Dry finish to the July 4th weekend
Posted July 4, 2010 12:09 p.m. EDT
And the "dry" in the title refers to both humidity levels and the potential for rainfall. We're pretty well accustomed in these parts to hot, humid weather around July 4th, and many times we have to plan any holiday weekend cook-outs, fireworks shows, trips to the water and other outdoor activities with the idea that a few scattered showers or thunderstorms could pop up.
This year is proving quite the exception, however, thanks to a large high pressure ridge that settled into the area behind a cold front late last week, and looks likely to stick around well into next week. The result has been a long weekend that started with a warm but comfortably dry Saturday and will close out on Monday with a hot afternoon, but with humidity levels remaining on the low side. In addition, subsidence associated with the high pressure system has brought deep dry air into the region that will leave us with little in the way of cloud cover and a near-zero chance of showers.
While that's great news for planning weather-sensitive outdoor events this weekend, it does add to some rather dry weather across much of the viewing area recently. While none of us are in a drought designation as yet, the combination of limited rain and hot temperatures over the past few weeks has left us with an "abnormally dry" scenario across the northeastern half of the area, and some notably dry pockets scattered elsewhere as well. I included a map of North Carolina showing the percentage of normal rainfall for the past month ending today, and you can readily see from the all the red colors where we've received one-quarter or less of our typical rainfall for that period, while the orange shading corresponds to half or less of normal. Also notable is a region across the south and southeast that have had much more rain, indicated by the blue and green shading there.
It appears we're in for another round of serious heat as we head toward mid-week, and a few spots reaching or topping triple-digits wouldn't be out of the question, especially across the northern half of our area. So far, it appears the heat may be somewhat lacking in terms of accompanying humidity thanks to drier air mixing to the surface during the afternoons and lowering dew points then, but it will still become quite uncomfortable in the Tuesday-Friday time frame, and also quite likely remain rain-free until at least next weekend.
Meantime, I hope you're able to take advantage of the bright skies and reasonably low humidity today and tomorrow, and have a great finish to the Independence Day weekend!