Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Hot, Mainly Dry Again on Thursday

What more can you say about our weather then, “Boy, it’s hot!”

While the heat does have many of us talking, truth is that temperatures are running near or only slightly above-normal for most. For instance, today’s low of 72° at Metro Airport is actually a degree below the ‘normal’, while afternoon highs in most spots have been near or just a degree or two above the ‘normal’ of 92°. Feel better about the heat now? I didn’t think so.

And if you’re not a fan of hot weather, then you probably won’t like the forecast for the next few days. Highs could reach the mid 90°s in some WAFB neighborhoods as a ridge of high pressure continues to influence our weather.

As we discussed yesterday, that ridge is expected to begin a westward shift by Friday, which should open the door for a few more showers and t-storms headed into the weekend. We’ll post rain chances around 30% on Friday and 30% - 40% for Saturday. The prevailing flow over the weekend will be from the northwest, which can sometimes be supportive of a few stronger storms. We’ll keep an eye on that, particularly for Saturday.

In a change from our forecast yesterday, it now looks like some drier air will sneak into the area for the second half of the weekend, limiting our rain chances on Sunday. Additionally, highs should be closer to 90° (instead of the mid 90°s) from Sunday into early next week.

Speaking of next week, our extended guidance points toward a cool front approaching from the north and potentially stalling nearby. Assuming that occurs, rain chances should be a bit higher for the early to mid portion of next week.

Closing out today with some information for “Lightning Safety Awareness Week”, here’s a look at just how frequent lightning is in our part of the world. Vaisala – a private company that maintains one of the largest (if not the largest) lightning detection networks in the U.S. – has calculated lightning strike densities (or strikes per square mile) for each state dating back to 1997. Florida leads the way at 24 strikes per square mile, followed by Louisiana at nearly 20 strikes per square mile. The top 5 are rounded out by Mississippi (18 strikes/sq. mile), Alabama (16 strikes/sq. mile), and Arkansas (15 strikes/sq. mile). So, the bottom line here is that our state (particularly south Louisiana) is one of the true lightning ‘hot spots’ in the country and we need to take the associated dangers seriously! 

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