Monday, June 24, 2013

A Bit Drier Rest of This Week

A surge of Gulf moisture and a little added instability in the atmosphere helped rains get cranking around the area a bit earlier than normal today. As a result, much of the activity had shifted north of the WAFB viewing area by mid-afternoon, although there were some pockets of heavy rainfall still located in SW Mississippi.

After near-normal rain coverage over the last couple of days, the trend will be toward somewhat drier weather through the remainder of the week. An upper-level ridge of high pressure will remain centered well to our west, but its eastern flank will expand in our direction, helping to limit rain coverage and produce slightly hotter temperatures. We’ll set daily rain chances at 20% or less through the week, with highs ranging from the low to mid 90°s.

By the weekend, the ridge will retreat back to the west, potentially opening the door for somewhat better rain chances to return. At this point, we’ll still only set weekend rain chances around 30%, but it’s possible they could go a little higher. In addition, the position of the ridge to our west will result in a northerly flow over the WAFB viewing area. While that doesn’t favor widespread rains, if storms do develop, they tend to be stronger and more ‘electrified’ (produce more lightning) under a northerly flow. That’s another trend we’ll monitor into the weekend.

Speaking of lightning, NOAA has declared this week, “National Lightning Safety Awareness Week”. In conjunction with that, figures released from a new study indicate that since 2006, 64% of lightning fatalities in the U.S. occurred while people were participating in leisure activities. Fishing leads with the way with 26 deaths, followed by camping (15 deaths), boating (14 deaths), soccer (12 deaths), and golf (8 deaths). The stats may be somewhat surprising given that many often see golf as one of the most dangerous outdoor activities when lightning is around. Indeed, it is certainly dangerous, but the fact that fishing, camping, and boating are at the top should grab our attention since all three are popular in this part of the world. NOAA has tried to make the threat of lightning simple to understand by urging, “When thunder roars, go indoors”!

And finally…the tropics remain quiet today and will likely remain that way for much of this week. 

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