Thursday, May 24, 2012

1st summer weekend, 1st summer heat

Forecasters are pretty much certain about it now ... we're in for a real taste of summer for the Memorial Day weekend, the traditional start of the summer season.

There are still some hints that a tropical system could bring showers and thunderstorms to the coast by late in the weekend, but the odds are still against that happening.  Otherwise, the forecast is for hot and humid conditions, with little or no chance of rain.

High pressure is expected to strengthen over the next day or two across the Southeast. That will squelch the chances of thunderstorm development and help the heat build. High temperatures, which were in the middle 80s across much of the Charlotte region Thursday, will be pushing 90 degrees from Friday into Monday.

Chris Horne, of the National Weather Service office in Greer, S.C., said the holiday weekend forecast depends on the track of the possible tropical system. But if the system were to move westward across Florida, as the computer models were hinting late Thursday afternoon, then Horne said the precipitation would remain south of the Charlotte region.

Right now, Horne and other meteorologists are betting on that horse.  So will I.

And if the tropical low doesn't push northward into the Carolinas, what does all that mean for our Memorial Day weather and some of this weekend's big events?

Speedway events: If there are yellow or red flags at Charlotte Motor Speedway, it won't be because of the weather.  Look for nice conditions Thursday night for the pole events, with temperatures around 80 degrees.

For Saturday's Nationwide Series race, bring the sun screen and make sure you drink plenty of water. It'll be sunny, with temperatures around 90 degrees.  That's mighty hot to be sitting in those speedway grandstands.

It'll be much the same Sunday afternoon, during pre-race activities for the Coca-Cola 600. By the time the race starts, about 6:20 p.m., it'll be in the upper 80s with sunny to mostly sunny conditions. Temperatures will drop through the 80s during the event.

Food Lion Speed Street: It'll be warm and humid in the evenings, with temperatures in the upper 80s.

Piedmont weather: No problems. Expect mostly sunny days and partly cloudy nights through Monday, with daily highs near 90 and morning lows in the middle 60s.

Mountains: There might be a few isolated thunderstorms Sunday and Monday afternoons, but most people will have dry conditions. Expect daytime highs in the middle 70s (higher elevations) to the lower 80s (mountain valleys) and morning lows in the middle to upper 50s.

Beaches: This one is a bit iffy, given the uncertainty about that potential tropical system off the Florida coast. But let's be optimistic.  There could be a few thunderstorms Friday, but it'll be mostly sunny on Saturday through Monday, with daily highs in the mid to upper 80s and morning lows in the upper 60s. It will be humid.