Monday, July 23, 2012

Drier, A Bit Hotter This Week

By Jay Grymes & Steve Caparotta

Many of us finally saw a break from the persistent rains on Sunday, with coverage being notably lower than during most of the previous week.  Our Monday afternoon forecast update for the coming 5 to 7 days keeps us on a “drier” path, with only 20% to 30% rain chances posted for each day through the coming weekend.

At the surface, the Atlantic High (more commonly referred to as the “Bermuda High” when it is impacting the Gulf Coast region) will be a major influence as it extends across the eastern half of the Gulf.  Coastal Louisiana and Mississippi will come under the influence of the circulation around its western extent, which means a steady flow from Gulf to land, keeping low-level moisture in place.

Such a set-up (we often refer to this inflow from the Gulf as “return flow”) would normally mean better afternoon rain chances in the summer, given the daytime heating to provide lift to the low-level Gulf moisture.  But working against the “return flow” set-up will be mid/upper-level ridging -- centered over the U.S. Plains and extending southeastward and over the Bayou State.

So plan on more “dry” days than “wet” ones this week, with partly cloudy afternoons and highs climbing into the low to mid 90°s each day.  With the low-level moisture remaining in place through the week, we can expect dew point temps routinely running in the mid 70°s, a reflection of our anticipated morning minimums.

It remains relatively quiet across the tropical Atlantic for the time being.  A broad area of low pressure currently extends from the NE Gulf across the Florida Peninsula, but that area is expected to move north and inland before it has any opportunity to develop into something more threatening.  We also see several tropical waves tracking west-to-east across the basin, including a healthy looking complex about to enter the extreme eastern Atlantic off the coast of Africa.  But there is nothing unusual about that at this time of year, and for the time being, none of these waves appears likely to develop any time soon.

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