Friday, July 25, 2014

Hot, Mainly Dry Weekend

By Jay Grymes & Steve Caparotta

WAFB First Alert Quickcast:

- hot & mainly-dry through the weekend
- an approaching ‘cool’ front next week?

Our thinking hasn’t changed much over the past few days. Our “isolated” coverage today was along the lines of what we expected and we think it will be even drier through the weekend. We’re going with rain chances at 20% or less for Saturday and spotty showers at best for Sunday. 

So it’s shaping up to be a “sunscreen” weekend for those that take advantage of a pair of mainly-dry days. But be careful in the heat, whether it’s yard work duty, around-the-house projects, a day on the links, or some “me time” in the boat. We’re looking at highs in the low to mid 90°s for both days -- a forecast that calls for two afternoons that may rank among some of the ‘hottest’ days of the summer so far. 

You know the routine: lots of water and breaks in the shade. These are the kind of days that can keep our area EMS professionals busy with heat-related calls.

The heat-maker? That upper-level ridge that we’ve been talking about for the past week. Although it remains centered to our west, the ridge (high-pressure aloft) will continue to expand eastward into the weekend. That will put us under the eastern flank of the “heat dome” -- maybe not enough to totally shut-off rain chances but certainly enough to chop the rain chances down to 20% or less for Saturday and Sunday. 

As we head into next week, the ridge will again retreat to the west as an upper-trough (southward dip in the jet stream) digs into the eastern half of the country. And for now at least, our guidance into next week is showing signs of that trough helping to drive a cool front into the viewing area around Tuesday. The NWS Weather Prediction Center currently shows the front digging southward to the coast and then lingering there into Friday. That scenario means two things: increasing rain chances with the front’s approach and passage and then a break in the humidity for a couple of days with highs possibly topping out in the 80°s.

Now, we must admit that these 5- to 7-day summer frontal forecasts often don’t pan out, with the proposed front stalling before arriving in south Louisiana. But the guidance has been hinting at this possibility for a couple of days now, so we’ll remain cautiously optimistic about a modest break from our usual summer heat-&-humidity sometime next week.

In the meantime, all is quiet in the tropics ... quoting the National Hurricane Center: “No New Tropical Cyclones Are Expected to Form During the Next 5 Days.”

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