Heat, Severe Storms, Flooding, and Everything In Between

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Firsthand Weather’s Early 2016-17 Winter Forecast will be released August 7th, 2016 at 2 pm ET on the main website. Mark your calendars! An article with some of my recent research on the upcoming winter will be coming out in a few days.

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Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee, Kentucky, Georgia, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Florida:

A trough is going to continue digging into the Great Lakes region, and this trough will actually eventually extend as far south as the southern Appalachian regions. A low pressure system, now located in Canada, has a cold front associated with it that will eventually dig into northern parts of this zone. As we have become used to, this front will stall out somewhere along the northern Gulf coast states most likely by early weekend and will probably eventually lift back northward. This front may get a little farther south than that in places, since it’s not likely that the front will be perfectly oriented west to east across those states. The most noticeable relief will likely be across Tennessee and Kentucky late week into early weekend, where dew points could drop slightly, but even still, temperatures will likely still climb into the 80s/90s. Elsewhere, temperatures will be climbing into the 90s and even 100s in spots. You’re used to it at this point though.

Drought conditions have worsened for many of you, although Kentucky, northern Tennessee, a good part of North Carolina, and northwest Arkansas into the Ozarks, have gotten above average precipitation so far this month. Elsewhere, drought has continued to expand and worsen across a large part of this region. Luckily, Florida is 100% drought-free though.

Generally, there will be storm chances through Saturday, especially along and south of the front. This basically includes most everyone in this zone. I want to point out a few more specifics though, and then briefly touch on next week. I discussed the ridging that will be over the Southwest in the other section, Arkansas/Louisiana will be on the far eastern side of this ridge (although far enough east to not be influenced by it too much initially) and also on the southern edge of the trough swinging farther north. So this will open the door for disturbances to slide in from the west/northwest and could bring storminess across Arkansas and more scattered activity into Louisiana Thursday and Friday.

The trough will be far enough south for several disturbances to ride in and move across most of this zone from now going into Saturday. So storm/rain chances are pretty high across most areas between now and then, and some of this activity could persist into the overnight hours. With Bermuda high pressure just off and along the Southeast coast (a very typical summertime pattern in the Southeast), this will allow a moist south/southwest low-level flow to be prevalent in the coming days. Will this bring significant drought relief? Some will surely benefit more than others, but any chance is good given the drought situation. It’s going to take more than this to erase the drought though.

There’s one last thing I want to discuss and will have more updated info in Sunday’s newsletter. As I mentioned in some of the other sections, a heat wave is on the way, especially for the central third of the U.S. A very prominent high pressure ridge will build across the central U.S., but the eastern half of this zone will most likely be on the eastern periphery of the ridge. What this means is that the door will likely remain open for stormy activity to continue (some of which could be severe) for parts of Georgia, South Carolina, Virginia, Florida and eastern parts of Alabama and Tennessee. Disturbances tend to ride on the outskirts of these ridges, and those locations may end up in that zone. So, I’ll have more details on that soon.

West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Vermont, and Maine:

I’ll actually be keeping the discussion for this region pretty brief compared to everyone else’s. The same front will be swinging through that I discussed in the section below along with the same trough. The biggest difference is that the front won’t move through most of these areas until Saturday and Sunday (for far eastern zones). Temperatures will be most pleasant on Saturday (the hottest regions will be the coast), and actually not too bad on Friday for those northwestern portions of this zone.

A brief warmup will be on the way Sunday and especially into Monday, but another trough will dig into the region with surface high pressure building in behind the trough. This will bring really nice temperatures by mid-next week for most in the area. So this is going to be the place to go to avoid most of the heat for now.

There are chances for storms late this week into early weekend, and then another decent chance coming up next week. Embedded disturbances within both troughs will be responsible for enhancing those chances.

Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Missouri, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio:

A cold front currently extends from the North Plains into the Upper Midwest. South of the front, it’s pretty humid, and an embedded disturbance will continue to move across Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio tonight. A trough is going to continue to build into the region, and the cold front will continue to move across this region, which is associated with a low pressure system now in Canada. Temperatures will be cooling down behind the front with surface high pressure building over the area by the weekend. By Saturday, temperatures will generally be in the 70s and around 80/lower 80s for those in the southern portions of this zone. For most of this area, the humidity levels will come down on Saturday, although it will be very temporary (especially farther south and west in this region).

Wet conditions will be possible across Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan early on, associated with a couple of disturbances that will move across the area late this week. Missouri will likely remain on the stormy side as a couple of pieces of energy will move across that area from the west on at least two separate occasions between now and this weekend. A pretty potent disturbance may move into the Northern Plains on Sunday and come west into western parts of this zone late weekend and into eastern parts of this zone by Monday. This has to chance to bring storms/rain to a large section of this region. As you know, it’s difficult to be too specific on that since this discussion covers a large region.

I want to go ahead and give everyone an early heads up on a heat wave that will begin building into parts of this zone (Iowa, Missouri, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Indiana) early to mid next week and could even expand farther east by late week. The humidity levels are going to be rough, to say the least, and those in the Corn Belt are going to really know it. I’m probably going to put out a separate article on this and will be discussing this further in this Sunday’s newsletter.

Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, South Dakota, North Dakota:

Before I get into the forecast for this week and weekend, let me just go ahead and give you a heads up that a heat wave is going to expand across this entire region next week. High pressure ridging will build into the area, and it won’t be going anywhere fast, given the overall pattern. With this region being in the center of the high pressure, this will basically cut off most rain/storm chances next week, with the exception maybe being along the outer edges of the ridge. So get ready for upper 90s and 100s.

Now, let’s get back to this week and the weekend. Temperatures are pleasant across the Central and Northern Plains, as a cold front is/will be moving through the region, associated with a system that is now moving across Canada. Troughing is particularly prevalent across the Northern Plains, and while the trough will be moving into the Great Lakes region later in the week, temperatures will remain nice across the Central and Northern Plains through the early weekend.

It will be a different story across Texas where temperatures will still be getting into the 90s/100s during the day. The front will make it most likely all the way into central Oklahoma, but temperatures below the front will be hot. Storm chances will persist from the Northern Plains down to Oklahoma this week as several disturbances (some stronger than others) could allow for an increase in storm coverage with the northwest to southeast flow regime in place late week/this weekend. It’s not uncommon to have disturbances like that embedded within the overall wind flow.

Ridging will build into Texas enough to keep the area mostly dry although storms may manage to move into or develop in extreme northern portions of the state. Severe weather/flooding will be possible from Oklahoma/Kansas Thursday and maybe again towards the weekend, with damaging winds and hail being the main hazards. However, I can’t rule out a lower-end tornado threat, too. Another area to watch will be the Northern/Central Plains later in the weekend as a potent disturbance moves through, which could bring widespread storm activity.

Again, all of this will take place before the big heat wave on the way starting next week.

Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, California, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Arizona, and New Mexico:

Some of you in Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming actually got snow earlier this week, which is incredible. To be honest, I’m actually not sure how often this occurs in July, but I’d say that it’s pretty rare even at higher elevations. The system responsible for the major cool-down and the snow has since moved on, but temperatures remain on the cool side in the Pacific Northwest with the opposite occurring across the Southwest.

Right now, the pattern is pretty flat across the northwest quadrant of the U.S. (generally west to east wind flow). Although temperatures in the region aren’t as cool as they were, temperatures won’t get a chance to moderate too much initially before another trough digs as far south as northern California and northern Utah this weekend. This trough will eventually try to retrograde west (moving just off the coast) as ridging starts to build in from the east. This means a warmup is on the way from east to west early next week; however, temperatures could stay cooler near the coastal regions from northern California to Washington, depending on where the axis of the trough sets up.

A broad high pressure ridge will continue to build and stay centered over the southwestern states through the weekend and even beyond that. This means temperatures will stay hot, and conditions will be dry. So, California, New Mexico, Arizona, much of Utah and Nevada will stay dry. The best chances of rain/storms will be across eastern Colorado (due to a disturbance moving through) and northern Washington, northern Idaho, Montana, and parts of Wyoming due to the disturbance that will be swinging across the region.