July 31, 2016 Leave a comment
Expect a hot and rainy pattern to dominate the forecast over the next 7 days in Central Alabama. Temperatures will top out in the mid 90s in the afternoons with heat index values above 100 degrees area-wide, and some spots seeing heat index values of 105 next week. Scattered storms will also be a continuing theme this week, with rain chances 30-40% each day. Today, most of the rain has been across south and east Alabama as an MCV stalled out there this afternoon, providing a focus for afternoon convection.
The rain this week will be much appreciated, as drought conditions continue to be an issue across the state, particularly north of I-20.
Turning our attention to the tropics, Invest 97L looks a bit healthier this evening as multiple thunderstorms with overshooting tops are easily noticed on visible satellite this evening.
The National Hurricane Center gives this system a 40% chance to develop into a tropical cyclone in the next 48 hours. There are some things that may inhibit development in the short term. First, the system is moving through the eastern Caribbean between Hispaniola and South America. During this time of year, there is often surface divergence created by heat lows on the land, and relative high pressure over the water. In addition, a small area of increased shear sits in the path of this system within the next 24 hours or so, which will also inhibit development.
Longer term, this system will continue to move westward towards the Yucatan, and once it enters the western Caribbean Sea, conditions for tropical storm development improve dramatically, and thus the NHC has given this system a 70% chance (better than the odds of an NBA player hitting a free throw) of developing into a tropical storm. It should be noted that the storm already has winds at tropical storm level now, but lacks a closed low.
Interestingly, model consensus on this storm is actually quite good considering its level of strength and organization. Virtually all models send this storm into the Yucatan Peninsula and away from a US landfall.
We will continue to monitor Invest 97 L, but forecast confidence is high that it will not directly impact the state of Alabama.
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