Thursday, May 17, 2012

Summer-like into the Weekend

By Jay Grymes & Steve Caparotta

Thursday was quite the warm day with ample sunshine, but the humidity wasn’t bad at as dewpoints stayed in the 50°s and 60°s.  All in all, it was a rather nice day!  And we expect much the same for Friday, although it may be a degree or two warmer and just a tad more humid by the afternoon. If you plan on heading downtown for Live After Five, it should be dry, but be ready for a warm start!

Our forecast keeps the days mainly dry for both Saturday and Sunday, but a return flow pattern (air coming in from the Gulf) will mean rising humidity levels.  With the added humidity and highs around the 90° mark for both Saturday and Sunday afternoon, both days will feel almost ‘summer-like.’   Expect the Heat Index -- even in the shade -- to reach the mid 90°s for some neighborhoods over the weekend.  And there will be plenty of sunshine to boot, adding to the ‘feels like’ temperature and highlighting the need for sunscreen!

We’ve talked about it through much of the week: ridging in the middle layers of the atmosphere has taken charge of the weather for the Gulf Coast and the southeastern U.S. and will remain in force through the weekend and into Monday.  The broad ridge will reduce cloud development over the next few days, all but squash any rain chances, and even add to the daytime heating as a result of subsidence (sinking air, which quickly warms as it descends towards the ground).

Our current forecast calls for dry weather through Monday, with only a slight chance of rain for Tuesday into Wednesday.  At the same time, the 7-day forecast keeps daytime highs in the upper 80°s to around 90° each day -- warmer than normal through most or all of next week.

So enjoy the weekend, but please take care in the mid-day heat and be cautious about the sun exposure!

And speaking of the sun, parts of 8 U.S. states will get to witness an "annular" solar eclipse on Sunday.

The "ring of fire" name is derived from the fact that at its peak, 94% of the sun will be covered by the moon, resulting in what looks like a "ring of fire" for those able to see the eclipse at its best. The graphic below from NASA shows the areas that will be able to see the "annular" eclipse.

Courtesy: NASA

Unfortunately, the eclipse will begin so close to sunset here in south Louisiana that most of us are unlikely to see much. With a clear unobstructed view to the west, you may briefly catch a partial eclipse before the sun disappears below the horizon.

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