Weekend Outlook: Hot, hazy, and scattered afternoon storms


The highly-anticipated Saharan air layer (dust) has arrived! It has made for vivid sunsets this week, and early birds can also enjoy colorful sunrises as well.

The dust will make the sky look hazy through the weekend, and that alone may help reduce the number of thunderstorms in the area, though it won’t completely eliminate them.

We still expect a few spotty storms on Saturday, especially west of the Huntsville area during the morning hours. These storms should fizzle out in the afternoon.

Need to work in the yard? Usually it’s best to get the lawn mower going early in the morning, which is the coolest part of the day, temperature-wise. However, a few storms may be lurking on Saturday morning, so check the radar before firing up the lawn mower or weed wacker.

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 — these storms would be associated with a mesoscale convective system barreling south from the Great Lakes, and damaging winds would be a possibility with these storms. 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.

Beach bound? The outlook is good for the Gulf Coast! You can get highly-detailed forecasts for the beaches of Alabama, Northwest Florida with Live Alert 19! Just add the location you want to get information about and you’ll see the forecast and get any special alerts for that specific point on the map!

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?

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 Sunday through most of next week: a daily chance of scattered, heavy thunderstorms!

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