Joe’s Weather Blog: Back from vacation but summer goes on vacation (WED-8/2)

Good morning…I’ll be filling in for Mike for the next couple of nights and our weather, while seasonably warm today is about to undergo a roughly 10-14 day transition to cooler weather, in some cases remarkably cool weather  for August. The end result will be below to much below average temperatures off and on through almost the middle of the month. A prolonged switch towards a more NW flow will be establishing itself, and while it won’t be a totally dry stretch…overall it will be a very reasonable stretch for the “dog days” of summer.


Forecast:

Today: Partly cloudy, and seasonably warm with highs well into the 80s to near 90° in some areas. Typical summer humidity levels. There may be a few VERY isolated showers later today.

Tonight: Fair skies and pleasant with lows in the 60s

Thursday: As a cold front comes through there may be some additional showers/storms out there during the day. Not worthy of cancelling outdoor plans at this point. Temperatures will again be in the 80s

Friday: Refreshing air moving into the area with highs only in the 70s (!).


Discussion:

Just returned from my annual golf trip to the desert. Yes it’s hot…and during this time of the year it can be very humid (by our standards and especially by theirs too). They’re in the “monsoon” out there which is one of the main ways they get rain during the summer months. At one point last week I saw that Phoenix had their highest dew point (75°) than they’ve seen in 7 years! During the afternoon as temperatures maxed well into the 100s, the air did dry out somewhat (compared to here at least) but it was still muggy for them.

Then over the weekend I took my annual side trip up to Sedona, AZ. It’s a beautiful place to watch storms during the monsoon season and it didn’t disappoint. Just some great cloud vistas set with the stunning Red Rocks in the area. Pretty…with cooler temperatures up at altitude. I was struck by how “green” things were up there compared to past years. This is a good thing and in time a bad thing. With that increased moisture comes increased desert growth. When the dry times come back (they always do in the deserts)…that growth will dies off and in time become brittle and dried out. That’s a recipe down the road for wildfires. The outskirts of the area between Sedona and Flagstaff were hit hard several years ago by wild fires in the rugged terrain…you can see how it can easily set up again.

Onwards…

Our weather when I left was miserably hot and humid. I missed out on the terrible flooding from last week here. That was an amazing thing to witness from afar though. The set-up was easy to see though with the thick and juicy air sitting on the region waiting to be triggered into something potent. Despite the fact that we’re going to be transitioning into NW flow, which during the winter/spring/fall is typically a drier flow…during the summer it can be a “nuisance” flow with disturbances coming over the Rockies and down through the Plains states. This means sporadic chances of showers and convection, so it’ certainly not a perfectly dry forecast into the weekend.

I don’t want to get too bogged down in the next couple of days chances. Small chance today…somewhat better Thursday. Nothing too extreme in terms of storms…perhaps some localized heavy downpours. What I’m keyed in on is the cooler weather coming down the pike, especially for Thursday night into the weekend. So cool that I’m actually looking at the record lows on Friday and Saturday morning to see if anything is doable there.

The record low on Friday is 52° set in 1974. The record low HIGH temperature is 72° set in 1933

The record low for Saturday is 55° in 1984. The record low HIGH temperature is 67° in 1933

Something to watch…the record low on Saturday especially could be in jeopardy assuming (see below) skies are clear enough. We may nibble close to the low on Friday morning. We may also be darn close to the “coolest” high on record for the 4th as well. Pretty remarkable to do that in the early part of August.

The reason this will be happening is a pocket of cooler air that will be dropping into the Plains behind a storm system. Notice in the following map the “cooler” colors that are moving through our region. This is from the GFS model via Unisys.

The timing is on the top right of each image. This will auto-update as new model info comes out. So the bottom right image shows either 7PM SAT (of you’re reading this WED AM) or 7AM SUN (if you’re reading this in the afternoon). Notice as well where the heat is concentrated…well towards the western 1/4 of the US (could be all-time heat in the Pacific NW as well. Notice too the extent of the developing cool air through the upper Plains region that will be dropping southwards over time. Out west it’s going to get incredibly hot by their standards. All time record highs are possible in OR/WA especially. as a matter of fact it hasn’t rained in Seattle WA (of all places) in 46 straight days…the record is 51 and it looks VERY doable at this point.

That’s why when I see this look from the EURO ensembles to the 5000′ temperatures (compared to average) over a 5 day period…you can bank on a cooler regime for awhile.

That’s a pretty solid area of 5-8° C below average…which turns into 10-15°+ F below average at 5000 feet or so.

Then in the 5 days afterwards here is what it looks like..again a pretty solid cool look to things.

That takes us roughly through the 11th of the month. As a matter of fact today’s high around 88° may be as close to “average” as we are into the middle of the month which would be a remarkable occurrence really.

There should be chances of rain every so often though that span so it won’t be perfectly dry. There will be weak disturbances coming down through the flow and they may create some forecast headaches. Let’s watch Saturday morning especially for this. This disturbance coming down could track near the area…it could pass to the SW of the area…ut it’s something to watch. It may even create enough clouds to keep the lows from free-falling before daybreak too.

OK that’s it for today…nice to be back. I took the feature photo today watching a monsoon storm move towards Sedona, AZ the other day…it was interesting to watch. Poured like crazy too!

Joe

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