Monday, July 21, 2014

Millions of Shipwrecked Lego Pieces Wash Ashore in Cornwall, England

By Allie Goolrick
Published: July 21,2014

It’s the best kind of treasure hunt: A pirate’s bounty that washes up piecemeal on the seashore, waiting for lucky beachcombers to stumble upon colorful gems in the sand.
Except that this loot is made up not of gold doubloons, but entirely of familiar bits of rainbow plastic.
For 17 years, Lego pieces have been washing up on the shores of Cornwall, England, mostly in nautical themes: There are spear guns, pirate-style cutlass swords, flippers, pieces of scuba gear and the rare and coveted octopus or dragon, according to
(MORE: Why Is 99 Percent of Ocean Trash Missing?)
It’s no big mystery where the popular kids' building parts originated. On February 5, 1997, New York-bound container ship the Tokio Express was nearly overturned by a rogue wave, tossing 62 containers into the sea about 20 miles off Land's End, the most westerly point in England, the BBC reports. One of the shipwrecked containers was brimming with nearly 5 million Lego pieces, which have been finding their way to Cornwall’s beaches ever since, as well as Devon, Ireland and Wales.
Tracey Williams, a local writer who runs a Facebook page that catalogues the discoveries, says that the plastic ‘pieces of eight’ still wash up daily. Just last week, a Lego scuba tank washed up in Perranporth in northern Cornwall. According to the Tokio’s Express’ cargo manifest, there were 97,500 tiny scuba tanks aboard the doomed vessel, along with millions of other miniscule gear.
Not surprisingly, it’s the more rare pieces of the vintage 'toy armada' that treasure hunters especially covet, according to the Washington Post.
"These days the holy grail is an octopus or a dragon. I only know of three octopuses being found, and one was by me, in a cave in Challaborough, Devon,” Williams told the BBC.  “It's quite competitive. If you heard that your neighbor had found a green dragon, you'd want to go out and find one yourself."
As much of a delight the quest for one-in-a-million find is for beachcombers, the case of the sunken Lego bounty is also intriguing for scientists.
US oceanographer Curtis Ebbesmeyer, who runs a website for beachcombers and has tracked the incident since it happened, says it’s a mystery why these particular types of Lego pieces have only washed up in the U.K. According to Ebbesmeyer, it would take roughly three years for sea debris (also known as flotsam) to travel from off the Cornwall coast to Florida. And until recently, few of the Lego pieces from the Tokio Express had surfaced anywhere else on the globe.
But the mystery may have a new twist: On July 18, 2014 a beach-goer in Australia found a mini flipper washed up on Port Phillip Bay, Melbourne.
It remains to be seen if the newly found flipper is part of the Tokio Express bounty, but for Ebbesmeyer, the find shows the difficulty of tracking ocean currents.
"Tracking currents is like tracking ghosts - you can't see them,” Ebbesmeyer told the BBC. “You can only see where flotsam started and where it ended up."
Though the strange treasure may be able to teach us something about ocean currents, the resilience of plastic in the oceans has environmental activists worried. After 17 years, the plastic plunder washes up looking nearly as good as the day the pieces were manufactured, if not a little sandy.
"If you look at the washed-up Lego, it looks perfect, like it's just come out of the box," Claire Wallerstein, head of a Cornwall beach care group, told the BBC. "Plastic in the sea is not going to just decompose and go away."
You can learn more about these finds HERE on Williams' Facebook page.
MORE: Lego Pieces Wash Ashore

Cornwall, England

South Devon, England
Some of the most common pieces to wash up, plus the coveted octopus and dragon. (Photo: Facebook/Lego Lost at Sea)

Washington, Oregon Wildfires Update: 1 Dead, 150 Homes Destroyed

July 21,2014 

Washington and Oregon are currently under siege from at least 20 major wildfires across the two states, fueled by dry, windy conditions. Both states, particularly Oregon, have been hit hard by drought, leading to dry foliage that's easily ignited by lightning strikes.
Temperatures have cooled down in the region on the heels of triple digit heat, providing much-needed relief for the thousands of firefighters trying to keep the flames at bay, but unfortunately changing weather conditions in the coming days won't provide much certainty for containment efforts, according to meteorologist Nick Wiltgen.
"The good news is that the cool down will last for several more days," said Wiltgen. "And by Wednesday, thunderstorms may develop in the area, bringing welcome rainfall."
"However, the bad news is that those thunderstorms will also bring severe weather and lightning strikes that could spark additional fires. Not only that, but by next weekend the Northwest should see temperatures soar back into the 90s to near 100."
With that said, here's a look at some of the major wildfires in Washington and Oregon:

View Larger Map

Washington Wildfires:

Carlton Complex Fire: (238,000 Acres Burned; 2 Percent Contained)

The Carlton Complex fire started in the Methow Valley in Okanogan County, Washington roughly 7 miles south of Twisp, Washington, after a lightning strike on July 14, 2014, and has since grown to become the largest wildfire in state history. The blaze measured nearly 379 square miles by Sunday, up from 260 square miles on Friday.
Favorable winds and temperatures helped firefighters make their first progress on the Carlton Complex fire, bringing containment up to 2 percent. Due to the sheer size of the blaze, firefighters decided to split their efforts into three fronts.
  • Rob Koczewski, 67, died of a heart attack trying to defend his Carlton, Washington, home from the flames, KING 5 reports.
  • Towns threatened Monday: Twisp, Winthrop, Alta Lake
  • Destroyed an estimated 150 homes
  • Nearly 1,400 firefighters are battling the blaze
  • Most of the Methow Valley remains without power or cell service. Restoring power could take weeks. 
  • More than 1100 additional structures are threatened.
  • Most of the homes were destroyed in or around Pateros, Washington, Thursday evening.

Chiwaukum Creek Fire: (11,000 Acres Burned; 10 Percent Contained)

The Chiwaukum Creek fire started after a lightning strike on July 15, 2014, and grew more than 3,000 acres Saturday, mostly toward the southern edge of the fire. Firefighters made progress on the fire Sunday into Monday afternoon, bringing containment numbers up to 10 percent. Forecasts call for the fire to potentially grow by 1,000 to 1,500 acres Monday.
  • Towns threatened Monday: Leavenworth
  • More than 1,580 structures threatened
  • Closed a roughly 15 mile stretch of U.S. Highway 2 From Coles Corner, Washington, to Leavenworth, Washington
  • Nearly 900 people were evacuated near Leavenworth

Mills Canyon Fire: (23,000 Acres Burned; 75 Percent Contained)

The Mills Canyon Fire started on July, 8, 2014. The cause of the fire is still under investigation. Firefighters continued to make progress establishing complete containment of the Mills Canyon Fire over the weekend and hope to squelch the blaze entirely in the coming days.

Buzzard Complex Fire: (396,000 Acres Burned; 75 Percent Contained)

The Buzzard Complex fire consists of seven separate fires burning through a large area in east-central, Oregon. The fire broke out after a lightning strike on July 14, 2014, in a remote area 45 miles northeast of Burns, Oregon and expanded rapidly across the area. Significant progress has been made in the last couple of days, with containment lines established around the blaze upping the total containment to 75 percent.
  • The fire claimed the lives of an unknown, but substantial, number of livestock across the area.
  • The fire's perimeter is at least 380 miles in size
  • All roads into the fire area are closed 

Shaniko Butte Fire: (42,000 Acres Burned; 50 Percent Contained)

The Shaniko Butte Fire developed after a lightning strike on July 13, 2014, on Shaniko Butte, some 12 miles to the north of Warm Springs, Oregon. The fire spread rapidly, but continued to make significant progress on the fire over the weekend. Firefighters expect the blaze to continue to grow to the southeast.
  • 108 structures are still threatened by the blaze
  • The popular recreational area along the Deschutes River was closed, but reopened over the weekend.

Waterman Complex Fire: (12,000 Acres Burned; 60 Percent Contained)

The Waterman Complex is comprised of four separate fires started via lightning on July 11, the most pressing of which is the Bailey Butte Fire, which had burned more than 9,745 acres and was just 50 percent contained. The fires are located roughly 20 miles northeast of Mitchell, Oregon.
  • Mandatory evacuations were in effect for 10 homes along West Branch Road.
  • Highway 26 is closed at the Ochocho summit and Mitchell, Oregon.
  • 37 structures are threatened by the blaze.

Pine Creek Fire: (30,000 Acres Burned; 35 Percent Contained)

The Pine Creek Fire was sparked by lightning in the Deschutes National Forest about 11 miles South of Fossil, Oregon. The blaze was expected to approach residences in Rowe Creek. Nearly 600 firefighters are attempting the halt the blaze and containment lines have been established around the perimeter.
  • Roads are closed in are due to fire and smoky conditions.
  • A temporary flight restriction was also in effect over the fire area. 
​For more information on all of the active wildfires in Oregon and Washington, click here.

Washington Wildfires: Carlton Complex Fire

Washington Wildfires: Carlton Complex Fire
A firefighter cools a tree in a line of fire Friday, July 18, 2014, in Winthrop, Wash.(AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

Atlantic Invest 92L Likely Depression

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 8:08PM,GMT on July 21,2014

(By Steve Gregory - Substituting for Dr. Masters who is on Vacation.)


Latest VIS and IR imagery suggests INVEST 92L is now a Tropical Depression, though NHC has not yet ‘called it’.

Fig 1: Latest VIS image of INVEST 92 about 1,200 NM east of the Lesser Antilles.

The low level circulation near 11.1N / 43.5W (about 1,200NM east of the Lesser Antilles) appears ‘closed’, with significant, though weak convection noted within 25NM of the center, along the S-SE side of the center.

Fig 2: The 85Ghz microwave image from a pass earlier today indicates convection is located very close to the low level circulation which I believe supports designating this system as a Depression.

The quite small developing cyclone is moving westward at 18 Kts, and is embedded in a relatively moist environment with low wind shear (<10Kts). However, the system is still located over relatively cool SST’s, and this does not support strong convection. Until the system gets closer the CARIB in about 48 hours, where SST’s exceed 28ᵒC, it is doubtful the system will be able to intensify beyond a minimal Tropical storm.

Fig 3: The latest SST analysis in the vicinity of 92L indicates SST’s are significantly below the threshold needed for deep convection and intensification beyond minimal storm intensity.

The large scale global models do not have a handle on this small system, but the specialized Tropical Cyclone models, initialized at 18Z, forecast the storm to track towards the CARIB, reaching the eastern CARIB late in the day THU or by early Friday. The statistically based intensity models show the cyclone becoming a tropical storm by then, though the more reliable dynamical models are NOT forecasting the system to show significant intensification – and at this time, this seems like the most likely solution as wind shear and drier air are likely to be encountered by the time the cyclone approaches the CARIB.

Fig 4: The Early 18Z cycle model runs are little changed from the early morning runs, but now show the system reaching the CARIB a bit earlier, reflecting the relatively fast forward motion that should continue as long as there is no deep convection.

Fig 5: The more reliable dynamical models do NOT intensify the cyclone – and this seems to be the most likely solution as the system should encounter a more hostile environment by the time it reaches the CARIB.

Update on CAT 1 MATMO

The latest GFS model run shows MATMO moving somewhat faster than earlier progged, and the Typhoon should reach the eastern coast of Taiwan as a strong CAT 2 Typhoon around 00Z Wednesday.

The next full update will be Tuesday afternoon unless conditions in the Atlantic warrant an earlier posting. Steve Gregory

Typhoon Matmo (Henry) Threatens the Philippines, Taiwan, China; Typhoon Warnings Issued

July 21,2014




Talking Points

- Typhoon Matmo is forecast to strengthen a bit more before landfall
- Typhoon warnings issued for nearly all of Taiwan; landfall likely Tuesday night local time
- Eastern China may be affected Wednesday night into Thursday.
- Wind alerts issued for parts of the northern Philippines; flash flood, landslides also a threat
Typhoon warnings have been issued for most of Taiwan as Typhoon Matmo (Philippines name: Henry) moves northwestward. Matmo is expected to make landfall on the main island of Taiwan during the day Tuesday (U.S. time).
Matmo is the third typhoon to threaten the western Pacific Basin in less than three weeks.
(RECAPS: Super Typhoon Neoguri | Super Typhoon Rammasun)

Infrared Satellite

Infrared Satellite

Strengthening Forecast

Typhoon Matmo formed well east of the Philippines, near the island of Yap on Thursday. Matmo strengthened into a typhoon (equivalent to hurricane-strength in the Atlantic or eastern Pacific basins) on Saturday. Since then, it has struggled to gain strength, but has managed to increase its maximum sustained winds to an estimated 90 mph as of 8 p.m. EDT Monday, according to the Joint Typhoon Warning Center.
With little vertical wind shear (changes in wind speed and direction with height) over the warm 85-degree waters of the Philippine Sea, Matmo still has some potential to strengthen before reaching Taiwan in the late morning or midday hours Tuesday (U.S. time). However, Matmo has been ingesting some dry air into its circulation recently, and that seems to be limiting its potential.

Impact: The Philippines

Matmo is expected to continue moving in a northwesterly direction over the next few days, following the steering currents in the upper atmosphere. The center of Matmo was just over 100 miles east-northeast of the northernmost islands of the Philippines as of late Monday evening (U.S. time).
But that doesn't mean there won't be some impacts in the Philippines.
The Philippine national weather agency, PAGASA, has hoisted "Public Storm Warning Signal No. 2" for the Batanes Islands, a small group of islands lies about halfway between the country's major northern island, Luzon, and the southern tip of Taiwan. The storm signal means winds of 61-100 kph (38 to 62 mph) are expected in at least 24 hours. The Batanes Islands have a population of about 16,000.
Basco, capital of the Batanes province, reported sustained northerly winds of 33 mph (just shy of tropical-storm force) as of 10 p.m. EDT Monday (U.S. time).
A "Public Storm Warning Signal No. 1" remains in effect for Cagayan province in the far northeastern part of Luzon. The storm signal means winds of 30 to 60 kph (19 to 37 mph) are expected in at least 36 hours. Cagayan province has just over 1.1 million people.
In addition, heavy rainbands on the west and southwest sides of the circulation of Matmo (Henry) may trigger flash flooding and mudslides over particularly northern Luzon, still saturated from heavy rainfall from Typhoon Rammasun.
(FORECAST: Manila)

Impact: Taiwan, China, Korea, Japan

Typhoon Matmo is tracking directly toward Taiwan. It will likely become the first typhoon to make landfall in Taiwan this year.
As of late Monday evening (U.S. time), the center of Matmo was about 340 miles southeast of Taipei, which is on the far northern part of Taiwan.
Matmo could be a Category 2 or stronger equivalent tropical cyclone as it approaches Taiwan late Tuesday night or early Wednesday local time (around midday Tuesday U.S. time), bringing with it the threat of damaging winds and extremely heavy rainfall leading to landslides on this mountainous island.
Taiwan's Central Weather Bureau has issued a typhoon warning for the entire main island of Taiwan and the offshore islands of Ludao and Lanyu, southeast of Taiwan.
The typhoon's effects are already being felt on those smaller islands. According to the CWB, Lanyu reported a 91-mph wind gust at 11:15 a.m. local time Tuesday. Sustained tropical storm-force winds of up to 45 mph have already been reported there.
Just east of Taiwan, the far southwestern islands of Japan (including Ishigakijima) will feel some effects. The Japan Meteorological Agency has issued warnings for high waves, and advisories for gale-force winds and thunderstorms, for some of those islands. The main island of Okinawa may see some peripheral effects from high waves and thunderstorms.
Beyond Taiwan, Matmo is expected to make landfall in eastern China somewhere south of Shanghai, most likely in the provinces of Fujian or Zhejiang, on Thursday. At this time, the nearest pass of the center of Matmo to Shanghai looks to be early Friday, local time (China is 12 hours ahead of U.S. EDT). At that point, Matmo's center is expected to be west of Shanghai and will have been inland for quite some time already, weakening significantly.
There is some chance that Matmo could then recurve northeastward and strike the Korean Peninsula by the weekend. That will depend in part on whether Matmo can survive its trek across land in eastern China; the farther west Matmo goes into China, the less the chance any meaningful cyclone will be left to deflect into Korea later.
Interests in the northern Philippines, Taiwan, eastern China, and the Koreas should continue to monitor the progress of this system closely.
(FORECAST: Taipei | Shanghai | Kadena)
MORE ON WEATHER.COM: Super Typhoon Rammasun (Glenda) Photos
People repair a house destroyed by Typhoon Rammasun in Batangas, southwest of Manila on July 17, 2014, a day after the storm barreled over the region . (Ted Aljibe/Getty Images)

This Date in Weather History for July 21,2014 from

Weather History
For Monday,July 21,2014
1911 - The temperature at Painter, WY, dipped to 10 degrees to equal the record low for July for the continental U.S. (The Weather Channel)
1934 - The temperature reached 109 degrees at Cincinnati, OH, to cap their hottest summer of record. The state record for Ohio was established that day with a reading of 113 degrees near the town of Gallipolis. (David Ludlum)
1975 - Six inches of rain fell across Mercer County, NJ, in just ten hours causing the worst flooding in twenty years. Assunpink Creek crested eleven feet above flood stage at Hamilton and Trenton, the highest level of record. Traffic was brought to a standstill, and railway service between New York City and Washington D.C. was cut off for two days. Flooding left 1000 persons homeless, and caused an estimated 25 million dollars damage. (David Ludlum)
1987 - Thunderstorms produced severe weather from Utah to North Dakota, spawning a dozen tornadoes in North Dakota. Thunderstorms in North Dakota also produced baseball size hail at Clifford which caused four million dollars damage, and high winds which toppled a couple of eighty foot towers cutting off power to the town of Blanchard. (The National Weather Summary) (Storm Data)
1988 - While cool air invaded the central U.S., unseasonably hot weather continued over the western states. The temperature at Spring Valley, NV, soared from a morning low of 35 degrees to an afternoon high of 95 degrees. Fallon, NV, reported an all-time record high of 108 degrees, and Death Valley, CA, reported their sixth straight day of 120 degree heat. (The Weather Channel) (The National Weather Summary)
1989 - Afternoon thunderstorms over Florida produced wind gusts to 92 mph at Jacksonville, damaging thirteen light planes at Herlong Field. Five cities in Texas reported record low temperatures for the date. Corpus Christi, TX, equalled their record low for the date with a reading of 71 degrees, and then tied their record high for the date that afternoon with a reading of 97 degrees. (The National Weather Summary) (Storm Data)

Tropical Depression Two Forms in Atlantic, May Strengthen Into Tropical Storm

By , Expert Senior Meteorologist
July 21,2014; 9:15PM,EDT
A disturbance that has been upgraded to Tropical Depression Two on Monday will continue to move westward across the Atlantic could become the named system to impact populated areas in 2014.
According to AccuWeather Hurricane Expert Dan Kottlowski, "A well-organized disturbance rolling across the Atlantic this week will be in an environment favorable for rapid strengthening during the next few days."
"It is possible we have the second Atlantic tropical storm of the season by the middle of the week."

Thus far the Atlantic has only yielded one hurricane, Arthur, which brushed part of the East Coast during early July.
Bertha is the second name on the list of named Atlantic tropical storms on the list for 2014.
"The system will be moving over sufficiently warm water and low shear through midweek," Kottlowski said.

Shear is a zone of strong, generally west to east flowing winds above the surface of the ocean that can disrupt tropical systems.
AccuWeather Hurricane and Typhoon Center
Satellite Loop of Tropical Atlantic
Train of Typhoons Continues in Western Pacific: Matmo to Threaten Taiwan, China

Wind shear is rather strong over most of the Atlantic Basin early this week, as has been the case during much of the season thus far.
Later this week, the system will approach the southern part of the Leeward Islands, part of the Lesser Antilles, which border the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean.
"There is a chance wind shear may increase near the Lesser Antilles as the system approaches, but this is certainly a storm for interests to watch in the Lesser Antilles to Puerto Rico," Kottlowski said.

On Social Media
FOX 5 Storm Team
Tropics Heating Up! RT @myfoxhurricane: Tropical Depression Two Forms in South Central Atlantic; Will Be Short-Lived
WKYC Weather
#BREAKING: Tropical depression forms in central Atlantic. Details shortly on
970 WFLA
Second Tropical Depression Forms in the Atlantic | Operation Storm Watch on 970 WFLA… via @970wfla

DC, NYC, Boston to Turn Sticky Again But Not For Long

By , Senior Meteorologist
July 21,2014; 9:12PM,EDT
Very warm and humid air will surge back across the mid-Atlantic and Northeast for the first part of the week, but the sticky air's presence will not last long.
As high pressure moves off the Atlantic Coast, the door will open for the steamy air to spread over the rest of the Northeast Tuesday through Wednesday.
It is not just an increase in humidity headed to the Northeast and mid-Atlantic but also soaring temperatures.

Wednesday is shaping up to be the hottest day of the new week with temperatures reaching or cracking the 90-degree mark in Washington, D.C., Baltimore, Philadelphia and Newark, New Jersey.
Albany and Syracuse, New York; Hartford, Connecticut; Boston; Concord, New Hampshire; and Burlington, Vermont, will also heat up to around 90 F.
AccuWeather RealFeel® temperatures will surge well into the 90s in many urban areas in the I-95 zone on Wednesday afternoon. In parts of Virginia, Maryland, Delaware and interior New Jersey, RealFeel temperatures may approach 100 degrees for a time.
Forecast Temperature Maps Severe Weather Center
Northeast Interactive Radar

A breeze from the ocean will keep temperatures in check at most beaches.
The combination of the heat and humidity will create hazards and challenges for those who must engage in strenuous labor or those with respiratory issues. Remember to never leave children or pets in your vehicle, even for just a short time.
There will be little, if any, cooling thunderstorms to bring temporary relief each afternoon along the I-95 corridor of the Northeast through Wednesday.

Washington, D.C., and Baltimore have the greatest opportunity of a spotty afternoon thunderstorm sneaking in from the northern and western suburbs.
The majority of thunderstorm activity through Tuesday will be confined to the South and Appalachians. Storms much of North Carolina and portions of South Carolina, Georgia and Alabama produced heavy rainfall on Monday. Some of the slow-moving, repeating storms caused flash flooding. A similar setup is possible in parts of the South on Tuesday.
A round of thunderstorms will dot the South and Appalachians on Wednesday as a cold front threatens the Ohio Valley and eastern Great Lakes with severe thunderstorms in the afternoon and evening. Violent thunderstorms will first target the North Central U.S. early in the week.
The front will mark the leading edge of a fresh shot of cooler and less humid air dropping down from Canada and set to sweep into the Northeast by Friday. meteorologists will be monitoring the potential for severe weather along the I-95 corridor as the front swings through on Thursday.
Latest indications point toward places from Philadelphia, New York City and Boston escaping severe weather since the timing of the front's passage and peak daytime heating will not align.
The southern mid-Atlantic, Carolinas and Georgia is where the stage may be set for the front to touch off damaging thunderstorms later Thursday.

On Social Media
Rex Von Hefeweizen
contemplating turning the air down because it's so sticky humid hmmm tough choices
A surge of warmer, more humid air on the way to the Northeast to start the week:

Strong Storms to Target Cincinnati, Pittsburgh Wednesday

By Jordan Root, Meteorologist
July 21,2014; 9:09PM,EDT
As steamy summer air returns to the Great Lakes and Northeast through the midweek, so will the threat of strong thunderstorms.
Wednesday could turn rather active from upstate New York through the Ohio Valley as storms rumble through the region.
"The strongest storms could bring wind gusts up to 60 mph and heavy rain that could lead to flooding," said AccuWeather Senior Storm Meteorologist Kate Danna.

Cities that could be affected include Cincinnati, Ohio; Columbus, Ohio; Cleveland, Ohio; Youngstown, Ohio; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; Erie, Pennsylvania; Buffalo, New York; Rochester, New York; Syracuse, New York; and Burlington, Vermont.
Storms will likely begin developing in the early afternoon and will continue through the evening.
The kicker for the storms will be a cold front that will slice through hot and humid air that's in place.

The arrival of that air will come early this week, ending the unusual cool spell that was placed on much of the eastern half of the country last week.
After eight consecutive days of high temperatures at or below normal, Pittsburgh will end that streak this week as temperatures soar upwards to near 90.
Dew points, a measure of moisture in the atmosphere, will climb to around 70 for many locations. This will be a noticeable difference from the pleasant 50s that were around a few days ago.
Ohio Valley Radar Severe Weather Center
Early Week Severe Storms Target Minneapolis, Fargo

With the atmosphere saturated with moisture, there will be a heightened risk for torrential downpours. Flash flooding will threaten communities and could cause travel delays.
"Locations where storms linger will be the most susceptible for flooding," said Danna.
The threat for strong storms will shift to the southeast for Thursday. Southern Virginia through the Carolinas will be at the greatest risk while much of the I-95 corridor misses out on the strong storms.
"Latest indications point toward places from Philadelphia and New York City northward escaping severe weather since the timing of the front's passage and peak daytime heating will not align," said Senior Meteorologist Kristina Pydynowski.
Although the cold front will bring strong storms, it will also usher in another shot of cool and pleasant air for the end of the week and into the weekend across the Great Lakes and Northeast.
The storms at midweek will follow an active early part of the week across the northern Plains to the western Great Lakes.

On Social Media
AccuFan #Weather Photo of the Day: After the Rain in NJ by "hpaich" 7/17/14 #PhotooftheD...
Cory Mottice
Some perspective on how close the wildfire (now managed) is to the @NWSFlagstaff office (~11 miles away). #azwx

Midweek Rain to Help Battle Northwest Wildfires

By Jordan Root, Meteorologist
July 21,2014; 9:08PM,EDT
With the recent scorching heat wave fading away into the past, more relief will greet the Northwest by midweek in the form of rain.
A disturbance is expected to dive into the Pacific Northwest as Wednesday approaches, bringing an uptick in moisture across the bone-dry regions of the interior northwestern United States and western Canada.
Widespread showers and locally heavy thunderstorms will target several states and provinces currently dealing with large and devastating wildfires.

Local residents will surely welcome any rain that does fall as much of July has been abnormally dry.
As a result, the Northwest has turned into a tinder-box, with several large wildfires developing and threatening lives and property.
The rain will aid firefighters in battling the dangerous blazes which have already consumed hundreds of houses and burned hundreds of thousands of acres.
A crew member aboard the International Space Station captured this image of wildfires burning in Washington on July 19th. (Note: south is at the top of the frame). (Photo: NASA) Enlarge
"The cooler and wetter pattern should help crews make significant gains in containing these blazes," said Meteorologist Mike Doll.
Most of these fires were started earlier in the week by lightning strikes from dry thunderstorms. With more low-level moisture expected to stream in by the middle of the week, the threat for additional wildfires to ignite will be lower.
WATCH: Relief From Northwest Fires Coming
Heat to Ease, but Wildfires Persist
Northwest Interactive Radar

The bulk of the rain will fall on Wednesday into early Thursday before the system departs the region.
Temperatures will continue to tumble as the system approaches, straying away from the sizzling weather that plagued all of July so far.
Many locations are running 8 to 10 degrees above normal for the month.

Spokane, Washington, recorded a 12-day stretch of temperatures in the 90s. Every day in July so far has featured high temperatures at or above average for the city. That will change though with the arrival of cooler air.
"Temperatures will be 20 to 30 degrees lower by Thursday compared to temperatures during the middle to latter part of last week," said Doll.
The heat that was in place across the Northwest will continue to push east, making its way into the Plains and Upper Midwest. The arrival of the heat could spark severe storms from the Dakotas to the Great Lakes.

On Social Media
AccuFan #Weather Photo of the Day: After the Rain in NJ by "hpaich" 7/17/14 #PhotooftheD...
Cory Mottice
Some perspective on how close the wildfire (now managed) is to the @NWSFlagstaff office (~11 miles away). #azwx
AccuFan #Weather Photo of the Day: Lightning Over Wigan by "TheDaveWalker" 7/19 #PhotooftheDay
Cory Mottice
Had a 47 degree swing in temperatures today in Bellemont, AZ. Last night's low was 37 and we hit 84 this afternoon. #azwx Videos
Breaking: Storm Forming in Nation's Midsection
Another winter storm is targeting the Midwest and Northeast.
On this day in 1957, temperatures reached 102 degrees in Baltimore, MD, a record high for the date #wxhistory
AccuFan #Weather Photo of the Day: Chasing the Sun by"Reallyintolerant" taken 7/19/14 #PhotooftheDay
Elliot Abrams
Chicago NWS Alert: Special Weather Statement issued July 21 at 8:47PM CDT by NWS: ...HOT AND HUMI... #accuweather

An Unlikely Impact: Drought Provides Refined California Surf

By Katy Galimberti, Staff Writer
July 21,2014; 9:07PM,EDT

As California continues to be plagued by intense drought conditions, some surfers are reaping what may be one of very few benefits to such a dry season.
The lack of storms make for smaller, "cleaner" waves according to Austin Gendron, a surf forecaster for Those missing storms are causing California to wait for relieving rains as drought grips the state. Still, some surfers are finding a positive connection.
"It all comes up to timing," Gendron said.
With less turbulence in the water, surfers can ride without being interrupted by another wave coming from behind, making for a tamer experience. As Gendron explained, you could surf during messier conditions, but most surfers would rather the type of waves California has been experiencing as a result of minimal storm activity.
As of July 17, all of California is considered to be in a minimum of severe drought with 36 percent of the state in an exceptional drought, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor.
Conditions that brought severe drought to California also made for cleaner waves as area surfers enjoyed peak conditions past the normal time frame. (Thinkstock/istock/EpicStockMedia)
When storms that could provide needed rainfall to the state don't make it to land, the swells remain farther out at sea. Thus rain does not hit land and the waves are smaller, though more gentle.
December produces the best surfing conditions for central California, Gendron explained.
While the central coast of California is rarely without waves, Gendron explained that conditions this past winter were ideal. The conditions made the waves "surfable," rather than storms creating choppy waves that are typically "unsurfable."
Summer Travel: Top Tips to Avoid Extreme Weather, Keep You Safe on Vacation
California Drought 'Emaciates' Hawks and Owls, Forces a Lost Generation
Interactive California Radar

For example, San Francisco can be a dangerous location with strong currents, walls of whitewater surfs and bitterly cold air. Usually only expert surfers would be able to keep up with the untamed area waves. With the lack of brewing storms for the area, surfers with less experience were able to ride during favorable conditions.
"This past winter there were big days, but most of the time it was average with clean conditions which made it special for everyone who wasn't an expert," Gendron said.
Prime waves usually hit during the fall, but stretched into December and January, pleasing area surfers. The lack of storms did not bode well for California, however, as the area is still trying to overcome the severely dry conditions.
Until needed rainfall graces California, surfers will continue finding the best of an exhaustive weather impact.

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AccuFan #Weather Photo of the Day: After the Rain in NJ by "hpaich" 7/17/14 #PhotooftheD...
Cory Mottice
Some perspective on how close the wildfire (now managed) is to the @NWSFlagstaff office (~11 miles away). #azwx

Derecho Continues to Race Eastward, Eyes Minnesota

By , Senior Meteorologist
July 21,2014; 7:39PM,EDT
Heat and humidity building across the North Central states will fuel potentially damaging thunderstorms over a broad area through Tuesday.
A storm system emerging from the Rockies will fuel severe thunderstorms in a west-to-east fashion from the Dakotas to the western Great Lakes Monday afternoon through Tuesday.
Severe thunderstorms erupted across North Dakota on Monday night and will continue to race East to Duluth, Minnesota and perhaps Minneapolis.
The greatest threat from the storm setup will be high winds that can cause property damage, knock out power and down scores of trees.
According to Severe Weather Expert Henry Margusity, "It is possible the complex of storms develops into a derecho."
A derecho is defined by the Storm Prediction Center as producing damaging winds along a swath of at least 240 miles.

Some communities may also be hit by large hail, flooding downpours and a short-lived tornado.
North Central Interactive Radar Severe Weather Center MinuteCast™ meteorologists are especially concerned for widespread damaging winds in the corridor from the eastern border of the Dakotas to the Minneapolis and Duluth areas.
The severity of the thunderstorms will decrease somewhat Tuesday morning, but flooding and blinding downpours and gusty winds will still be a concern across northern Wisconsin. Heavy rain will also pour down across the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and into central Ontario.
A new line of severe thunderstorms will then erupt to the south and east later Tuesday from around the northern part of Lake Michigan to Iowa.

Cities in Tuesday's threat zone include Green Bay, Milwaukee and Madison, Wisconsin, and Waterloo, Cedar Rapids and Davenport, Iowa.
Violent thunderstorms will then continue pressing to the south and east into the Lower Peninsula of Michigan, northern Illinois and northern Missouri Tuesday evening and into the night. Chicago lies in the threat zone.
"It is possible the second complex of storms brings high winds and damage over a sizable swath," Margusity said.
The Tuesday evening commute is most at risk in Chicago and Milwaukee. As the storms roll through, there is the risk of a ground stop and substantial flight delays.
A key ingredient to the impending severe weather danger across the northern Plains and Upper Midwest is the building heat and humidity that will bring some communities the hottest weather so far this summer.
The heat comes on the heels of the record chill that caused the start of the recent week to feel more like September or early October than the middle of July.
After the high of 65 F last Monday set a record for the day's coolest high temperature, Minneapolis is set to have its hottest day of the year. Through July 20, the highest the temperature has been at the Twin Cities is 90 degrees.
The passage of the severe weather will open the door for more comfortable air to return to the North Central states for midweek. A repeat of the record chill from last is not in the offing.
As that occurs, meteorologists expect the severe weather danger to shift to the Ohio Valley and eastern Great Lakes on Wednesday then the southern mid-Atlantic and Carolinas on Thursday.

AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Alex Sosnowski contributed content to this story.

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Elinor McMillan
Severe thunderstorm warning for the counties of Traverse in W Central Minnesota and Roberts in NE South Dakota until 10:45pm CDT #mnwx #sdwx
Derecho Continues to Race Eastward, Eyes Minnesota - :

Pittsburgh: Temperatures, Humidity on the Rise Into Midweek

July 21,2014; 7:06PM,EDT
Temperatures and humidity levels around Pittsburgh will remain at typical levels for the middle of summer into the middle of the week.
Highs will be within a couple of degrees of 90 F Tuesday and Wednesday. AccuWeather RealFeel® temperatures will reach well into the 90s for a few hours during the afternoons.
Increasing humidity and warmer temperatures will set the stage for some thunderstorms. Much of the activity will be limited to the afternoon and will generally occur over the mountains to the east through Tuesday.

Thunderstorms that move through on Wednesday afternoon have the potential to be strong, as a cold front approaches the region.
Detailed Pittsburgh Forecast
AccuWeather Severe Weather Center
Interactive Pittsburgh Radar

Cooler, drier air will work in behind the front and conditions will become notably less humid with plenty of sunshine by week's end.
By Meteorologist Chyna Glenn

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AccuFan #Weather Photo of the Day: Lightning over Florida Golf Course by "hyper71" 7/10/14 #Photooft...
Mike Smith
70+mph winds moving into Bismarck and just north. Tornado warning in red polygon to north. Radar 5:01pm. #ndwx