What Is The Warmest Day Of The Year For Your Area?

It’s no surprise that we are heading into one of the warmest month of the year, and this upcoming July is looking to be above average for many parts of the country. So, have you ever wondered when the warmest day of the year occurs for your area? Check out this detailed map from NOAA, which highlights the warmest day of the year, on average, for the the entire Lower 48.
Day of Warmest High Temperature from the 1981-2010 U.S. Climate Normals (Courtesy NOAA)

Southern Plains Storms

Shower and thunderstorm chances will continue across much of Kansas, northern Oklahoma, and the Texas Panhandle over the next few days. Isolated thunderstorms are ongoing across parts of the Southern Plains this evening, but more widespread activity is expected to develop in eastern Colorado/western Kansas and propagate towards northern Oklahoma tonight into early Thursday.

By Thursday evening a weak cool front will advance into Kansas and north of I-40 (in Oklahoma) by Friday morning. This boundary will be the focus for several rounds of showers and storms for Kansas as well as northern and central Oklahoma. Heavy rainfall is likely during this setup; most areas north of I-40 will see 1-2″ with isolated 3-6″ possible. This could create flash flooding for localized areas during the day on Friday. Isolated damaging winds and large hail is possible with any storm over the next few days, and lightning will be a major concern for those who have outdoor plans.
Potential Rainfall Totals (Next 5 Days)

It is important to note that the area will see a northerly flow aloft, so some of the thunderstorms that develop in northern/central Oklahoma may move further south than the models indicate. This will keep scattered rain chances in the forecast for southern Oklahoma as well as northern Texas, but the greatest coverage will be north of I-40.

Rain chances will subside for northern Texas and much of Oklahoma on Saturday, but appear to return later in the weekend. These rain chances will be bumped up a few notches on Sunday into Monday due to the upper-level ridge weakening. Temperatures will top out in the 80’s and 90’s the rest of this week so make sure you’re staying hydrated! I’ll have more details on the Monday (4th of July) forecast in the next day or two.

California’s Water Issues Solved?

There has been much talk over the past several years about the severe drought conditions across California. There was a glimmer of hope due to the strong El Nino during the winter, but the pattern failed to deliver beneficial rainfall to California.
Current California Drought Monitor (Maroon:Exceptional, Red:Extreme, Orange:Severe): Courtesy of the United States Drought Monitor

However, there’s a new glimmer of hope as of this week. Stanford University announced the aquifers below the surface of California have substantially more freshwater than previously believed. This report shows as much as three times more freshwater is located in these deep aquifers–equivalent to 2,700 cubic kilometers of groundwater.

This is great news because there has been much worry about the growing drought conditions, paired with the large and increasing population of the State, as well as the massive agriculture production of the State. There are some concerns, however, about the findings from Standford.

The quality of the water is questioned, and the water is at a very deep depth. These aquifers are between 1000 to 3000 feet underground. This makes the extraction of the water very pricey. One other concern is the sinking of the ground that could occur due to the extraction of the groundwater; sinkholes could also develop in the vicinity above the aquifer. Even with these questions, this is ‘cool’ news during a hot Summer!

Rain Chances and Cool Front for Southern Plains

It has been hot across much of the Southern Plains over the past couple of weeks due to the persistent upper-level ridge. Rain and thunderstorms have been isolated at best, but that is about to change. Rain and thunderstorm chances will increase for parts of the Southern Plains this upcoming work week. Rain has already begun to increase across parts of western Texas and northern Oklahoma today. This is due to an upper-level low and cold front, respectively.

This cold front will move southward Monday night into Tuesday, generating an area of showers and thunderstorms that will propagate towards the Red River valley. Rain coverage will be about 40% and will continue throughout the day on Tuesday. Most areas will see less than 1″ of rainfall, but a few areas that get under the heavier storms could see a brief 1-3″.
High Resolution NAM rainfall totals

The cold front is very weak, but the forcing associated with this boundary will not only generate storms, but cloud cover, too; which will knock highs down by about 5-10 degrees in some areas.
High Resolution NAM temperatures Tuesday afternoon

Severe weather is not likely, but gusty winds and frequent lighting are possible.

Looking ahead towards the holiday weekend, it appears that the aforementioned upper-level ridge will shift towards the west-northwest. This is good news for the Southern Plains because this sets up a favorable pattern for afternoon and nocturnal thunderstorm complexes to impact the area. This is known as a northwesterly flow, and these patterns can produce very heavy rainfall and, at times, damaging wind events.
Potential rainfall totals over the next seven days

Substantial Cool-Down On The Way For Parts of the U.S. Next Week

cold front moving through eastern united states

June has been hot and humid for many of us. There’s really no other way to put it. However, we have managed to get brief breaks in between the heat, and many of us will have a nice breather from the oppressive heat and humidity next week. In fact, there could be a couple cool downs in parts of the eastern U.S. leading up to July 4th, which I’ll discuss momentarily.

Before I get into the main discussion, check out the well-above average temperatures that most of the United States has had so far this month. In some places, temperatures have been as high as 10 degrees above average!

June 2016 Heat

A pretty potent disturbance is currently located over the Northern Plains, and its associated surface low pressure system is actually up in Canada. The cold front with this system extends across the Plains, and there is currently thunderstorm activity firing out along the front. The air mass ahead of this front is very hot and humid across much of the eastern U.S. There is a warm front associated with the low pressure system that extends from the Upper Midwest down to the northern Gulf coast states. Conditions are a little less humid above the warm front but not a substantial difference on either side of that boundary.

As the cold front sweeps across the eastern U.S. from early to mid week, a trough will build into the eastern U.S. while a ridge builds over the western U.S. This setup is your typical cool east, hot west pattern across the U.S.

The cold front will ultimately reach the northern Gulf coast states around mid-week and will stall out. The air mass behind the front will be substantially cooler and less humid. To give you an idea on locations, regions from the Upper Midwest through the Ohio Valley/Great Lakes and even the Tennessee Valley will reap the benefits of this cool-down the most. Other regions to get cooler conditions will be across the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast and as far west as the central and northern Plains. Highs in the 60s/70s and lows in the 50s/60s will be commonplace across most areas (early to mid-week depending on location) with temperatures probably in the 80s for highs across the Tennessee Valley (around mid-week) once the front moves through. In fact, I would not surprise for some of the northernmost areas closer to the Great Lakes and Upper-Midwest to have 40s at night and eventually into parts of the Northeast. Next week’s cooler temperatures will most likely be the first intrusion of cooler temperatures, followed by another cool-down behind that one at the beginning of July.

The below image shows you the projected departures from average temperatures for this upcoming Thursday morning from the European model:

cold front moving through eastern united states

Farther south from the Southern Plains across the Gulf coast states to the Southeast coast is where the forecast gets slightly trickier. As I’ve stated many times, these fronts tend to stall out across those regions, especially this time of year. I expect temperatures to cool off some across the parts of the northern Gulf coast states, but for the most part, temperatures will remain in the 90s and even close to 100 in places south of that line. In other words, those of you in these regions will have to go a bit farther north for the more noticeable cool-down. However, depending on the placement of the front later in the week, humidity levels could come down for some of you. Notice that I said for ‘some’ of you. Sorry, Florida!

Fortunately, there will be a good/better chance at getting rainfall across the Southeast/Tennessee Valley, where a pretty stout drought has developed over the last few months. Additional regions will have a shot at storms next week too, which will be discussed soon.

I’ll have more details on all of that tomorrow in your Sunday newsletter, but I just wanted to give everyone an overview of what we’ll be dealing with next week.

Major severe risk across Ohio Valley

A moderate severe risk will bring widespread Damaging Wind gusts in excess of 70 miles per hour along with tornadoes and isolated large hail are expected this afternoon and evening from Northeast Iowa into extreme Southern Wisconsin, Northern Illinois, Southwest Michigan, North and Central Indiana and Western Ohio.  The wind damage threat will affect the Upper Ohio Valley Late this evening into the Central Appalachian Mountains during the overnight period. 

severe risk

Day 1 Risk Area (sq. mi.) Area Pop. Some Larger Population Centers in Risk Area
MODERATE 50,489 17,159,246 Chicago, IL…Fort Wayne, IN…Aurora, IL…Dayton, OH…Rockford, IL…
ENHANCED 75,211 14,071,627 Indianapolis, IN…Columbus, OH…Pittsburgh, PA…Toledo, OH…Cincinnati, OH…
SLIGHT 114,349 25,466,262 Detroit, MI…Baltimore, MD…Milwaukee, WI…Washington, DC…Cleveland, OH…
MARGINAL 242,590 39,815,217 Philadelphia, PA…Charlotte, NC…Nashville, TN…Virginia Beach, VA…Minneapolis, MN…

A belt of stronger westerly winds will persist across the northern tier states including the Great Lakes and Ohio Valley.  There is a shortwave trough embedded within the stronger winds aloft.  This trough will move from Northern North Dakota to the Upper Great Lakes by this evening.  This trough, along with a surface low over Nebraska.  A warm front extends from this low through Southern Iowa and Southern Iowa into Southern Indiana.  This warm front will move north into Northern Illinois today as the low moves into Eastern Iowa this afternoon. 

Strong storms from this morning, which had prompted several Severe Thunderstorms this morning, shifted southeastward along the convectively enhanced warm front.  This movement was in response to a strong southwesterly low level jet stream.  As the Warm front moves north, moist low level air will bring dew points into the 70s from the Mid-Mississippi Valley to the Ohio Valley.  Storms will develop in the vicinity of and north of this warm front with supercells being the primary initial mode of storm.  Very Large Hail will be likely with the initial storms. 


Day 1 Hail Risk Area (sq. mi.) Area Pop. Some Larger Population Centers in Risk Area
SIG SEVERE 25,480 10,316,848 Chicago, IL…Aurora, IL…Rockford, IL…Naperville, IL…Joliet, IL…
30 % 12,213 4,222,164 Aurora, IL…Rockford, IL…Naperville, IL…Joliet, IL…Elgin, IL…
15 % 90,996 18,409,308 Chicago, IL…Indianapolis, IN…Minneapolis, MN…St. Paul, MN…Fort Wayne, IN…
5 % 191,529 34,507,995 Detroit, MI…Columbus, OH…Milwaukee, WI…Cleveland, OH…Raleigh, NC…


There is a significant risk of Tornadoes with these storms, especially across Northeastern Iowa, Southern Wisconsin and Northern Illinois west of Chicago.  But the risk extends across the Ohio Valley into the Appalachians into the overnight hours. 

tornado outlook

Day 1 Tornado Risk Area (sq. mi.) Area Pop. Some Larger Population Centers in Risk Area
SIG SEVERE 24,082 6,403,348 Aurora, IL…Rockford, IL…Naperville, IL…Joliet, IL…Elgin, IL…
10 % 41,673 13,277,336 Chicago, IL…Aurora, IL…Rockford, IL…Naperville, IL…Joliet, IL…
5 % 71,076 14,627,057 Indianapolis, IN…Columbus, OH…Milwaukee, WI…Toledo, OH…Cincinnati, OH…
2 % 105,218 19,386,926 Detroit, MI…Cleveland, OH…Pittsburgh, PA…Lexington-Fayette, KY…Akron, OH…


Storms will grow upscale into a fast moving mesoscale convective system and Derecho.  The primary threat across the Ohio Valley into the Southern Great Lakes will be strong and damaging straight line winds.  Conditions appear favorable for a swath of significant damaging winds during the late afternoon and early evening. 

severe watch

Day 1 Wind Risk Area (sq. mi.) Area Pop. Some Larger Population Centers in Risk Area
SIG SEVERE 82,916 22,731,124 Chicago, IL…Indianapolis, IN…Columbus, OH…Cincinnati, OH…Fort Wayne, IN…
45 % 51,341 17,323,133 Chicago, IL…Columbus, OH…Fort Wayne, IN…Aurora, IL…Dayton, OH…
30 % 75,230 13,798,843 Indianapolis, IN…Pittsburgh, PA…Toledo, OH…Cincinnati, OH…Akron, OH…
15 % 114,507 25,961,856 Detroit, MI…Baltimore, MD…Milwaukee, WI…Washington, DC…Cleveland, OH…
5 % 241,275 39,436,728 Philadelphia, PA…Charlotte, NC…Nashville, TN…Virginia Beach, VA…Minneapolis, MN…

Robert Millette

Staff Meteorologist

Firsthand Weather

Tropical Storm Warnings into North Carolina

Tropical Storm Colin


Tropical Storm Warnings have indeed been extended into North Carolina as forecast here at Firsthand earlier today.

Tropical Storm

Tropical Storm Warnings are not in effect from Indian Pass to Englewood Florida on the Gulf Coast, and from Sebastian Inlet Florida to Oregon Inlet North Carolina.

Colin is now moving north northeast at 23 miles per hour and is 70 miles south southwest of Appalachicola Florida.  Colin should move on shore during the next few hours.  Several locations in Florida have already felt the effect of Colin’s outer bands as strong gusty tropical downpours moved on shore.   3-5 inches of rain is expected with some higher amounts where training occurs.  Coastal Flooding should be held to a minimum as Colin approaches during low Tide.  Locations on thee Atlantic Coast may not get so lucky however and will have an onshore flow during high tide on Tuesday.   We will keep track of Colin’s forward movement to help pinpoint the locations that could see the strongest winds during high tide.

Colin’s maximum sustained winds remains at 50 mph, but his minimum central pressure has begun to drop again and is now down to 1002 millibars.  A slight increase in winds is not out of the question before landfall occurs.

Tropical Storm

Remember,   tornadoes are a risk in this region


Colin’s strongest winds and heaviest rains are displaced to the centers Southeast.  This is why the warnings expand so far in that direction.  Tropical Storm conditions will extend well to the south and west of the location of landfall.  Forecast models continue to show that Colin will continue to deepen and that wind speed will increase.  The coastal areas of the Carolinas should be especially on the watch for winds in excess of 60 miles per hour as Colin increases wind speeds off the Atlantic coast.

Robert Millette

Staff Meteorologist

Firsthand Weather

Tropical Storm Warnings for South Carolina

Tropical Storm Colin

Tropical Storm Warnings are in effect from Indian Pass to Englewood Florida on the Gulf Coast, and from Sebastian Inlet Florida to the South Santee River in South Carolina.  I anticipate additional Watches and warnings to be extended further north along the South and North Carolina coastline.

Tropical Storm Colin

Colin continues to move toward the north northeast, now at 16 miles per hour.  Maximum sustained winds are at 50 miles per hour with higher gusts, and a minimum central pressure of 1004 millibars.  Colin will continue to strengthen and while not expected  to be a hurricane before making landfall in Florida, some models are beginning to show Colin could approach hurricane strength while moving out to sea over the Atlantic Ocean even as he transitions to a post tropical cyclone.  The map above shows the current track forecast and areas under Tropical Storm Warnings.  The blue  circle next to Colin’s location is  the area currently seeing Tropical Storm Force winds.  As with any tropical system, Colin’s strongest winds are to the right of  the center of  circulation.

Colin 1

However, this does not preclude localized areas of strong to near Tropical Storm force winds in other parts of  the storm and heavy rain showers with strong winds are already beginning to impact Florida as seen on the radar image below.

Colin 3

Heavy rainfall continues to be the biggest non wind threat associated with Colin.  While Tropical Storm force winds will effect a large area of Florida into Georgia and the Carolinas, rainfall as high as 3-5 inches is expected over a large area of  the same region.  Some areas that receiving training tropical rain bands could see as much as 8 inches of rain.  Tornadoes are also going to be a risk with this system.  The Storm Prediction Center currently has a 5% risk of Tornadoes in the area.


Storm Surge does not appear to be a risk at this time as the worst effects of Colin should take place during low tide.  Some localized coastal flooding could occur during high tide  this afternoon as gusty outer band storms move in but the effects should be marginal and of very short duration.  But the Florida coast should expect very dangerous conditions along the shore from very heavy surf.


Robert Millette

Staff Meteorologist

Firsthand Weather

Tropical Storm Colin forms

Tropical Storm Colin has been named in the Gulf of Mexico as he strengthened this afternoon.

Tropical Storm

Tropical Storm Warnings remain in effect from Indian Pass to Englewood Florida.  Colin’s winds are now 40 miles per hour with a minimum central pressure of 1003 millibars.  Colin is currently 460 miles Southwest of Tampa and is moving north at 9 miles per hour.  It is possible that the Warning area may be expanded along the Southeast coast towards Pensacola if Colin’s wind field continues to expand.  The west coast of Florida should experience a storm surge of 1-3 feet from Indian Pass to Tampa Bay with 1-2 feet expected south of Tampa Bay to Florida Bay.  Heavy surf and some minor coastal flooding are expected but the main storm surge should occur away from the time of high tide and that will help mitigate the damage.

Tropical Storm Watches have now been issued from Altamaha Sound in Georgia to the Flagler/Volusia County line in Florida.  These areas should expect Tropical Storm conditions late Monday into Tuesday.  Colin is not expected to weaken much as he crosses Florida as his forward speed will make the journey across the state in less than 10 hours.

colin 2

Rain will be heavy throughout the area, with 3 to 5 inches expected across the region.  Locally heavier amounts are possible where tropical downpours train over the same area.  There is a risk of tornadoes throughout the Central and Northern Florida region extending into Southern Georgia.

Areas along the coast further into the Carolinas should pay attention to this system as it moves closer as heavy rain is possible in this area.  This could exacerbate existing conditions and cause additional flooding.

Firsthand Weather will continue to keep an eye on Colin and should have another article out in the morning bringing you the latest in information as this system approaches Florida.

Robert  Millette

Staff Meteorologist

Firsthand Weather

Tropical Storm Warnings issued for Florida

With Tropical Storm Warnings issued from Indian Pass to Englewood Florida, we now watch as Tropical Depression 3 has formed in the Gulf of Mexico and is expected to strengthen during the day.  This system is likely to form into Tropical Storm Colin as it moves North Northeast toward the coast.  Interests along the coast from Florida to South Carolina should monitor the progress of this storm.

Colin 1

Depression 3 is currently moving North at 8 miles per hour.  The minimum central pressure is currently 1005 millibars with maximum sustained winds around 35 miles per hour.  Three is expected to pick up forward speed and shift to the north northeast on Monday and should be near the coast by Monday evening into early Monday night.

The main hazard with this system appears to be the rain.  3-5 inches are expected with some isolated higher amounts from the Yucatan across Western Cuba into Florida.  Interests in the Carolinas should be especially on guard for high rain totals after the deluge Bonnie unleashed on the region.  Coastal flooding could be an slight issue, but it appears that the system will be moving onshore closer to low tide.  This will help mitigate coastal flooding, despite a storm surge of 1-3 feet.  There will still be some minor flooding in the typical low lying areas.  The exact timing and strength of the storm will dictate exact storm surge issues.

Tropical Storm winds will impact much of the area, and a few tornadoes cannot be ruled out for the area. The Air Force hurricane hunter craft will begin to investigate this system by Monday morning.   Additional information on this system will be posted as it becomes available.

This is the latest projected path, based on latest trends:

Colin 1

Keep in mind that the projected path is only showing where the center of circulation is expected to move. Heaviest amounts could fall on the east side of this system, which is why it will be important to nail down the exact track. Below is the latest 3-day rainfall predictions from WPC, which will be subject to change some over the next 48 hours:

3 Day Rainfall Totals