Friday, June 15, 2018

Minimal rain chances, but it'll be hot for the foreseeable future

Summer "officially" starts 6 days from today, but Mother Nature has decided to bring on the full-on summertime pattern to our area early. This weekend into next week, our forecast pattern will be primarily influenced by a high pressure that has developed over our area. This high pressure will keep our rain chances to a minimum, but will allow our temps to reach around 5 degrees above average for mid June. Main story lines will be our poor air quality and dangerous heat index values through the weekend.

Poor air quality today, could continue into tomorrow

A Code Orange Air Quality Alert (AQA) is in effect for today for Shelby and surrounding counties. This means forecast ozone levels near the surface are expected to be potentially hazardous. With our light winds and very hot temperatures, this has contributed to the poor air quality.  

We are under a Code Orange Air Quality Alert, which means sensitive groups are the most likely to feel impacts from the air today. 
While this may not impact most peoples day to day activities, people should limit their prolonged outdoor activities. This especially applies to sensitive groups such as active children/adults and people with respiratory diseases such as asthma. Visit for more information on the Code Orange and additional safety tips. 

While this AQA has not been extended into tomorrow yet, I would not be surprised if this continues through the weekend. 

Today & this weekend

Satellite imagery as of 10:15 AM today shows some cloud coverage to our north and south, but not a lot of clouds over our area. (College of DuPage)
Under mostly sunny to partly cloudy skies, the main story over the next few days will be our temperatures. Daily highs will creep into the low to mid 90s with overnight temps only falling into the mid 70s. Our dew point temps will stick in the 70s, which will keep our humidity levels pretty high through the weekend. With our temps and humidity levels being this high, there are some heat index concerns. 

The National Weather Service begins issuing Heat Index Advisories when the heat index reaches 105 degrees and Heat Index Warnings when these values reach over 110. (NOAA/NWS)
Right now, our local NWS has issued a Special Weather Statement highlighting these dangerous heat index values. For today, these values will likely coast in the 100 to 105 degree range. However, heat index values will near 105 tomorrow, so a Heat Advisory may need to be issued.

6/15 12:30 PM Update: Our local NWS just issued a Heat Advisory for northeastern Arkansas, including Crittenden County, through 9 PM tonight. Heat index values are expected to reach 106 to 108 degrees this afternoon. Exercise caution with strenuous outdoor activities, especially in this area.

Starting today through this weekend, it would be a good idea to follow heat safety tips. Limiting prolonged outdoor activities, staying hydrated, and applying plenty of sunscreen will be your best friend this weekend. 

Here are a few heat safety tips. For more information, visit (NOAA/NWS)
The good news is that rain chances will be fairly small over the next few days. While we can't completely rule out an afternoon shower/thunderstorm with how much moisture is present, any showers that develop will stay isolated. The "best" day for these afternoon thunderstorms appears to be Sunday, but even then there is no guarantee that storms will be able to fire under high pressure. So if you do have outdoor plans this weekend, while it'll be hot, you shouldn't have to worry about rain chances until Sunday. 

Glance at next week

Next week appears to be a continuation of our current weather pattern with no real relief in sight. High pressure will continue to dominate the area, although models vary as to when the ridge will begin to break down. What would this mean for us? Afternoon rain chances vs minimal afternoon rain chances. If the high pressure remains well in place, which I lean towards this happening, then our small, isolated rain chances will continue. If the high pressure begins to break down, then we may get slightly higher rain chances each day. 

Taking a look at the 500 mb level, there is a ridge that has built in over the area which will continue to hold on next week. This loop from Monday through Wednesday shows minimal mid level winds with this ridge staying in place. (Pivotal Weather)

Regardless, high temps appear to remain in the low 90s into next week. Dew point temps look to coast in the low 70s, which will keep our humidity levels pretty high. Overnight temps will fall into the mid 70s, so we won't have much relief then as well. 

Overall, stay hydrated this weekend and into next week folks. It'll be hot, but at least outdoor plans shouldn't be hindered by any rain. As always, if our AQA is extended or a Heat Advisory is issued, we will be sure to let you know on our social media platforms.

Caroline MacDonald
MWN Meteorologist Intern

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