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    The only saving grace at the beginning of this heat wave is that the dew points are not yet high meaning the relative humidity will not be that much in the afternoon so we won’t have those extreme heat index numbers the next 5 days. However, with ample sun and temperatures 10-15 degrees above normal by the weekend and into next week we won’t need much humidity to feel heat stress and discomfort outdoors.  The prospect for rain and thunder Wednesday or Thursday is too low to plan around at only 10-20%. Remember the pets in this heat and check the back seat for kids and pets in the car, cracked windows are NOT enough.  Make sure pets have shade and water and indoors with A/C is better and remember paws can burn on hot pavement. It would be no surprise if the stagnant heat wave eventually leads to some of those “air quality alert code orange” ozone alerts as the sun interacts with auto exhaust and other air pollution so if you or someone you love has breathing sensitivity be ready. The hot and mostly dry weather expected to last around 10 days or longer. The dry spell started when we were still having mild days and cool nights and mornings.  Another effect of a long dry spell is insect trouble in the home, particularly roaches and ants. During long dry spells they are more likely to enter homes because like humans they can go longer without food than without water. So don’t leave any water in the sink or elsewhere to discourage them and lay out your traps or poison of choice ahead of time.  Energy use will be way up with air conditioners humming, I am bracing for the higher utility bill now.  Dating back to 1878 Atlanta has never had a 100 degree day in the month of May and I don’t expect that to change this year.  The highest May temperature in Atlanta has been 97 in 1914 and 1941. Record smashing highs are most likely from around Macon South and Eastward with the best chance of triple digits in those areas.  All the tornadoes and flooding in the nations mid-section is in the boundary zone between cool weather West and Hot weather East with the jet stream storm track in-between along the baroclinic zone. This is the peak of tornado season for the country and they are occurring where they typically do this time of year.  Upper-level high pressure ridge and a “Great Smokies” surface high pressure type pattern build over the Southeast U.S. with the downward sinking air motions adding compressional heating to the hot air mass moving in on the Southerly wind flow: ECMWF MODEL JET STREAM FORECAST SATURDAY: ESTIMATED RAINFALL TOTALS NEXT 7-DAYS: We are lucky to be starting this heat wave with rivers and lakes full in much of North Georgia so no water supply issues. But our lawns and gardens and farm soils will be drying out rapidly requiring irrigation.  DROUGHT will expand across the state the next couple weeks and worsen in Central and South Georgia which has been drier than Atlanta the past two months: ECMWF MODEL ENSEMBLE RAINFALL DEPARTURE FROM NORMAL NEXT 15-46 DAYS: In maps above green and blues are above-normal rainfall and shades of brown and red is below-normal rainfall. Drying spells frying in the summer because dry soil heats more rapidly than moist causing a “positive feedback loop” so the more we dry out the more likely a hot summer becomes. Heat in May does NOT have to mean a hotter than normal summer but it does tilt the odds in that direction.  Of the three main model ensembles the Canadian continues to be the coolest but still with some heat: 15-DAY MODEL ENSEMBLE TEMPERATURE OUTPUT: (Note MY forecast will vary) Middle ground more likely. For more follow me on Twitter @MellishMeterWSB.
  • Much of the country North and West of us has been and continues to be wet while a drying trend has begun in parts of the Southeastern part of the nation.  There is no drought here yet but Southeast Georgia is drier than normal on a short-term basis. However, there are signs of at least a short-term drought expanding over much of the state. Trends this time of year and June are important because weather patterns often start to “lock-in” for weeks or months at a time and in Summer drying usually means frying.  In this blog back on MAY 11th I first showed you what was coming. Our first HEAT WAVE of the new year and “the summer” although it’s still Spring.  With an upper-level trough of low pressure out West a ridge of high pressure pops over the Southeast, with wet and stormy in-between and below-normal rain and above-normal temperatures under the jet stream ridge: There are no signs of this locking in for the rest of the Summer YET, but like I said we need to watch the trends. As of now it looks like the hot dry pattern will break down by June. Fingers crossed. BOTH the ECMWF model ensemble and the GFS ensemble (maps below) show below-average rainfall the next 1-6 weeks with mostly above-average temperatures. Soils will dry rapidly and will impact lawns gardens and farmers/ranchers. Notice above the “Urban Heat Island” effect around Atlanta really shows up in the map which shows above and below normal temperature areas in the map above.  ESTIMATED RAINFALL NEXT 7-DAYS: The flooding in the nations mid section this Spring has been reminiscent of 1993 and the current sea-surface temperature patterns are a decent match to 2014. Using those as analog predictors for the summer show this: IF the coming summer mimics those years it be a warmer than normal summer with rain near-normal to below normal.  The CAS soil moisture model however shows a much more temperate Summer, much less extreme: I’ll have my thoughts on Summer by early June. Meanwhile here is the next 15 day Ensemble models temperature guidance: If your local soils are wet or if you get a lucky thunderstorm that will hold temperatures down but if you stay rain-free for much of the duration then the higher values become more probable.  For more follow me on Twitter @MellishMeterWSB.
  • [6:45 p.m.]: The ground stop at the Atlanta airport has been lifted. According to the Federal Aviation Administration, departure delays average between 16 and 30 minutes. [6:05 p.m.]: Multiple MARTA bus routes around the city are being delayed by heavy traffic. Also, the East-West train line is delayed after a mechanical issue at the Indian Creek station.  UPDATE [5:45 p.m.]: A ground stop has been issued at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport due to thunderstorms that are moving through south Fulton, DeKalb and Clayton counties. It’s unclear when the ground stop will be lifted. ORIGINAL STORY: After a cooler-than-average week, Atlanta has shot up to 87 degrees at 3:30 p.m., making Friday one of the warmest days so far this year in North Georgia. The first 90-degree day is expected to come as soon as next week. Meanwhile, a few storms are moving through south Fulton, Clayton and DeKalb counties, complicating the drive home in those areas, according to Channel 2 Action News. Wrecks are also playing their role in slowing traffic, such as a crash on I-20 West at Holmes Drive, which has a right lane blocked, according to the WSB 24-hour Traffic Center. A crash also hit a fire hydrant on Covington Highway past Wesley Chapel Road in DeKalb, causing water to flood parts of the road, the Traffic Center reported. There are heavy delays in the area. The heat will really start to build over the weekend. Channel 2 meteorologist Brian Monahan said it will be the first weekend of the year you will need to be careful of heat exhaustion. “If you've got plans outside — a longer run, maybe you’ve got some yard work to do over the next couple of days — lots of breaks, lots of water,” he said. “It’s going to be hot.”  Metro Atlanta likely won’t break into the 90s over the weekend, but Monahan said it will be close. Tuesday should be the first 90-degree day inside the Perimeter, according to Channel 2. “That’s going to start a heat wave that will take us through most of next week,” Monahan said. Monahan said there will not be much Friday to steer the showers around with high pressure sitting over the state. “They won’t move very much, so that means they could drop quite a bit of heavy rain in a very brief amount of time,” he said. “We’ll watch that through your evening commute.” He expects the rain to fade away by 8 p.m., making for dry conditions for any Friday night plans.  “Between now and the weekend, the rain chance is pretty low for us across North Georgia,” Monahan said. “A few spotty locations could pick up maybe a quarter-inch to a half-inch, but there are many places that are going to get through the next three days dry.” The rain chance is a low 20 percent for both weekend days, but clouds will start to thicken up Sunday, according to Channel 2.  “That will lead us into a chance of rain just beyond the weekend,” Monahan said.  » For a detailed forecast, visit The Atlanta Journal-Constitution weather page. » For updated traffic information, listen to News 95.5 and AM 750 WSB and follow @ajcwsbtraffic on Twitter.  » Download The Atlanta Journal-Constitution app for weather alerts on-the-go.
  • As I’ve been saying on the radio for days it would not be constant rain this weekend with some breaks, but we will be pretty gloomy much of the time along with the threat of a shower or thunderstorm anytime of the day or night and some heavy rain totals along the way and an isolated severe storm possible. The rain odds are high. Once passed the weekend a stretch of beautiful weather awaits so there is weather light at the end of the muggy and unsettled tunnel. A cold front will sweep through Monday and bring refreshing weather with low dew points (dry air) so low humidity producing cool to chilly mornings and mild afternoons with a return of ample sun. Good weather to open the windows especially at night and get some free natural air conditioning and save some money. High and low temperatures will be cooler than normal for this time of year. Normal or average is currently a high of 79 and low of 59.  Sure the timing could be better but it beats a long hot dry brutal Summer that starts in April and doesn’t ends until October as we’ve had so many times in recent decades.  A small chance of a shower returns with another front Thursday (moisture pocket seen in Midwest in second chart below), but after that looks dry again through next weekend with a warming trend. MONDAY SURFACE WEATHER MAP: AIR MASS MOISTURE CONTENT THIS WEEKEND: AIR MASS MOISTURE MONDAY-WEDNESDAY: 15-DAY TEMPERATURE TREND ABOVE OR BELOW NORMAL GFS MODEL ENSEMBLE: For more follow me on Twitter @MellishMeterWSB.
  • The 500mb jet stream level chart shows a “noisy” flow of disjointed incoherent vorticity max and min advection.  Therefore, unfortunately it will be difficult more than a few hours ahead of time, to give a timeline for rain this weekend. That’s due to the complicated pattern with a slow moving frontal low pressure system, difficult to time upper level disturbances (aforementioned vorticity), large scale assent but varying surface instability and unknown low level outflow boundaries. I’ve often pointed out over the years that thunderstorm forecasts, unlike regular rain or snow forecasts many times must be updated ever two hours or so.  So it’s impossible to give specific start and stop times for any given place in this type pattern but neither day should rain all the time.  Bottom line for the weekend is have an umbrella available on stand-by and have a plan B if planning outdoor activities.  It should not be a constant rain either day and coverage and intensity should max out afternoons and evenings, however, there will be a chance of rain in the mornings as well.  Remember even if it’s not raining on you “When thunder roars go indoors”, if you hear thunder or see lightning even at a distance you are at risk of being struck.  Heavy downpours at times and rain accumulation over time could lead to some flooding of low-lying areas and the usual suspect creeks and streams. An isolated strong or severe thunderstorm with damaging wind will be possible. No widespread severe weather expected as of now, but that could change so monitor forecast updates ahead.  TODAY the chance of rain is estimated to start 2pm, goes up after 4pm but it looks much more hit and miss compared to late yesterday with rain amounts a tenth to a quarter of an inch on average and isolated 1 in totals possible.  Weekend rain amounts a quarter to half an inch each day on average with isolated 2-4 inch totals possible by the time it all ends. Looks like it will be diminishing Sunday evening. It turns cooler than normal Sunday into next Wednesday with highs in the 70s and lows in the upper 40s to low and mid 50s along with low humidity early next week.  Most if not all of next week looks dry, and maybe just maybe next weekend as well.  DOWNLOAD the WSB RADIO APP here and turn on weather alerts.  RAINFALL ESTIMATE FOR FRIDAY/FRIDAY NIGHT: ESTIMATED AVERAGE RAINFALL TOTALS BETWEEN NOW AND LATE SUNDAY NIGHT: EXCESSIVE RAINFALL OUTLOOK NEXT 3 DAYS: SEVERE WEATHER RISK LEVELS SATURDAY AND SUNDAY: For more Follow me on Twitter @MellishMeterWSB. 
  • The above chart shows estimated rainfall between now and 8am Friday. A warm moist Southwest flow ahead of a slow moving low pressure frontal system will bring a more unsettled weather pattern to Georgia the next 3-4 days.  The chance of rain goes up late this afternoon and this evening. There’s a marginal level 1 of 5 risk of a severe storm late day mainly I-85 West. There is a chance of rain or a thunderstorm anytime Friday through Sunday, but the highest odds each day will be afternoon or evening, so no all-day rains are expected at least as of now but stayed tuned. The odds of SEVERE WEATHER at least marginal levels Saturday and Sunday.  SURFACE WEATHER CHART TODAY/TONIGHT: SURFACE WEATHER CHART FRIDAY/FRIDAY NIGHT: SURFACE WEATHER CHART SATURDAY/SATURDAY NIGHT: ESTIMATED RAINFALL TOTALS BETWEEN NOW AND SUNDAY NIGHT: SEVERE WEATHER OUTLOOK TODAY AND TONIGHT: SEVERE WEATHER OUTLOOK FRIDAY-SATURDAY MORNING: SEVERE WEATHER OUTLOOK SATURDAY/SATURDAY NIGHT: “Normal” high temperature this time of year is 78, we’ve been above-normal for weeks now. But a bit of a cool off is coming Sunday into next Wednesday with highs in the 70s and lows in the 50s. We dry out Monday through Wednesday. 
  • Forecasters say a tornado passed through the Wilmington Island area, east of Savannah. The National Weather Service confirmed the tornado hit Chatham County on Saturday afternoon. It says it received a report of a roof collapse and a minor injury at the Savannah Yacht Club. Forecasters say they will send a survey team to the area to determine more details about the tornado, including its strength.
  • As I’ve discussed on the radio the past couple days and in the prior blog post, not a washout Saturday. There will be dry periods before and after any downpours and storms.  There is a risk of severe weather in the form of 60mph wind gusts and maybe quarter sized hail. The tornado risk is not zero but it’s very low.  NOT all storms will be severe. Rainfall amounts the next 36 hours a half to one inch on average with 2-3-inch totals possible in some spots.  This is a standard or routine severe weather risk (level 2/5) that we experience many times a year in this part of the country, nothing unusual about it as things stand now. Hardly the end of the world.  THUNDERSTORM OUTLOOK PRIOR TO 4PM SATURDAY: MAIN THUNDERSTORM AREAS AFTER 4PM: ESTIMATED RAINFALL AVERAGE NEXT 36 HOURS: The MAIN severe weather risk period is sometime between 4pm to 11pm give or take an hour, the broad rain window is 2pm today to 8am Sunday, with the rain chance ending after 1pm Sunday.  Obviously all forecasts are subject to change so stay tuned to updates on the radio via all platforms.  For more Follow me on Twitter @MellishMeterWSB and download the WSB RADIO APP here. 
  • The weather map above is for Friday and despite some isolated to scattered showers or thundershowers in Metro Atlanta there will be more dry areas and dry hours than wet along with some sunshine.  The chance of a shower or thunderstorm goes up on Saturday as humidity continues to rise but still plenty of hours when it is not raining.  There is a standard risk 2/5 of a thunderstorm with damaging wind or hail tomorrow in North Georgia, the chance of rain Sunday is mainly before 2pm. Next week starts dry and warm. Chance of a thunderstorm returns by midweek.  SATURDAY SURFACE WEATHER MAP: SUNDAY 8 AM SURFACE WEATHER MAP: AVERAGE RAINFALL FRIDAY: TOTAL ESTIMATED RAINFALL BY END OF DAY SUNDAY 3-DAY TOTAL: MY 5-day Forecast here. WEATHER AVERAGE NEXT 6-WEEKS ECMWF MODEL: Follow me on Twitter @MellishMeterWSB and download the WSBRADIO APP here. 
  • DTN research shows the trends in weather for each season over the past decade. In our neck of the woods a warming trend for Winter and Spring in particular with a wetter trend for Winter and Spring, a little drier for Summer and especially Fall: They also looked at tropical cyclone activity in the Atlantic and Caribbean:  Weak El Nino conditions are expected to continue into the Summer to near-neutral: ENSO or El Nino Southern Oscillation which includes La Nina and La Nada (neutral) impacts both tornado season and the hurricane season: The seasonal outlook from the ECMWF and other models suggest warmer than normal Gulf and Atlantic waters with muted wind shear. Tropical storm/hurricane outlooks are more accurate in the summer.  Follow me on Twitter @MellishMeterWSB.