TODAY: A few showers were occurring this morning across southwest Alabama where the large mesoscale convective system occurred last night. Clouds were confined primarily to the southwest and south central sections of the state. Without the clouds we saw hanging on for much of the morning yesterday, our highs today should climb into the upper 80s. Moisture levels remain high, so there will be the chance of afternoon and evening showers and storms today.
The pesky but weak upper low is still with us and will likely play a role today and Sunday in helping to generate showers and storms mainly across the southern portions of the Southeast U.S. It’s also worth noting that the Global Forecast System has not initialized very well with the 06Z model run. The large complex of storms over southern Missouri were not evident in the charts, so it is likely to lay down some boundaries that will likely be the focus for additional storms today.
SUNDAY AND MONDAY: A fairly strong trough will move across the Great Lakes area on Sunday and Monday. While the trough barely reaches the Southeast, a cold front is expected to reach the Tennessee River Valley by midday on Monday, so our best chance for widespread showers and thunderstorms should come then. Sunday will be warm again with highs in the upper 80s, but Monday could be a tad lower thanks to the presence of additional clouds and storms.
TROPICS: Now comes the real trouble! The GFS is grabbing the tropical disturbance over the western Caribbean today, bringing it across the Yucatan Peninsula on Monday and intensifying it over the central Gulf of Mexico on Tuesday. This is in sharp contrast to the ECMWF, which takes the tropical disturbance into the western Gulf of Mexico. By Wednesday at midday, the GFS has the storm just offshore from the Florida Panhandle, but the ECMWF keeps it in the western Gulf, potentially impacting extreme south Texas. So we have a quandary with the two major global models in stark disagreement. At the moment, I’m leaning toward the GFS in part because the overall upper-air pattern seems to favor this track. I also note that the five-day graphic from the National Hurricane Center brings the area of cloudiness northwestward across the Yucatan Peninsula into the south central Gulf. No matter what the models suggest now, we’ll definitely have to keep an eye on how this system develops. The NHC discussion on the disturbed area notes that conditions do appear favorable for additional development.
NEXT WEEK: The presence or absence of a tropical system in the Gulf of Mexico by Wednesday could have a significant bearing on our forecast. The GFS also shows much drier air arriving in north Alabama on Tuesday and Wednesday behind the front, so if we do have a tropical system in the vicinity of northwest Florida by Wednesday, we could stay in the drier air and also be in the area of significant subsidence (downward moving air) associated with the northwestern portion of the tropical system.
By Thursday, the upper air pattern becomes much more zonal for much of the country as an upper ridge begins to develop over the Southwest U.S. The upper ridge bulges northeastward by Saturday, so even with the presence of showers, highs should move into the lower 90s.
AT THE BEACH: The weather at the beach for the next week is expected to be pretty stormy, with passing showers and storms just about each day. Highs will be in the middle 80s. Plus, there is the potential for a weak tropical system in the Gulf that could produce serious weather issues around the Tuesday-Wednesday time frame. For a detailed look at the weather from Fort Morgan to Panama City Beach, click here to see the AlabamaWx Beach Forecast Center page.
LOOKING AHEAD: Looking into voodoo country, the GFS does not indicate much change with time. The pattern for nearly all of week 2 keeps a weak trough over the eastern U.S. with a big heat ridge over the Southwest. This would mean a good deal of heat for the western U.S., while the eastern half of the country remained near or slightly below the 30-year averages for late June.