Monday, June 25, 2012

More Record Heat Possible This Week

By Jay Grymes & Steve Caparotta

Looks like we’ve traded the threat of a tropical storm for excessive heat! Metro Airport’s 101° sets a new record high for this date, and today is the “hottest” day since August 18th of last year.

Our forecast through the coming week calls for mostly sunny days through Thursday, with highs each day climbing into the upper 90°s to around the century mark. For those working outdoors, add in the humidity and the effects of direct sunshine and the mid-afternoon Heat Index will have a “feels like” temperature closer to 110° to 115°! Needless to say, if you are going to be working outdoors, remember to take frequent “escape breaks” from the heat and drink plenty of water.

A building ridge of high pressure centered over the Southern Plains is reaching all the way to southeast Louisiana, and that ridge is the primary driver for the week’s extra-hot forecast. In fact, we are getting a little benefit from T.S. Debby’s circulation -- her counterclockwise flow is creating a north to northeast wind, transporting slightly “drier” (less humid) air into our WAFB neighborhoods. Dewpoints at Metro Airport this afternoon have dropped into the mid and even low 60°s -- think how much more oppressive the air would feel with our traditional summertime flow off the Gulf, with dewpoints in the 70°s!

As for Debby -- ‘she’ appears headed into Florida, and ‘she’ may be picking up a little forward speed along the way. But through much of today, Debby has weakened and become a little less organized, with peak sustained winds estimated at 45 mph. The current thinking is that Debby will remain at or near that intensity and that she’ll go inland somewhere in or near the “Big Bend” section of Florida as a minimal tropical storm on Wednesday. But Debby has already had a huge impact on Florida, with rains of more than 10” in some locations and a preliminary count of 18 tornadoes scattered across the peninsula.

Debby has also had a modest impact in Louisiana, prompting the NWS to issue a Coastal Flood Advisory for the southeastern coastal parishes and for the shorelines around lakes Pontchartrain and Maurepas. But assuming that Debby maintains an eastbound trajectory, the coastal advisory may be discontinued on Tuesday.

The NHC is not ready to close the book on Debby after ‘her’ Florida landfall: the NHC anticipates that Debby will weaken while crossing the Florida peninsula, but will emerge into the western Atlantic and potentially return to tropical storm strength! Stay tuned!

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