Archive for August, 2013

THE HOLIDAY WEEKEND WILL BE A WARM ONE THAT WILL START OFF RAIN-FREE BUT BY LABOR DAY, RAIN CHANCES WILL BE RAMPING UP… WHAT HAPPENED TO HURRICANE SEASON?

We shouldn’t have any problems from the weather on Saturday, with the exception of some fog early this morning. Also, for beachgoers, a moderate risk of rip currents exists so be careful going in the ocean. Other than that, it will be a typical late August day here in Hampton Roads. On Sunday, southwesterly winds will bring up even warmer and more humid air. A frontal system well to our northwest may be close enough to trigger a shower or storm late in the day. However, rain chances will be relatively low. On Monday, rain chances will ramp up so if you are deciding which day to plan that outdoor cookout, I would plan it for Saturday, with Sunday as a second choice. Note that areas to our north and west will have a better chance of rain on Sunday. Rain chances stay with us on Tuesday, as it looks now. As of this writing, the highest rain chances are Sunday and Sunday night and the chance of rain is around 50%…. I wanted to bring up the lack of tropical cyclone activity so far this season. We are entering the peak of hurricane season, and, so far, we have not seen any type of significant threat of a hurricane. And, there is nothing imminent out there. The only area of concern is in the eastern Atlantic and due to hostile atmospheric conditions further west, this system, if it even develops, may not be able to make it that far west. How long can this quiet pattern continue? Nobody knows for sure. This could turn out to be one of the quietest hurricane seasons ever, but if conditions become more favorable over the next week or so, we could see a quick change to a more active season. So, do not let your guard down just yet. There is plenty more hurricane season to go.

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HIGH PRESSURE TO OUR NORTH BRINGING PLEASANT CONDITIONS TO THE HAMPTON ROADS AREA… WARMER AND MORE HUMID WEATHER WILL BE BACK… SUMMER ISN’T OVER JUST YET

The weather this weekend has been fantastic. The only complaints might be from beachgoers hoping to enjoy the surf. The clockwise winds around high pressure to our north have resulted in a northeast breeze that has kicked up the surf enough to cause choppy seas, rip tides, and blowing beach umbrellas. Also, bathers probably want it to be a little warmer and a little more humidity. Well, Sunday will be another day of pleasant temperatures but weather forecasters are predicting more sunshine. Temperatures will slowly increase as we head towards mid-week, along with the humidity. A backdoor cold front may bring us a chance of showers or storms later in the week, but odds are coverage won’t be that significant… We’re approaching the peak of hurricane season and the only system of interest right now is a system in the southwestern Gulf of Mexico.  Many years at this time, we are tracking a hurricane marching across the Atlantic. Not this year. What about the future? Nobody can say for sure. but right now nothing is imminent. That could change quickly as we all know.

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AFTER AN UNSETTLED PERIOD, TYPICAL SUMMERLIKE WEATHER IS EXPECTED BY THE MIDDLE OF THE WEEK

The quasi-stationary front that has caused the unsettled weather here of late is still to our south. I was away this past weekend and when I came home, there was 1.75 inches of rainfall in my rain gauge. I was up in Charlottesville, VA and it was cool and rainy up there….  Currently, a rather large area of precipitation is out to our west moving northeastward. I can see that weather forecasters aren’t sure how much of this rainfall will affect the region and what areas will be most affected. The NWS indicates that we have a 50% chance of rain today, while a local TV meteorologist that I saw this morning has the chance at 40% this afternoon. The current forecast is that rainfall chances will lessen slowly as we progress through the week, but it seems that a shower or storm is possible each day. The trend will be for temperatures to slowly rise as we go through the week. Right now, extreme heat doesn’t seem likely, but it is expected to feel more summerlike later in the week… As we approach what normally is the most active time of year in the tropical Atlantic, there aren’t any tropical cyclones in the Atlantic Basin right now. Note that the peak of hurricane season (on average) is September 10th. There is an area of concern in the Eastern Atlantic, but it is uncertain whether this system, should it develop, be able to make it to the Western Atlantic.

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MUCH COOLER AND DRIER AIR MOVES INTO HAMPTON ROADS… THE HUMIDITY RETURNS THIS WEEKEND ALONG WITH A CHANCE OF SHOWERS AND STORMS… THERE ARE A COUPLE OF AREAS OF CONCERN IN THE TROPICS

A strong cold front that moved through Hampton Roads overnight has brought a refreshing change in air masses. Today (Wednesday) will be much cooler and less humid. There will be cloudiness at times but no significant rainfall is expected. Speaking of rainfall, my Virginia Beach location did not get any significant rainfall yesterday. I think that most of Hampton Roads was spared the severe weather. I was watching the radar yesterday and it seemed that most of the stronger thunderstorms developed just to our south. I heard the thunder but that was about it. I’ve seen this happen several times in the past when a strong cold front fails to trigger the predicted strong to severe thunderstorms. I haven’t heard why they didn’t materialize but I am guessing down-sloping might have played a role. This is when the air descends down the mountains to our west which inhibits thunderstorm development. I did tell my wife earlier in the day yesterday that I thought we would not see the predicted storms. Sometimes, the upper-level dynamics needed to trigger the storms passes to our north so even though we have the heat and humidity needed for the storms, we are missing a major ingredient in storm formation. This is sometimes referred to as “forcing”.. Today, northerly winds will bring a refreshing change but it is still August so you know that this won’t last long. Warmer and more humid air will move in this weekend along with an increased chance of showers/storms. It is also possible that a tropical disturbance which is now in the Western Caribbean Sea might enhance the rainfall this weekend, but right now that is not a certainty. Another area of concern is in the Eastern Atlantic. That system is a long way off so there is time to watch it.

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STRONG TO SEVERE STORMS ARE A POSSIBILITY TODAY… COOLER WEATHER IS ON THE WAY FOR WEDNESDAY AND THURSDAY… MORE WET WEATHER IS POSSIBLE THIS WEEKEND

A strong cold front approaching from the northwest may bring us a round of strong to severe thunderstorms later today. However, (and I know you’ve heard this before), the coverage and intensity of any storms that do develop is questionable at this time. The SPC has our area in a “Slight Risk” zone for severe weather. Currently this morning, heavy rain is occurring to our north in Eastern Pennsylvania, Delaware, New Jersey and some of the surrounding areas. Low pressure and upper-level dynamics are causing the storminess up there this morning. Showers and storms should move into Hampton Roads by early afternoon but as I said before, the exact timing, intensity, and location of the rainfall is not certain. Either way, things should settle down later tonight and tomorrow looks to be cooler and drier. Dew points will drop to very comfortable levels tomorrow and Thursday, which will be a welcome break for the middle of the summer. High pressure should keep us dry for the most part. However, unsettled conditions are expected to return beginning on Saturday and should continue through early next week.

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