THE ALABAMA WEEKEND: The weather will hold sunny and hot for the weekend, with afternoon highs dancing around the 90-degree mark. I think most spots in central Alabama reach 90 or perhaps the lower 90s, so this will qualify as the hottest weekend in central Alabama so far in 2018.
NEXT WEEK: On Monday, changes begin to take place as a weak closed low takes shape over the northeastern Gulf of Mexico. This will spread clouds and showers into north Florida and the Florida Panhandle. While there may be a small chance for some isolated showers in central Alabama, I think most of us stay dry. At my weather station, today will be the 16th day since the last rain occurred. I think the stretch is a bit shorter at Birmingham, where they recorded a trace during that period, but showers missed my gauge.
The upper low migrates to a position just south of Pensacola on Tuesday, and that should spread showers over much of the Southeast. Tuesday the afternoon highs should dip back nicely with the presence of lots of clouds and the off-and-on showers with highs in the lower and middle 80s.
From Wednesday to Friday the upper trough sticks around, keeping the weather unsettled with fairly good rain chances every day, especially on Wednesday. Rainfall totals by Thursday morning should be fairly respectable, with a northwest to southeast gradient across Alabama. Rainfall amounts will be the lowest in northwest Alabama, with values around a quarter of an inch. The highest values will be found over southeast Alabama, with as much as 4 inches possible in the vicinity of Dothan. Much of central Alabama will see amounts between three-quarters of an inch and one-and-a-half inches.
While the upper low will be responsible for keeping things somewhat unsettled for much of the week ahead, the best rain chances will come with afternoon heating, as that helps to generate additional destabilization. So it will be one of those situations where we see shower coverage increase as we move into the afternoon and then generally decrease into the nighttime hours, but showers won’t go completely away. There’s additional good news in the rain in that southeast Alabama is also the area with the worst drought conditions as depicted by the latest Drought Monitor. So the rain is likely to be quite beneficial as we approach the time when we rely only on scattered showers for rain.
LONG TERM: Looking into voodoo country, we come a little more under an upper ridge, weak though it may be, with small disturbances in the flow that will keep a mention of showers in the forecast. That upper ridge gets beaten down by May 23 with a strong trough moving through the Great Lakes area. This helps to create general troughiness over the eastern U.S. by May 25, so it looks like we stay out of any extreme heat. But the Global Forecast System appears to be very strong with the development of a tropical system over the western Caribbean on May 23, which is projected to move across Cuba and the Bahamas and then on a track along the U.S. East Coast. We’ll have to wait and see on that, since there is no sign of any such development in the ECMWF model. I’m certainly not going to start suggesting this will be named just yet, but we will keep an eye on future runs. The GFS has a history of developing systems like this in the extended range that don’t materialize.
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This is Mother’s Day weekend, so that means it is time for the Buck Creek Festival. I’m pleased to work with a great group of folks in bringing this festival to our community. If you are going to be in the vicinity of Helena today, plan to stop by. You can get all the details about the festival and the schedule of music at www.buckcreekfestival.com. Have a great day and be mindful of the heat. Godspeed.
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