I want to begin this forecast on a personal note. I announced yesterday on Facebook and Twitter that MyTexasWeather is shutting down operations. This is because I want everyone that follows these feeds to know who is truly behind the forecasts and weather updates that you see on a daily basis. I feel that it is more important to put a face to a name, rather than just hiding behind a brand.
Over the years, I have been able to meet and chat with a lot of wonderful people, and I feel the healthiest thing to do in the long run is to continue this as myself, and myself only. Nothing will change, and you will still receive the same forecast as it is the same person you have always read. I really hope that you too can join in on the conversation.
For those of you still unfamiliar with me, you can contact me by liking my page on Facebook, or follow me on Twitter @AnthonyTorresWx. Anyway, enough about me, let’s get to the forecast. ;)
The high temperature yesterday at the San Antonio International Airport was 101º, marking the 49th time in 2011 that temperatures have reached the triple digits. The most 100-degree days in a year happened in 2009, with 59 days.
It has been an incredibly hot past few days even for San Antonio standards. Record highs were broken Saturday, Sunday, and Monday with high temperatures on those days reaching 106º, 110º, and 107º. Sunday’s 110º marked the hottest temperature ever recorded in the month of August, and was one degree shy of the all-time record high of 111º set back on September 5, 2000.
The good news is that the worst of the heat is over, and should not return the rest of the year. Temperatures are slowly, but surely, on a gradual decline. That said, high temperatures this afternoon should still reach 100º.
And now, the bad news. The upper level ridge, which has dominated the weather all summer long, has been projected to break down this week for the past couple of weeks now. Usually, this translates into an increased chance of showers and thunderstorms across the area along with cooler temperatures. However, computer models are now locking on developing a tropical storm in the Gulf of Mexico later this week. This would be good news, if it were moving this direction, but the upper level pattern favors a northeastward movement into East Texas, Louisiana, or the rest of the northern Gulf.
If a tropical storm travels east, then South-Central Texas will be on the drier and hotter western side of the storm. The storm will cut off moisture flows from the Gulf of Mexico into the region, greatly reducing the chances for rain this far west. As a result, high temperatures will be higher as well this weekend. Temperatures that were projected to be in the mid-90s this weekend have been bumped up to around 100º.
Given that the ridge will still weaken, and some uncertainties regarding the storm’s track and strength, there is still a slight chance of rain of less than 20% in the forecast for Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.
The tropical system in the northern gulf will also help further break down the ridge and potentially bring down the first cool front of the season. Unfortunately, given the general lack of moisture, the front would pass through without much, if any, rain. The good news is that the front will bring in slightly cooler temperatures next week.
Tracking the tropics
Tropical Storm Katia is still in the central Atlantic and gradually gaining strength with maximum sustained winds of 65 mph. Latest satellite imagery shows that this storm has become rather organized over the past 24 hours with the heaviest thunderstorm activity evenly distributed around the main center of circulation. This storm has been encountering wind shear the past few days, but the shear is moving further away from the core of the storm and its influence should continue to weaken. As a result, Katia should become a hurricane later today, and could become a major hurricane by this weekend.
Computer models show that Katia will continue to head in a general west to west-northwest direction the next few days. However, this storm should not pose a threat to the east coast of the United States. Computer models develop a large trough over the eastern US that would pick up this storm and force Katia to re-curve out back into the open waters of the Atlantic late this weekend into the early portions of next week. This would result in dangerous surf and in an increase in rip currents across the Eastern Seaboard.
That said, this storm could approach near or over Bermuda. All interests in Bermuda and the Eastern US should still monitor the progress of this storm should any unforeseen changes occur to the forecast.
Elsewhere in the tropics, there is a tropical wave in the western Caribbean sea that is expected to move in the Gulf of Mexico this week. Computer models suggest that this wave could organize into a tropical storm this week in the Gulf. Anything that does develop will have to contend with the enormous dry air that is in place over the western Gulf as a result of the ongoing Texas drought, greatly limiting the potential for strong organization.
Computer models have limited agreement on how strong this system will organize and where this storm will track. Some models went as far west as the Texas and Mexico border, with other systems tracking further north and east towards the northern Gulf coast, with the latter being the most likely. All interests in the US Gulf Coast should monitor any development over the next few days, just in case.
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