Typical summer weather takes over this week

The description changes a little from day to day, but the forecast isn’t changing: hot, humid days with a chance of some hit-or-miss storms. Expect a few storms rumbling around North Alabama Wednesday afternoon and evening; most get zero rainfall, but some get a 30-60 minute dose of heavy rain, lightning and gusty winds.

Expect more of the same through the weekend: few storms in number, hot afternoons and warm, humid nights. The chance of rain does not vary much from day to day, but the spots getting the rain will be very different. Any given downpour could drop an inch of rain or more over a small area while the majority of the region stays hot and dry.

Building heat: The hottest day of the year so far was last Friday (the first day of astronomical summer); we will challenge that level of heat again within the next seven days.

Temperatures rise to the lower and middle 90s on Thursday and Friday, and it could be even hotter in between spotty thunderstorms through Saturday and Sunday. Your ‘high’ depends on how dry it is at your house, and the uneven coverage of afternoon storms could make for a more than 10-degree temperature spread from one community to another just a few miles away.

The chance of daily thunderstorms increases a little on Friday and then bobs up and down a touch through the weekend.

Some model guidance points to a 95ºF+ day on Monday and again Tuesday (maybe even Wednesday) of next week before a disturbance in the jet stream and a pipeline of tropical air meet up over Alabama and Tennessee in time for Independence Day. That doesn’t mean a total rain-out for the Fourth, but we’ll see the usual chance of some locally-heavy thunderstorms, heat and humidity. The chance of rain looks higher later in the week, but again, no total all-day rain-outs are in the forecast.

A word about summer storms: We repeat this often, but that’s because it’s worth repeating. Summer storms can bring some of the worst weather that you see all year. They’re not as heralded as spring or fall tornado outbreaks, but these storms can produce significant wind, tremendous rainfall, and dangerous lightning for a short time over a small area.

Even on a 10% or 20% day, a single thunderstorm has enough available energy this time of year to grow very tall and powerful. The taller the storm, the more likely it is to produce wind, hail, and intense lightning.

Lightning often does the most damage and brings the most danger to lives. The National Weather Service has a slogan: “When thunder roars, go indoors!” Heed that warning. Lightning can strike up to 10-12 miles away from the rain within the storm. We have an example of that from a Saturday afternoon storm near Scottsboro: more about it on WHNT.com.

The bottom line? Just use common sense to keep yourself out of harm’s way when these big storms blow up this summer.

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