Tuesday, May 22, 2012

More Heat!

By Jay Grymes & Steve Caparotta

DEQ issued an “Ozone Action Day” for today, but it looks like ozone levels on Tuesday may peak-out below the “Code Orange” criterion.  Unfortunately, the forecast for Wednesday is also a Code “Orange” forecast, prompting another “Ozone Action Day.”  Let’s hope that this does not become a persistent pattern for the summer of 2012!  Elevated concentrations of low-level ozone are potentially problematic (“unhealthy”) for sensitive individuals: mainly the very young, the elderly, and those already afflicted with respiratory problems.  If you or a family member or friend fall within one of these categories, we encourage sufferers to limit their time outdoors, especially during the middle and late afternoon on Wednesday.

In the tropics, Alberto succumbed to the stresses of wind shear and dry air and was formally downgraded from a tropical depression to a post-tropical low during Tuesday morning, with what’s left of Alberto soon to be absorbed by a mid-latitude system. 
As a side note, the NOAA/National Hurricane Center will be issuing their official tropical outlook for the 2012 season on Thursday.  A consensus “average” of more than a half-dozen pre-season forecasts currently available from various university-based and consulting meteorological groups calls for something on the order of 10-12 ‘named’ storms this season.  That’s below the ‘average for 1995-2010, and well below the 19 ‘named storms’ recorded in both 2010 and 2011.
As for our local weather, you’ve surely noted the heat this week.  And yes, more of the same is on the way.  At the same time, the humidity will slowly creep upwards, as reflected by morning lows climbing into the low 70°s over the Memorial Day weekend! 
Isolated showers and t-storms began popping up on Titan9 Doppler this afternoon thanks to the daytime heating and the moist-and-unstable air near the surface.  As of 4:00PM, it doesn’t look like the storms will get as energized as some of those we saw on Monday afternoon and evening, but we can’t rule out the possibility of one or two storms getting quite strong.  With the upper-level flow still mainly north-to-south, this is the set-up that can produce some storms with frequent lightning and hail.
All should settle-down soon after sunset, with a relatively quiet night on tap and lows dipping into the mid to upper 60°s by Wednesday’s sunrise.  We’ll allow for a very slight chance of a shower or two on Wednesday afternoon, but the day looks to be mainly dry and downright hot with highs in the low 90°s for many WAFB neighborhoods.
Hot, humid and mainly dry -- that’s the forecast for Thursday through Sunday, with morning lows in the upper 60°s to near 70° and highs in the low 90°s.  Into the extended outlook, we’ll bring a 20% rain chance into Monday’s (Memorial Day’s) forecast with a 20% to 30% chance for Tuesday.

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