Yesterday was the hottest day on record for the month of August. The high temperature at the San Antonio International Airport soared up to 110º after a warm morning low of 82º. This is one degree shy of the all-time record high of 111º set back on September 5, 2000. A record high of 106º also happened on Saturday afternoon.
Making matters worse was the duration of triple digit heat. The temperature went above 100º during the 10 AM hour, and stayed above 100º up until just before 9 PM last night.
Temperatures were so hot yesterday afternoon that it forced the atmosphere to become unstable, where temperatures at the surface were significantly hotter than the air higher up. As a result, the air was able to lift high enough to generate a few isolated showers and thunderstorms. The airport only observed a trace, while areas west of San Antonio received generally a quarter of an inch or less. This rain also prevented temperatures from reaching all-time record highs in excess of 111º.
With already exceptionally warm temperatures in the mid-80’s this morning, today will be another scorcher with high temperatures reaching about 107º. Given the ridge is slightly weaker today with very hot temperatures, the possibility for an isolated shower or thunderstorm cannot be completely ruled out this afternoon.
The good news is all indications are that the upper level ridge, which has dominated the weather all summer long, is finally showing signs of breaking down. Just about every computer model develops a weakness in the upper levels of the atmosphere by Thursday through next week. This will allow moisture along with any disturbance to come in from the Gulf of Mexico.
Models have been hinting at a tropical disturbance developing Thursday over the Gulf, and moving somewhere towards the upper Texas coast by the weekend. If this happens, the heaviest and best chances of rain will be limited to East Texas. As a result of this uncertainty, rain chances will remain at or below 30% this weekend.
Regardless of the rain, high temperatures should finally drop below triple-digit values beginning either Wednesday or Thursday, finally closing the book on the exceptionally hot summer of 2011.
Tracking the Tropics
Hurricane Irene has finally lost all tropical characteristics yesterday evening, but her effects on the Eastern US remain active. While New York City was able to fare better than a worst case scenario, some areas of the East Coast were not as lucky. Historic flooding is occurring in Vermont, and widespread flooding has been reported as far south as Georgia and the Carolinas. Irene’s impact will likely cost hundreds of millions, if not billions of dollars.
Tropical Storm Jose developed this weekend over the waters of the Central Atlantic. Jose is expected to weaken and lose tropical characteristics today as this storm moves over the colder waters of the North Atlantic, and poses no threat to any major landmass.
Another tropical cyclone developed this morning south of the Cape Verde islands – Tropical Depression 12. This storm is projected to become a Category 2 Hurricane by Wednesday night or Thursday morning as it tracks through the the waters of the Central Atlantic. This storm is traveling far enough south that all interests in the eastern Caribbean and the East Coast of the US should pay attention to this storm, however, current thinking is that this storm should curve northward before reaching any major landmasses. Should this tropical depression be named, it will become Katia.
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