Hurricane Dorian’s path likely keeps North Alabama dry and hot!

Hurricane Dorian: See the very latest advisories, watches, warnings, and satellite/radar imagery with WHNT.com’s Interactive Radar or swipe over to the radar feature on Live Alert 19!

Short-term thoughts: Temperatures plunged into the 50s Thursday morning: as low as 55ºF at Valley Head and in Winchester, Tennessee, 56ºF in Russellville and Scottsboro, and 58ºF at Huntsville International. After a warm, dry Thursday, it gets nice again tonight! Expect lows as cool as last night (if not a 2-3 degrees lower in the usual cool spots).

Dry air heats and cools very efficiently; get used to that idea because there’s practically no ‘good’ chance of rain anywhere in the forecast for North Alabama and Southern Tennessee through next week. Nights will be cool to mild; days will be hot and gradually getting more humid from Sunday through next week.

Labor Day Weekend: Saturday, Sunday and Monday look like you average, run-of-the-mill, standard Labor Day Weekend weather: hot days, seasonably warm nights, and very little chance of showers and thunderstorms. A gradual increase in humid air from the Atlantic and Gulf could kick off a brief shower or thunderstorm (especially south of Huntsville) on Sunday and Monday, but the odds of rain are much, much lower than the odds of completely dry weather through Monday.

How Dorian figures in the longer-range forecast:

Hurricane Dorian’s future beyond the five day outlook from the National Hurricane Center is still uncertain; however, the most likely solution is that it leaves most of Alabama and Tennessee on the dry, hot side of the storm.

We expect Dorian to take a path similar (not exactly) to Hurricane Matthew in 2016.  While Matthew was toying with Florida’s coastline in 2016, North Alabama baked in unseasonably hot weather for early October.  Temperatures were high: around 8ºF above average up in the low-90s.

The weather pattern is quite different, though.  Here’s what we expect the pattern to look like early next week helping pull Dorian north either near Florida’s coastline or through Florida into Georgia (Tuesday-Thursday).

An archive of the same kind of information looks different but still tells a story of how Matthew did what he did: hugging close to the Atlantic ‘ridge’ (the H, or ‘high’).

The biggest glaring difference here is that it turned colder – much colder – after Matthew.  Huntsville went from a high of 91ºF on the 7th (day before landfall) to a low of 47ºF on the 10th as that trough (the colder air) came in behind Matthew.

Dorian’s set-up doesn’t feature an amplified trough like this.  Instead, it is pinwheeling around the Atlantic ridge and being slowed by a ridge over the middle of the U.S.  It will try to escape northward between those two, and if that happens, it leaves us hot and dry next week.

If it is far enough east, we could even be flirting with upper 90s with a heat index pushing 105ºF again next week.  If it’s a bit farther west it could break the heat with a breeze and clouds – but still very little rainfall with us being on the dry side of the system.

There’s a lot to be determined about Dorian and the ultimate impact around the Southeast, so stay informed! You can keep track of it all
on your schedule because it’s always available on Live Alert 19!

-Jason
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