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Mystery of the July 2013 heat wave

Thermometer reading 100 degrees Fahrenheit

July 2013 will be remembered for an oppressive heat wave that settled over the east coast, eventually drifting as far inland as the Mid West. Bringing temperatures in the high 90s and even into the low three-figures in some areas, this particular heat still has scientists baffled because of it's unexplainable behavior.

Generally, high pressure systems that bring summer heat waves tend to sweep across the country from west to east. This system drifted westward of the Atlantic coast and settled over a large swath of the country holding entire states from Illinois down to Tennessee hostage under record high pressure, humidity and scorching heat for more than a week.

A rare phenomenon

"It's definitely unusual and going the wrong way. This is pretty rare," Jon Gottschalck, the operations chief at the National Weather Service, said to the Huffington Post.

Gottschalck explained that this peculiar heat wave was a result of a normally stationary high pressure system known as the Bermuda High. This semi permanent area of high pressure usually forms over the Atlantic during the summer and the clockwise circulation of warm air around it usually results in warm humid conditions throughout the south east. This high pressure system appears to have suddenly become mobile and slowly shifted as far west as southern Michigan. What scientists still can't explain is why it moved in the first place and what caused it to move "backwards across the country.

The incredible heat was particularly devastating in the Mid Atlantic, where hundreds of thousands of residents lost power for several days. The temperature also took much longer to break here, as most of the country had gotten relief from the heat at least a full three days before cooler weather returned to much of the East Coast.

Dangerous heat

Heat is the number one weather related cause of death in the U.S. While the East Coast sweltered, a separate system was baking the western states, claiming a number of lives. Last year in Baltimore alone 13 people died in a similar long-lasting heat wave.

It's impossible to predict how mother nature will behave or if this strange mobile Bermuda High phenomenon will reoccur. If it does, or if some other oppressive heat system takes up residence over your area, be ready. Call John C.Flood and have your house protected with quality energy efficient units from our Washington D.C., Gaithersburg MD, and Arlington, VA AC installation, maintenance and repair specialists. Our experienced technicians are locally based and can quickly respond to your calls. Don't let another heat wave catch you unprepared.