Brief break from big heat
Posted June 13, 2011 7:55 a.m. EDT
Updated June 14, 2011 6:15 a.m. EDT
So far this June, it's been hard to remember that our normal high temperatures have ranged in the low to mid 80s. Five days out of the first 12 of the month have brought readings of 95 degrees or higher at the Raleigh-Durham airport, and as of this morning the last 8 days in a row have reached or topped 90 there.
We do have a diffuse cold front making its way across the region today, though, and that should end up giving us at least a return to reasonably normal temperatures for the next several days. This afternoon is still in some question, as we're expecting a high around 88, but of course that's close enough that another 90 can't be entirely ruled out. We should see humidity trend down a bit today, with the mid 60s to near 70 dew points of the past several days yielding to values in the upper 50s to low 60s by this afternoon. It appears we'll become comfortably mild and dry the next couple of days,with dew points in the low to mid 50s and highs that should range mostly in the low and mid 80s Tuesday and Wednesday.
That's the good news, but on the other hand most model projections indicate high temperatures edging right back up into the low and mid 90s by this weekend and perhaps through a good part of next week, consistent with the map from the Climate Prediction Center (first image above) showing a strong probability of above normal temperatures in the 8-14 day outlook period.
A combination of low level moist air and plenty of heat combined with some subtle triggers over the past three afternoon and evenings to produce at least some needed rain across the area, although the coverage and amounts were highly variable. As you may already know, we saw a moderate drought designation expand across most of the viewing area last week as seen in the southeast drought monitor (second image above). While some localized areas received very heavy rain, many others only got a passing shower or two and anywhere from a few hundredths to a few tenths of an inch, as the overall pattern of showers and storms gradually worked farther south and east. The third, fourth and fifth maps above are contours of 24-hr rainfall ending at 8 am Saturday, Sunday and this morning, respectively, and you can step through them to get a sense of how various parts of the region have done with rain through that stretch of time. Note that the third map may not be added to this post until Tuesday morning the 14th, and that the same kind of maps can be retrieved for any day since May 15, 2010 from the "Daily Temperature and Precipitation Maps" page provided by the Raleigh NWS office.
Right now it appears most of us will miss out on further rain for the next couple of days (with a few possible exceptions toward the southern or eastern coastal plain), but should have at least a shot at some showers and storms on occasion between Wednesday night and Saturday. However, these may again be rather scattered and may not manage to produce substantial rainfall amounts over a widespread area.