We got a break from the heat and humidity over the weekend…in fact, Sunday was the nicest day overall that we’ve seen in quite a while! But now we’re settling into an unsettled weather pattern that will carry us all the way through the upcoming holiday weekend.
The reason for the unsettled pattern is the orientation of the jet stream — the river of air several miles above our heads that acts as the main storm track for North America. Those upper-level winds will be blowing from northwest to southeast throughout the week, which allows multiple disturbances to ride along the jet stream and drop down through the eastern half of the country:
This jet stream orientation does keep the hottest weather locked down to our south and southwest, but it doesn’t allow the really cool and comfortable air to make it down toward us either. The humidity won’t be as dreadful as it was last week, but it will still be sufficient to fuel scattered storms each day.
Some showers scooted through the Midstate this morning, but partial clearing will allow temperatures to make it up to the mid 80s…southwesterly winds will also help boost our temperatures a couple degrees higher than they were on Sunday. As the atmosphere warms up, it becomes more unstable, and scattered thunderstorms will re-develop this afternoon. Unfortunately, this is the type of weather pattern that makes it nearly impossible to determine exactly when and exactly where the storm will develop, so be flexible with any outdoor plans. Futurecast tries to give us an idea of where the best rain chances will develop, and shows the hit-and-miss pattern we expect:
A few storms could be strong, but our severe weather chances look pretty minimal overall. The Storm Prediction Center has included the northeast half of the Midstate in a “Marginal Risk” (level 1 of 5) for severe weather, with a “Slight Risk” (level 2 of 5) farther to our northeast:
Basically, that means that while severe thunderstorms aren’t likely, we can’t completely rule out a storm or two becoming strong enough to produce a brief straight-line wind threat. Our severe weather chances will mostly remain in the marginal category for most of the week, but a better chance of organized thunderstorms could move our way on Thursday:
Heading into the holiday weekend, the more reliable long-range computer models keep us in the unsettled pattern all three days of the Independence Day weekend. That doesn’t mean each day will be a washout — it just means scattered storms will develop in the afternoons and early evenings. Don’t cancel any outdoor plans, but again be thinking of indoor alternatives in case they’re necessary.
It’s way too early at this point to hazard a guess at a time-specific forecast for fireworks displays on the 4th of July…the storm chances will be highest in the daylight hours, but sometimes those storms can persist through the first half of the night. We’ll hope for the best, and we should be able to narrow things down a bit as the 4th gets closer.
Some good science-y stuff from over the weekend…
- The deadly heat wave in India and Pakistan wasn’t just a function of extreme temperatures…other factors were at work as well.
- The Sun has been cranky lately.
- Look to the west after sunset this week to see a couple of our planetary neighbors.
- What astronomy can teach us about America’s most famous kiss.
- SpaceX had a rough day yesterday.
- A huge black hole “woke up” recently…and promptly ate a star.
- A brief history of nukes in space. (Both good and bad.)
- Will artificial intelligence destroy us all, or solve all of our problems?
- Your brain is a computer. Sort of.