Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Hot & Humid, Isolated Showers

By Jay Grymes & Steve Caparotta

June 17th WAFB First Alert Quickcast:

- ‘Bill’ continues chugging northward
- summer heat, humidity and afternoon showers locally

Tropical Depression Bill continues moving steadily to the north and is still expected to begin a turn to the northeast over the next 24 hours. Bill has been quite the rainmaker for parts of Texas -- sadly, in some places that really didn’t need more rain. 

For most of Louisiana, however, Bill failed to leave much of a calling card. While there have been some pockets of 1” to 2” rains over the western parishes, and even T-Storm Warnings in the northwestern part of the state, most of the Bayou State saw little in the way of noteworthy weather. Thank you for that favor, Bill!

We should note that while Bill’s landfall was roughly 170 miles southwest of Cameron Parish, the Lake Charles NWS office has reported multiple locations in that parish with sustained winds of 40 mph or more -- tropical-storm strength. And the NHC’s wind field projection during Bill’s peak strength suggested that tropical-storm winds could indeed reach into the westernmost portions of Cameron Parish. So technically, does this confirm a tropical-storm impact by Bill on the Bayou State? It will be interesting down the road to see how the NOAA tropical experts evaluate it.

Meanwhile, weatherwise for us, it’s shaping up for a steady dose of typical summer weather for the central Gulf Coast right into the weekend. The line-up reads like this: morning lows in the low to mid 70°s, afternoon highs in the low 90°s, and a steady influx of humid Gulf air that keeps dew points in the 70°s. That will mean afternoon Heat Index readings topping out in the upper 90°s for many WAFB neighborhoods, with occasional readings at 100° or more. 

Be extra careful in the heat, especially if you are spending time under direct sunshine. And please remember the pets too!

Rains chances will run in the 20% to 30% range for Thursday and Friday and probably right through the weekend. As we’ve mentioned over the past few days, the upper-air ridge centered over the Southeast U.S. that steered Bill away from us also kept rain chances in our area on the lower end (isolated at best) over the past couple of days. That ridge is likely to shrink a bit and shift a little eastward over the next couple of days, allowing for ever-so-slightly higher chances for afternoon showers on Friday and Saturday. But even then, we’re talking 30%, which is still at or below normal for mid to late June.

As we head into Sunday and next week, models are indicating the development of upper-air ridging over the Desert Southwest, putting us under the influence of dry, northwesterly flow at the mid- and upper-levels. That should keep rain chances in the 20% to 30% range for Sunday and Monday, and possibly right through the middle of the upcoming work week.

So it’s summer heat-and-humidity for the end of the work week and the weekend, with the occasional passing shower that might be welcomed as a nice mid-afternoon heat-breaker.

And in the tropics, the NHC notes four tropical waves over the Atlantic Basin, with a fifth about to move off the western coast of Africa, but none show any significant signs for potential development, at least not in the next three to five days.

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