Monday, August 12, 2013

Good Rain Chances Continue This Week

By Jay Grymes & Steve Caparotta

The “wetter” pattern that began last week is expected to continue through Thursday.  In fact, afternoon showers and occasional storms may be a bit more widespread over the coming days, so keep the umbrella handy.

We’ve had a couple of reports of stronger storms with locally-heavy rains, gusty winds, and frequent lightning strikes today.  None of the storms reached “severe” criteria, but a handful were quite strong nonetheless.  Isolated strong t-storms can be expected for each of the next three days, so keep alert if the skies grow dark during the afternoons.

We’re setting rain chances at 50% for Tuesday, and at 50% to 60% for Wednesday and Thursday.  Morning lows for the Capitol City will be in the mid 70°s for the next three days, with highs hitting the low 90°s for most WAFB neighborhoods before the afternoon rains arrive.

The outlook for the end of the week currently calls for rain chances at around 30% for Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

A cool front currently extending from the Great Lakes into the Central Plains is expected to continue to slowly work its way southward over the coming days, reaching the WAFB viewing area by Thursday.  The current thinking is that the front will slowly sag into the coastal waters by Friday then linger along the coast or possibly meander over the coastal parishes into the weekend.  With the front nearby, we can’t expect rain-free days, but as long as the front is positioned to the south of most WAFB communities, many of us will get a limited amount of relief from the summer heat and humidity.

That break will likely be rather short-lived, unfortunately, as the front will be dissolving over the region by Sunday, allowing a full return of Gulf humidity.

However ... our current weekend outlook is subject to change depending on what plays out in the tropics over the coming days.

A broad area of disturbed weather currently over the central Caribbean could produce a marked change in our weekend outlook, depending on what becomes of that tropical mess.  Currently, the National Hurricane Center (NHC) appears rather unimpressed by the tropical wave, giving it only a 20% chance for development over the next five days.

We are a little surprised at this low-end estimate for development over the coming 5-day window as multiple models appear to be much more aggressive with the future of this tropical wave.  And more importantly, more than one model brings a developing system into the Gulf over the coming days.  Were that scenario to play out, we could be watching a tropical storm (or possibly a low end hurricane) taking aim at the U.S. Gulf Coast by the end of the week -- stay tuned.

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