The first half of July brought us a persistently “unsettled” weather pattern, with several instances of severe weather and flooding. Nashville has received almost 5″ of rain this month, putting us about two inches above-average to this point in the month. Despite the wet pattern, temperatures have still been hot — we’re running two degrees above average for the month overall. We’ll add a degree or two to that number as we head through this week, as a genuine heat wave settles into the middle of the country. We’re far from alone in this — if misery loves company, there’s going to be plenty of love to go around:
The big blue “H” stands for “high pressure” — a phrase you probably hear meteorologists use, and a phrase you probably don’t completely understand. Atmospheric pressure refers to the literal weight of the air on top of us — when the pressure is high, the atmosphere is pushing down on us to a greater extent (and vice versa for low pressure). Sinking air heats up, which is why summertime high pressure areas are associated with heat waves. We’re not talking about record-setting heat, but temperatures today should still easily reach the mid 90s:
Factor in the humidity, and the heat index will eclipse 100 degrees:
The National Weather Service doesn’t issue heat advisories until the heat index reaches 105 — we’ll be close to that territory today, but those advisories are more likely to be issued later this week. Regardless of whether the technical heat advisory criteria are met, you’ll need to stay in the “dangerously hot” mindset: find some shade (or better yet, some A/C), stay hydrated, and take plenty of breaks if you have to be outside. Common sense stuff! And make sure your furry friends are taken care of — outdoor pets should have a shady spot to avoid the heat, and a supply of cool water as well.
The sinking air overhead will also suppress our storm chances to around 20% — most of the clouds that try to grow into full-fledged thunderstorms will be squashed by the weight of the high-pressure air mass. However, a few of those clouds will be able to break the lid on the atmosphere, which gives at least a chance of some brief relief from the heat. The HRRR model pictured here isn’t enthusiastic about those chances:
That forecast model does try to bring some storms into our northeastern counties — those storms are north of the Ohio River this morning, diving down to the southeast. It’s not likely that they’ll hold together and impact the WSMV viewing area, but I can’t cross it off the list of possibilities just yet.
It’s more likely that we’ll see some storms dropping in from the north late tonight, as the RPM model depicts here:
Our overnight storm chances will dictate our storm chances later in the day Tuesday — as the pre-sunrise storms diminish, they’ll lay down a boundary that will be the focus for additional storms later in the day. Figuring out exactly where that boundary will shape up is really tricky — Futurecast shows a reasonable pattern, but the exact timing and placement remains in question:
A few of the storms tomorrow could be strong to possibly-severe — the Storm Prediction Center has outlined a “Marginal Risk” (level 1 of 5) for severe thunderstorms in southern Kentucky and northeastern Middle Tennessee:
The rest of the week will bring us our typical summertime 20-30% daily storm chances, along with plenty of heat and humidity. The hottest days will likely be Thursday and Friday — Thursday’s record high is exactly 100 degrees, and we’ll give it a run:
An easy way to beat the heat — stay inside with some nerdy reading material…
- Thanks to the heat wave building throughout the country this week, July 2016 could go down as the hottest month on record in the United States.
- High school, college and professional football training camps kick off soon — a potentially dangerous activity during the hottest time of the year.
- We ran a brief story on it this morning, but here are more details about NASA’s Mars 2020 rover and how it will search for signs of life.
- A bright galaxy in the early universe (the light is just now reaching us) could help solve the mystery of why some black holes grow so quickly.
- If you get far enough into physics, you can start to ask some really funky questions, such as: are there different types of time and space?
- What we can learn from foreign words that have no equivalent in English.
- Scientists produced a mathematical model to describe why jet lag feels worse when you fly west-to-east.
- More and more people are running 100+ mile ultra-marathons. I will not be among them, I can assure you.
- This is where Hollywood goes when it needs some science.
- She’s already my favorite SNL cast member, but this cements it: Kate McKinnon is a serious science nerd. [Mild language warning.]