Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Hot, Isolated Storms Next Couple of Days

By Jay Grymes & Steve Caparotta

Today was another hot one, but afternoon breezes with occasional gusts into the 20s made the heat almost tolerable by summer standards.  In addition, a fairly persistent cloud deck through much of the day filtered the sunshine and helped slow the daytime temperature rise.  Indeed, most of the viewing area didn’t see the mid 90°s we had expected, thanks largely to the wind and clouds.

Upper-level ridging remains in charge to our west, centered over New Mexico.  While the ridging is keeping us mainly-dry and hot, we’ll continue to keep an eye on the stormy disturbances traveling along in the NW-to-SE upper-level flow.  Yesterday was saw some big t-storms rolling through Mississippi and Alabama in this flow ... and last night we watched storms move from Arkansas into northern Louisiana as the upper-level flow eased slightly westward and closer to us.

This afternoon we are watching yet another disturbance slide into central Louisiana from the northwest.  While we think most of the energy in this cluster will weaken before getting this far south, a few WAFB neighborhoods could get a shower and just about all of us will see some clouds as what’s left of this disturbance passes by.

And tomorrow?  Much the same as today.  We’ll start off in the mid 70°s around the ‘Red Stick,’ under partly cloudy skies with maybe a shower or two in the early morning (mainly closer to the coast).  Temps will be pushing the upper 80°s to near 90° by the lunch hour with afternoon highs for many metro area neighborhoods approaching the mid 90°s.  We’ll go with isolated to spotty showers for Thursday afternoon -- setting rain chances at 20% or less.

Plan on a repeat of Thursday’s forecast for Friday.

Into the weekend, the upper-level ridging breaks down over the region and a weak cool front looks like it will stall to our north.  That will allow a return flow set-up with moist Gulf air adding to the instability and prompting better rain chances for both Saturday and Sunday.  “How wet?” remains under a bit of debate, but the rain should help the lawns and break the mid-90°s heat.

Elsewhere ... the tropics are getting more active.  There is a new “invest” (an ‘area of interest’) in the west-central Atlantic labeled 99L (or AL99), but the early models suggest that whatever comes of it stays out over the ocean.

Of more interest to us is T.S. Dorian, located in the far eastern Atlantic.  As you may recall, we were talking about 98L last night, noting that the satellite view showed some signs that 98L was ready for an “upgrade.”  The NHC “upped” 98L to Tropical Depression #4 at 5AM this morning, then “upped” it again at 10AM to the season’s fourth named storm: Tropical Storm Dorian.

Dorian is way too far out for us to get concerned about at this stage, even though the 5-day NHC forecast -- and almost all of the reliable computer models -- keep Dorian on a track pointed towards the Gulf.  But even if this forecast is spot-on, as of this weekend Dorian will still be well to the east of Cuba.  In addition, while the models are currently showing pretty good agreement through the next 5 days, they really start to diverge after that.

So let’s just sit back and see what happens.  There is plenty of time before we need to start thinking about this storm ... assuming, of course, that you have done your pre-season prep already.

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