the U.S. since 1936.
Coastal residents are peering somewhat nervously toward the Atlantic, the Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico. It's been three years since a hurricane has made a direct landfall on the U.S. coastline. It would seem one is due.
Some inland residents in drought areas would welcome a slow-moving tropical system soaking them for a few days.
So that's the state of the nation at roughly the mid-point of summer. A slower second half of the year would be welcome by most of the country.
Locally, the Fourth of July looks like it typically does: Hot with scattered afternoon showers and storms. Whether it rains on your festivity or not will be a random matter.
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