Extreme heat warnings and watches have been posted in several western states for the period through at least Monday.From West Texas north to Oregon and Idaho,and east to Colorado and New Mexico.the mercury is threatening to reach near record or record levels.
Death Valley,California,which owns the world record for heat at 134 degrees Fahrenheit,is expected to reach 129.Record highs may occur in such cities as Flagstaff,Arizona;Reno,Nevada;as well as Las Vegas.
Phoenix,Arizona may near 120 degrees Fahrenheit.
Isolated storms with little rain,known as dry thunderstorms,may strike the higher elevations of the Rocky Mountains and Great Basin,threatening wildfire outbreaks in those areas already hot and tinder dry.
The heat is being caused by a stubborn dome of high pressure,preventing cloud formation and rainfall.
Meanwhile,the East has been soaked by repeated thunderstorms in recent days,which may extend well into next week.Tropical air has parked itself over the region,threatening flash flooding in many locales.
Heat stroke and heat exhaustion are distinct possibilities in areas under heat warnings and watches,possibly with fatal consequences.Cooling centers are being set up in these communities.
The moon is at its closest to the earth for 2013 this weekend.It appears about 7% larger tonight,Friday night,because of being nearer to us in its elliptical,or egg-shaped,orbit at this time.I observed this to be the case tonight.
At its peak Saturday night into Sunday morning,this perigree full moon,as it is scientifically known,will appear to be up to 14% larger and 30% brighter,some 40,000 miles closer than at its farthest point from earth.
It is said you can notice it most readily when the moon is low in the sky and in the daytime.I saw the moon fairly high in the sky at night,yet it did look a bit larger,especially noticeable with binoculars,compared to how it usually looks in them.
Some are calling it the "super moon."
Areas of the Rocky Mountains have been plagued by both fire and flood recently.Powerful flood waters coursed through the Calgary,Alberta area Friday.About 75,000 have been evacuated from their homes,but only 1500 are in emergency shelters.Most have taken refuge with friends and relatives.
Three deaths have been reported so far.The water went as high as the tenth row at the ice rink of the Calgary Flames NHL team.The Calgary Stampede rodeo grounds were also inundated,with water reaching the roofs of barns at the site.
The flooding is attributed to a combination of prodigious Rocky Mountains snow melt and heavy rain swelling the Bow River.It extends as far south as Lethbridge,Alberta.The waters appear to have peaked in Calgary for the moment,but could still go higher,and other towns have yet to feel their full force.
Elsewhere in the Rocky Mountains,Colorado wildfires are among those causing the US Forest Service to spend 40% of its budget on firefighting.A total of 16 are currently burning in Colorado,some of them totally uncontained.Arizona and New Mexico are also struggling with conflagrations.
In Colorado,the East Peak fire is now at 9,000 acres and 0% containment.Ten buildings were destroyed,including a Boy Scouts ranch.The scouts were evacuated.The West Fork fire has grown to more than 18,000 acres,and the Wild Rose fire is another blaze that is also 0% contained at 850 acres.
On the plus side,the Black Forest fire was declared fully contained on Thursday.It had killed two people and destroyed 509 homes.Arson is suspected in that fire.
Ultimately,the question is whether global warming has contributed to both the fires and the flooding.One suspects that it has,since it is the context of everything weather-related in our world today.
After two rounds at the US Open at Merion Golf Club in Ardmore,Pennsylvania,veteran golfer Phil Mickelson,who turns 43 on Sunday,and Billy Horschel,26,top the leader board of the 113th national championship.The course is playing extremely tough in its old age.On Friday,it was virtually a birdie-free zone.
Mickelson was a case in point,with his only birdie of the day being the eighteenth hole,bringing him back to first place,tied with Horschel,after several holes at even par.I wasn't expecting to birdie there,Mickelson said,I thought I would par.The US Open trophy has so far eluded him,although he has come in second five times.
Horschel was amazingly accurate,hitting every green in regulation for a total of 31 out of 36 in the first two rounds.Clearly the Floridian will not be disappearing anytime soon,with his stated ambition of becoming one of the world's best golfers.
The leaders after two rounds:
Billy Horschel(USA) -1
Phil Mickelson(USA) -1
Luke Donald(ENG) E
Steve Stricker(USA) E
Justin Rose(ENG) E
Ian Poulter(ENG) E
Cheng Tsung Pan(TAI) E
John Senden(AUS) +1
Nicolas Colsaerts(BEL) +1
Charley Hoffman(USA) +1
USGA Executive Director Mike Davis said Merion has always been tough on the score side.It forces you to think.Great architecture yields great golf.
World Golf Hall of Fame member Colin Montgomerie said it was amazing for Mickelson to still have that hunger to try and win a grand slam,to birdie the hardest hole on the course at the end of a long,hard day.
I think the winner so far has been Merion.There's no question about that.It's amazing how the greens have stopped people from scoring.They are as tough as the greens at Augusta.
I think adaptation was the key this week.I don't feel the players have adapted.You've got to adapt to the conditions.This course is one of the best.It has everything.You have options.It's one fantastic golf course.
Update:In Saturday's third round,Phil Mickelson took sole possession of the lead with his 1 under par 70.
The course continued to evoke frustration,but Mickelson overrode this with his determination and experience,scoring three birdies-an improvement over his one birdie in the second round.Charl Schwartzel,Hunter Mahan and Steve Stricker shared second at even par.
The NBA's very long season is winding its way to a conclusion as the San Antonio Spurs lead the Miami Heat 1 game-0 in the championship series.The second game is Sunday night at 8pm Eastern on ABC.
The media focus is on Heat superstar LeBron James,who disappointed many in the first game with a performance that was rather poor by his very high standards.He only scored 18 points-his lowest total in the 2013 NBA Playoffs.He did log 18 rebounds and 10 assists,however.Is he worn out?
In cricket,West Indies defeated Pakistan by a score of 172/8(40.04 ov) to 170/10(48 ov).On Saturday,Australia takes on England.
The College World Series is slogging through the Super Regional round of sixteen on the Road to Omaha.Two games were postponed for inclement weather Friday.The results that did come in:UCLA 5,Cal State Fullerton 3;Louisiana State 2,Oklahoma 0.A full slate of eight games will played Saturday.
At the FedEx St.Jude Classic in Memphis,Tennessee,American Harris English,who will be 24 in July,seized the leader board with his excellent 10 under par 64.English is a University of Georgia alumnus in his second year on the PGA Tour.He has three top ten finishes so far in 2013,including sixth at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans,and is 69th on the money list.
The only well-known figure in the top positions on the leader board of the St.Jude Classic is Ian Poulter of England ,who is sharing tenth place with a number of others.Most of the golf stars are elsewhere getting ready for next weekend's national championship,the US Open,being held this year on a course with a reputation for being short,Merion Golf Club in Ardmore,Pennsylvania.
Update:In cricket,it was England defeating Australia by a score of 269/6(50 ov) to 221/9(50 ov).Sri Lanka will meet New Zealand on Sunday.
At the FedEx St.Jude Classic,Phil Mickelson surged up the leader board to sixth place with his strong third round seven under par 65.