Thursday Forecast Discussion Update

Temperatures are on the rise and it won’t take long to reach the 100-degree mark today. By 10:00 a.m. we were already sitting at 90-degrees in Tuscaloosa with no clouds to help filter out the sunshine. The record for today stands at 103, which was set in the year 2000.

Yesterday we had lower heat index values due to the lower humidity and today the humidity will be slightly higher. I talked to a friend and he was taking air quality observations in Bankhead Forest yesterday. Even with all of the vegetative cover in place, the relative humidity was a very low 19%. Once again, today those values should rise making the heat index easily top the 100-degree mark. A stray thunderstorm or shower can’t be ruled out in the afternoon however, much of the area will remain on the dry side through tonight. On a side note the air quality will remain at the orange level and that makes the air unhealthy for sensitive groups.

Erin made landfall today around 7:00 a.m. in the morning near Lamar, TX. That is about 25 miles to the northeast of Corpus Christi. The system is bringing torrential downpours to that part of the country. The last advisory on the now Tropical Depression Erin has been issued and the latest report states that up to ten inches of rain can be expected in some locations. Meanwhile, Dean has been upgraded to a hurricane and the system is churning towards the Lesser Antilles.

Dean will be shifting west-northwest around high pressure north of the system. A weakness in the ridge could allow Dean to shift further northward and we will have to keep a close eye on all of the variables. For now the best forecast track takes the system through the Caribbean and striking the Yucatan Tuesday as a Major Category 3 Hurricane. The system may all together avoid impacting the U.S. Gulf Coast, but its way to early to be certain and a northward jog would mean a big change in out thinking. Stay tuned. A good portion of the area will remain dry over the next couple of days; however, we will have a slight increase in the coverage of afternoon showers and thunderstorms.

The tropical systems will help to basically shake up the stagnant pattern we’re in. Some of the remnant energy from Erin could help trigger scattered thunderstorms by Sunday and Monday. Also the ridge will be weakening and we will be getting closer to average in the temperature department. By next Wednesday we will be in the middle 90s and quite possibly lower if we get more clouds in here. The long range data is showing a nice trough dropping in from the north. If this feature could link up with some of Hurricane Deans remnant energy, that would bring a good core of rain to parts of the southeast. Of-course there are all kinds of scenarios that could play out and we will just have to wait and see what Dean decides to do.

Wes Wyatt
Chief Meteorologist WVUA-TV