‘Broad brushing’ the rain chances in summer

Seven day accumulated rainfall (radar estimated) around Alabama and surrounding states show just how uneven the rain has been over relatively short distances in the past week

A broad-brushed forecast

The forecast has to be painted with a ‘broad brush’ this time of year because of the daily dose of downpours. They look randomly scattered out across the map to the casual observer, but they’re really not caused by truly ‘random’ processes. So why do we get the “scattered” or “isolated” terminology with summer storms?

That term is also visual: the map looks like a large paint brush has been swiped over it leaving an uneven coating.

It’s because the things that come together to create the spotty storms can’t be measured precisely; imprecise measurements lead to a greater need for estimates. Estimates can’t get you an exact figure, so we just have to be ready to expect the unexpected this time of year!

Figuring out exactly where a thunderstorm will form is like trying to predict a bubble in a pot of water at a full rolling boil. The atmosphere is behaving similarly to that: just at a slower pace than the chaos of that small pot on the stove!

This broad-brushed approach is what we get from now through most of next week: a daily chance of scattered, heavy thunderstorms!

It’s more of the same for now: expect some scattered showers and a few heavy thunderstorms through the evening. A few downpours may last into the night under a mostly cloudy sky; temperatures hover in the upper 60s and lower 70s through early Friday morning.

Friday through the weekend

Track heavy storms with WHNT.com’s Interactive Radar or swipe over to the radar feature on Live Alert 19! You can also get up-to-date, location-based alerts wherever you are on Live Alert 19. Download it today for iOS and Android.

Friday brings another day with heat, humidity, and a chance of a downpour. Summertime thunderstorms keep on keeping on through Friday and the weekend, and this kind of pattern keeps high temperatures in the 80s, overnight lows close to 70°F and the humidity on the thick side!

Weekend outlook

The highly-anticipated Saharan air layer (dust) has arrived; it makes the sky more hazy through Friday and the weekend, and that alone may help reduce the number of thunderstorms in the area.

It probably won’t eliminate them.

We still look for a few spotty storms on Saturday: especially southwest of the Huntsville area.

Sunday also brings a chance of some storms that will roll in from the north. Some of those could be intense over Tennessee through midday and early afternoon; we’ll keep an eye on them as they move into Alabama later in the day.

Away from storms, it’s just hot, hazy and humid. Expect high temperatures in the middle to upper 80s with a light west to southwest breeze both days.

Looking for the rest of the forecast? It’s always online at WHNT.com/Weather and in the “Daily Forecast” section on Live Alert 19!

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