Hot days, few storms this week

It’s the middle of summer, and the weather does not change much from day to day except for where the hit-or-miss downpours develop. Some slightly drier air blowing in from the northeast prevented widespread storm development Monday; it also kept it a little cooler in the afternoon: below 90ºF for the second straight day.

A slim chance of an isolated afternoon storm keeps us on our toes watching for a little rain here and there this week, but most of us stay dry. The drier it gets, the hotter it gets! Expect highs in the middle-to-upper 90s late in the week; the heat index could be as high as 105ºF+ by Friday afternoon.

Normal for July? Alabama’s weather in July has the least variability of any other month; in other words, we’re usually stuck on hot, humid, and a daily chance of an isolated storm. Sometimes you hear ‘normal’ or ‘average’ as a single number; through Sunday, Huntsville’s daily temperature for the month was exactly 2.8ºF above average, but that’s well within the normal range for this time of year. Any given day should have a daytime high within five degrees of 91ºF. Some days are hotter than others, few are ‘cool,’ and we are far from the wild 40-degree swings we get in the heart of winter.

Something else ‘normal’ for this time of year: the ridge. Ridges are large, hot, sprawling regions of high pressure that push the jet stream north and build oppressive heat beneath them. One of those grows nearby through the weekend, and that cranks up the heat. Ridges often reduce thunderstorm activity (and sometimes totally shut it down), so expect only hit-or-miss, spotty, here-and-there showers and thunderstorms for the next several days.

Weekend outlook: The chance of scattered afternoon and evening thunderstorms rises a little for the weekend: 20-30%. That’s still a roughly 70-80% chance that you get no rain at all.

Expect hot, humid and mostly dry weather for both Saturday and Sunday. Daytime highs in the lower and middle 90s with a heat index in the 100ºF to 105ºF range. The storms that do manage to develop will be slow-moving and heavy, so some spots may get soaked while most of North Alabama and Southern Tennessee get zero rainfall this weekend.

Improving chance of storms next week: After a week of hot, mostly dry weather, the pattern looks to turn more stormy again by Monday and Tuesday. That could send some big-time summer downpours into the region by Monday afternoon.

Several more passing disturbances next week keep the chance of rain a little better than this week; rainfall looks very unevenly distributed even with the higher chance, so don’t count on getting everything you need to keep the garden growing and the lawn green! More irrigation than we’ve had to do all season may be required over the next 7-14 days!

Tropical Storm Chris: ‘Chris’ is spinning and strengthening off the coast of the Carolinas Monday afternoon and should become a hurricane by Monday night. Track Chris’ movement and see the latest advisory from the National Hurricane Center with WHNT.com’s Interactive Radar or swipe over to the radar feature on Live Alert 19! Be sure to turn ON the ‘Tropical Tracks’ feature.

Need some specifics about the weekend or next week? They’re always online at WHNT.com/Weather and in the “Daily Forecast” section on Live Alert 19!

-Jason
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