Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Hot & Humid Days Continue

By Jay Grymes & Steve Caparotta

WAFB First Alert Quickcast:

- no notable changes in the daily weather patterns through the weekend
- Bertha is no longer ‘tropical’

WYSIWYG - what you see is what you get, and that’s the story for the weather over the rest of the work week and the weekend too. If anything, the afternoon and evening thunderstorms will be even more isolated for Thursday and Friday than what we saw on Monday and Tuesday. 

We’re in the “the dog days of summer” -- a period that traditionally lasts about 40 days. According to the Old Farmer’s Almanac (yes, Jay has one), the “dog days” run from about July 3rd to August 11th. So why “the dog days”? The explanation dates back at least to ancient Roman astronomers, who noted that the star Sirius (pronounced “serious”) rose and set with the Sun during the heat of the summer months. Sirius is among the brightest stars in the sky -- so bright that the ancient astronomers mistakenly thought it added to the heat produced by our Sun, resulting in sweltering summer weather compared to the sun-only heating during the fall, winter and spring months. Sirius was called the “dog star” by astronomers because it was a part of the constellation Canus Major (the big dog).

“Dog days” or not, the daytime hours are just plain hot. Mornings will be fair to partly-cloudy, with a little mainly-light-and-patchy wake-up fog and sunrise temperatures in the mid 70°s for many WAFB neighborhoods. Translation: mainly-dry but muggy mornings. 

The afternoons will be awfully hot and very humid, with highs in the low to mid 90°s for just about everyone and dew points in the low to mid 70°s. That combination will mean temperatures at or above 90° for periods of 5 to 7 hours on most days, with the Heat Index up near or above 100° for nearly the same period of time. And remember, the Heat Index is the “feels like in the shade” temperature: add in direct sunshine or physical activity and the apparent (“feels like”) temperature goes up another 5° to as much as 15°!

The only relief from the mid-afternoon heat will be those ‘popcorn’ thundershowers, and our forecast for the next few days keeps those on the scarce side. We’re going with just a 20% chance of afternoon and early-evening rains for Thursday and Friday and then nudging them up to 30% for the weekend. 

We say, “the dogs can have it!” ... which reminds us to remind you to make sure your pets are well-watered and have good shading if they are to remain outdoors in this heat.

In the tropics, the National Hurricane Center (NHC) issued its last official advisory for Bertha at 10AM this morning, noting that Bertha had merged with a frontal system near Nova Scotia and was no longer tropical in structure. Elsewhere in the tropics, ‘dry’ air over much of the tropical Atlantic and decent mid-level shear over the Caribbean should keep tropical development in-check for some time to come, with the NHC showing no areas for suspected development for at least the next five days.

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