Monday, July 16, 2012

Heat returns to the Mid-South this week after a welcome respite

After a lengthy stretch of 100-degree heat and worsening drought, the region got a very helpful respite this past week as a large-scale pattern change brought increased clouds, rain chances, and cooler temperatures. While heavier rainfall was generally localized, and we’re still far off from breaking our severe to extreme drought conditions, the past several days did bring some short-term benefit. However, as surface and upper level high pressure rebuilds over the area, the heat and humidity are making a return in the days ahead, as one might expect during July in Memphis!

As high pressure retakes control of the area, rain chances will be on the decline. While isolated thunderstorms are possible each afternoon and evening, the coverage of any such activity should be much more typical for a summer day with most remaining dry. With less rainfall and more sunshine, temperatures will rebound into the mid 90s. Though we don’t expect to see any 100-degree days, with humidity remaining elevated, the heat index will be an issue. Several days are likely to see heat index values top 100, and possibly 105, which crosses the “danger” threshold. Heat Advisories may be required by the National Weather Service, especially from Wednesday onward.

NAM forecast model for Tuesday morning shows upper-level high pressure rebuilding over the area.
In terms of rain chances, one feature to watch this week for potentially more organized coverage will come into play Friday through Saturday as a cold front tries to approach the area from the north. The front will likely stall before it crosses the area, but it may serve as a focal point for more scattered thunderstorms. Even such, hot and humid conditions will likely persist these days as well. By Sunday, the front looks to wash out, and that will allow the hotter/drier pattern to become reinforced once again as we head into next week. After slowing in recent days, drought impacts will likely begin to accelerate again under this regime.

GFS forecast model for Friday evening as a cold front approaches from the north. Scattered t'storms may result.
With uncomfortable and potentially dangerous heat looking to return to the Mid-South this week, it’s a good time to remind you again the various safety precautions you should practice to prevent heat related illnesses from developing. Check this previous MWN Blog post for all the details and be sure to stick with MemphisWeather.Net for all you need to know about Memphis area weather!

--Kevin Terry, MemphisWeather.Net

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