Archive for July, 2010

INTENSE THUNDERSTORMS POUND PARTS OF HAMPTON ROADS ON THURSDAY… MUCH BETTER WEATHER MOVES IN FOR A COUPLE OF DAYS…

Thunderstorms developed Thursday afternoon producing intense lightning and heavy rain in some areas. ORF picked up over four inches of rain. I picked up over two inches in my backyard. Lightning sparked structural fires and flooding occurred in some of the hardest hit areas. The cold front that caused the intense thunderstorms has ushered in a much more comfortable air mass. Cooler NE breezes will be a welcome change after a very hot and humid day on Thursday. By late weekend, the high pressure area will be off the New England coast producing a return flow out of the SE. Humidity levels will increase again which may result in an increased chance of showers/thunderstorms.

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A COLD FRONT WILL BRING COOLER TEMPERATURES ON FRIDAY INTO THE WEEKEND… WILL WE GET MUCH NEEDED RAIN FROM THIS COLD FRONT?

A cold front is marching towards Hampton Roads and the air mass behind it will make it more comfortable on Friday and this should last into the weekend before higher humidity builds back into the region. The big question is whether we see much needed rain from thunderstorms that develop out ahead of the front. The computer models are sending conflicting signals as far as rain chances here in Southeast Virginia. The NWS gives us a 60% chance of rain today and tonight (July 29th). Some parts of SE VA have received very little rainfall over the past month or so, so any rainfall would be welcome. High pressure will build into the region on Friday and then it will move off the coast over the weekend. The southerly flow on the backside of the high will bring back the humidity and warmer temperatures later in the weekend. This may cause some showers or storms to develop on Sunday and Monday… I’ve seen reports that upwelling has been occurring at the beaches due to the persistent offshore windflow and this can cause a profound drop in the ocean temperature. Last weekend, the air temperature was hitting record highs (105 degrees at ORF) and yet the ocean temperature was very chilly due to the upwelling condition. Upwelling is a result of the offshore wind blowing the warm surface water out to sea and the colder water below the surface of the ocean moving towards the shoreline. I may have an update on Friday.

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SATURDAY’S HIGH TEMPERATURE OF 105 TIES THE RECORD FOR THE HOTTEST DAY EVER… THE HEAT WILL CONTINUE ON SUNDAY… A COLD FRONT BRINGS SOME RELIEF ON MONDAY

The high temperature of 105 at ORF on Saturday tied the all time high temperature record for Norfolk. Only once before (way back in 1918) was it ever this hot. So, for most of us, Saturday was the hottest day that we have ever experienced here in Hampton Roads. The upper-level high pressure ridge will bring one more day of extreme heat before a cold front moves through Sunday night and Monday. Monday should be at least ten degrees cooler as our winds become northerly and then northeasterly. What about the chances of rain with the cold front? They’re not that great but forecasters believe some areas should receive a shower or thunderstorm Sunday night. There is also a chance that these storms may reach severe limts, but it is doubtful that there will be a widespread severe weather event. A westerly wind component will cause the downsloping effect which reduces the chances of rain across Eastern VA. The week ahead looks warm and temperatures shouldn’t reach the triple digits. At least that is the forecast at this point. With all this heat of late, I am so glad that my neighborhood picked up three inches of rain this past week. Otherwise, everything would have been incredibly dry. I realize that some areas of SE VA weren’t so lucky, especially areas west of Hampton Roads. This is an agricultural area that feels the impacts from the lack of rain. Hopefully, the pattern will change soon but as of now, there just aren’t any indicators to suggest a change to a wetter weather pattern. Former Tropical Storm Bonnie’s remnants are moving NW through LA. That’s it for now. Try to stay cool.

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THE HEAT WAVE CONTINUES THROUGH THE WEEKEND… SOME RELIEF IS EXPECTED NEXT WEEK… THE 2ND TROPICAL CYCLONE DEVELOPS BUT FORECASTERS DON’T BELIEVE IT WILL BE A BIG DEAL

The heat has been unrelenting and we still have this weekend to make it through. The good news is that forecasters believe that we should see some relief (albeit slight) next week. The temperature hit 100 degrees today (Friday) at ORF. Similar temperatures are expected over the weekend. Rain chances remain low although with all this heat and humidity around, an isolated shower or storm can not be ruled out… especially during the afternoon and early evening. We saw that today over parts of SE VA and NE NC. Speaking of rain, my neighborhood finally saw significant and meaningful rainfall. About three inches of rain fell during the mid-week period. Two and half inches of much needed rain fell on Tuesday. This was the first significant rainfall in three weeks! My grass has come back to life. Some areas of SE VA have not received much rainfall over the past several weeks. This has caused issues for farmers in these areas. The high pressure ridge off the SE Coast is expected to remain in place over the next few days. A cold front may bring us some showers and thunderstorms early next week. Tropical Storm Bonnie developed near the Bahamas and it quickly moved across the Florida peninsula. This system is moving so quickly around an upper level low to its southwest that the storm is having trouble getting its act together. This should prevent major intensification as it heads across the Gulf of Mexico towards LA. That is why forecasters are not that concerned about this system at this point. Let’s hope that holds true. Of course, it may affect the situation involving the oil spill but it could have been much, much worse. I hope that they have everything done before we enter the peak of hurricane season.  I’ll try to have an update on Sunday.

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THE DROUGHT WORSENS FOR SOME HERE IN SOUTHEAST VIRGINIA… THE HEAT WILL CONTINUE AND IT ACTUALLY MAY WORSEN LATER IN THE WEEK

The weather pattern that has been causing the hot and humid weather across the Mid-Atlantic States is expected to continue for the next week, at least. There are some signs that the heat may actually worsen by late week. Thunderstorm activity of late has been very isolated and most areas here in Southeast Virginia have not received much rainfall over the past three weeks. In my Virginia Beach neighborhood, this coming Tuesday (July 20th) will mark three weeks since significant rain has fallen!!! That is taking its toll on farmers in the areas that lke mine, that haven’t received rainfall. My grass looks like it normally does in the dead of winter. If this dryness continues, the young trees that are not watered may be affected. My total rainfall for this month is a mere 0.10!!! Yesterday (Saturday), areas to my south over Northeast North Carolina did get heavy rain. We just got a very light shower that did not amount to much… it barely wet the ground. Today doesn’t look promising at all. The upcoming week looks like the same pattern will continue. Some “lucky” spots will get a shower or thunderstorm but most areas will remain dry. When will this pattern end? Not for a while. I saw a forecast this morning for temperatures to be near 100 by late week here in Hampton Roads. So, it looks like conditions will probably get worse before they get better. There is nothing brewing in the tropics right now.

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