Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Heat relief is just around the corner!

The heat seems unrelenting...

Heat Warnings and Advisories are in effect today and Heat Advisories continue into tomorrow.

But there is actually great news just around the corner!

The bad news...

We'll start with the bad news first, though. A large ridge of high pressure remains firmly in control of the weather pattern locally and, in fact, for much of the south-central U.S. With few clouds and nary a cooling shower to be found (most likely), temperatures will rocket back into the mid 90s today, reaching a forecast high of 97° in Memphis. Coupled with humidity that we've grown weary of (dewpoints well into the "humid" to "miserable" range on the Muggy Meter), heat indices will reach the mid to upper 100's, perhaps as high as 110°, this afternoon.

A look at watches and warnings across the U.S. as of mid-morning Wednesday. The orange area in the middle of the country represents the Heat Advisories in effect. (
In addition to heat, the "cap" provided by the high pressure ridge and light wind has resulted in a Code Orange Advisory for elevated ozone levels, per the Shelby County Health Department. If you have respiratory issues, stay inside this afternoon until sunset.

On Thursday, conditions will be similar to today with regards to the heat and humidity levels, however by mid-afternoon we could start to see some more clouds and perhaps a few showers or thunderstorms. But there is reason to rejoice... because it'll be the last day with 105°+ heat indices for some time!

Improvement coming!

Thursday night marks the beginning of the end of the recent heat wave as a cold front starts to encroach on the region from the north. Check out afternoon high temperatures just to our north Thursday afternoon for evidence...

Forecast highs from the GFS model for Thursday afternoon. Note the cooler air just to our north, poised to drop south behind Friday's front. (WxBell)

As the front gets closer, thunderstorms that form ahead of it late Thursday will move south into the region. By dawn Friday we will probably be dealing with scattered to widespread (and welcome for those who weren't under the storms that formed Sunday afternoon) showers and thunderstorms that continue into Friday morning and perhaps the afternoon hours. A few storms could be strong to severe ahead of the front.

Clouds and precipitation will likely hold temperatures below 90 degrees, though it will remain humid. The cold front itself moves through by late afternoon Friday (if not earlier), bringing precipitation to an end.

Now the good news... 

In the wake of the front, much cooler and drier air will filter into the Mid-South this weekend on northerly wind. Sunshine will be abundant, dewpoints fall as low as 60° (as compared to the mid to upper 70s we've had the past couple weeks), and temperatures remain in the 80s for highs as morning lows drop into the 60s. And it's all tax-free!!

The general pattern of cooler than average temperatures and dry weather continues into early next week before we start warming back up a bit. But for now, I don't see a need for any Heat Advisories after tomorrow for a while!

(Don't forget, our complete guide to viewing the eclipse in the Mid-South can be found right here on the blog. It's less than a month away!)

Erik Proseus
MWN Meteorologist

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