Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Staying Hot into the Weekend

By Jay Grymes & Steve Caparotta

WAFB First Alert Quickcast:

- getting even hotter in the next few days
- tropics are becoming more lively

The outlook for the next couple of days remains generally unchanged: upper-level ridging settles over the lower Mississippi Valley, knocking rain chances down to less than 20% for most of the WAFB viewing area through the weekend. In addition, it means less cloud cover allowing the sun to heat things up even more and helping to drive maximum temperatures into the mid to upper 90°s for most WAFB neighborhoods. Yes, it’s still shaping up to be the ‘hottest’ stretch of days of the summer (at least so far.)

For the BR metro area, we’re calling for muggy mornings with sunrise temperatures in the mid to upper 70°s through Sunday. For the afternoons, temperatures in the 90°s throughout the entire afternoon for most neighborhoods will combine with Gulf humidity to drive Heat Index readings into the 100°s for runs of as much as 6 hours or more for many locations. And rain chances? Only a very few neighborhoods will be lucky enough to get a cooling shower and a brief break from the otherwise near-relentless daytime heat.

Be careful if you are expecting to spend extended time outdoors this weekend. This kind of heat sneaks up on you, especially if you are not accustomed to it. Emergency medical experts note that heat-related calls often increase over the weekends -- people (adults & youngsters) that were indoors during the week (at work and/or at school) are more likely to be outside during Saturday and Sunday, making them more prone to heat exhaustion (or worse).

The upper ridging will start relaxing by late Sunday, allowing daytime temperatures to drop a few degrees while also allowing for better afternoon and early evening rain chances by Monday through next week.

Lots of attention turning towards the tropics … what was a pair of tropical waves in the tropical Atlantic has essentially merged into one bigger tropical ‘blob’ east of the Lesser Antilles. As of 2pm, the National Hurricane Center (NHC) is giving the broad disturbance -- labeled Invest 96L -- a 50% chance for development (becoming a tropical depression or tropical storm) over the next 2 days with that likelihood up to 60% over the next 5 days. 

Computer model remain rather “mixed” in terms of the future of 96L for direction, forward speed, and intensity. But that’s no surprise given the current lack of organization. The general consensus suggests movement towards the west-NW then NW over the next 4 to 5 days, taking it somewhere in the vicinity of Cuba or the Bahamas. But remember: that is not a forecast!

Let’s not get too concerned yet, but also let us keep in mind that a “system in the Gulf” is still definitely on the table. However, should this system develop and get into the southeastern or southern Gulf, it wouldn’t happen before sometime next week. That gives you time to revisit your family and business preparedness plans to make sure you are ready for the “peak” of the Hurricane Season.

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