Friday, July 6, 2012

Major change forecast next week

As temperatures have soared near or past the 100-degree mark, and lawns and fields have turned brown with only spotty rainfall in the last week to 10 days, I've heard a lot of people praying for a change in the weather pattern.

It appears as if those prayers might be answered next week.

The computer models are in agreement that a significantly different pattern will establish itself, starting about Monday in the Carolinas. It will mean a considerable drop in daytime temperatures (although nighttime readings won't change much) and soaking rains for just about everyone.

A strong dome of high pressure has governed our weather for about two weeks. Initially, that high pressure brought record cool temperatures to the Carolinas, but once it warmed up, the end result was record highs and mostly dry weather.

The high was centered over the Mississippi Valley, and being on the eastern edge of the circulation, parts of the Carolinas received occasional and scattered thunderstorms from little pockets of low pressure that spun around the clockwise flow of the big high. That explains the severe weather we got Sunday and Thursday nights.

But the big high is predicted to push back toward the west, starting this weekend. At first, a little area of high pressure will break off, bringing more triple-digit heat and dry weather to the Charlotte region through Sunday. Eventually, though, the Carolinas will join the rest of the eastern United States and come under the impact of a large trough of low pressure.

Moisture from the Atlantic and the Gulf of Mexico will stream into the Southeast, starting Monday and lasting through most of the week.With low pressure nearby, we'll have high temperatures gradually fading to the mid and upper 80s. There'll be frequent outbreaks of showers and thunderstorms.

Don't look for chilly mornings. Under that pattern, our morning lows will be in the 70-degree neighborhood.

Humidity levels will be sky-high.  Even those of you with straight hair will develop curls next week. But it isn't beyond the realm of imagination that most areas will get several inches of rain next week.

It will be a scenario where the afternoons bring thunderstorms with drenching downpours. There probably will be one or two episodes where weak lobes of low pressure circulate across the region during the overnight hours, adding to the rainfall totals.

Meanwhile, the searing heat will push into the West. That sounds ominous for those Rocky Mountain areas trying to deal with wild fires, but it'll be a big break for the East and Midwest.

St. Louis has hit or exceeded 100 degrees on nine straight days, as of Thursday. The National Weather Service says more than 3,000 heat records were established in the seven-day period leading up to July 4. Charlotte tied its all-time record of 104 degrees three times.

Eventually, that high pressure system probably will push eastward again -- probably later in July. But it looks as if we'll get at least a one-week break. All we need do is get through the next three days, with more 100-degree readings.


Anonymous said...

Man I really hope it cools down a bit. It feels a little bit like what hell would feel like. We work outside and it gets bad.

Anonymous said...

I feel terrible for folks who have to work outside in this mess.

Steve, can we agree on something ahead of the change in conditions? Since the dewpoint will probably be higher than it has been even in the 100-degree days, can we not have any blog post about the "unseasonably cool weather in mid-July?" That talk drove me nuts last summer, when the high was 89 every day but the dewpoint was 75 every day, and weather guys kept bloviating about "unseasonably cool" weather. Everyone's AC will be running just as hard next week as it has been the past week.

The good news is Christmas is less than 6 months away...

Anonymous said...

Think snow!!! :)

Anonymous said...

I hope this coming winter won't be a repeat of last winter. Last winter we didn't have any measurable amount of snow. By the way, I hear that La Nina pattern is weakening and El Nino is taking shape. That pattern (hopefully) will increase the odds for snow this coming season.

Anonymous said...

over 85 is too hot, below 45 is too cold