Warming Trend Continues… Dangerous Heat Ahead… Saturday PM Forecast… #alwx @wvua23
Following a recent cooler spell with lower humidity and more comfortable temperatures in the mid/upper 80s, the heat is back and it’s here to stay for at least the next 10 days. Throughout the upcoming week, you’ll notice a steady warming trend from the mid 90s on Sunday to actual air temperatures reaching values above 100 by mid-week. This is when a strong ridge of high pressure will continue to build over the heartland of the United States, placing us under extremely high pressure values in the upper levels of the atmosphere. Ridges of high pressure allow the atmosphere to expand from top to bottom, which creates sinking air closer to the surface. This sinking air compresses our air here at the ground, which instantly allows our air pressure to rise, giving air molecules a chance to rapidly heat up. Therefore, the science says we bake here at the surface and due to the sinking air above us, clouds become very difficult to form and rain chances go absent.
Due to the extreme heat gradually building in each day, our overnight lows will become warmer as well since less of that heat is able to escape our atmosphere overnight. Nightly lows will warm from the low/mid 70s tonight to the upper 70s by midweek. In fact, some locations between I-20 and the Gulf Coast will experience some nights that remain at or above 80 degrees. The good news is as the air reaches values this hot, it naturally dries the air out simultaneously. Therefore, the humidity will be lower on our hottest days such as Tuesday through Friday. Regardless, it will still feel like 105-110 when you combine the air temperature and humidity. Another parameter to note with the absence of rain in the near-term is our soil moisture content will slowly dry out this week. This lets the humidity drop just enough to allow temperatures to potentially become even warmer than currently predicted. Some guidance show we could see temperatures closer to 105 during the peak of this heat wave midweek. Continue to monitor updates as we make forecast adjustments. While we have seen warmer heat index values in recent heat spells this Summer, we have not recorded air temperatures this hot in 2023 so far. It’s important to not under-estimate the magnitude of this extreme heat especially if you have plans to work outdoors for an extended period of time. Shade will be hard to find this week so be mindful of where you’re working also.
Looking ahead past the very hot seven-day forecast, temperatures appear to remain in the mid/upper 90s at the very minimum moving into next weekend and the start of the following week. There are some signals for rain chances to return around this same time, which would bring us some temporary relief from this prolonged heat wave. However, there are strong signals for an abrupt pattern change as we near the very end of August and beginning of September. This is perhaps something to look forward to as we continue to dwell in the dog days of Summer. Have a great week and try to stay cool!
Weekend Forecaster Jacob Woods