An August heat wave is maintaining its grip across much of Texas. The hottest temperatures so far this summer have occurred this week at many locations thanks to a powerful ridge of high pressure in the upper atmosphere and very dry soils. Unfortunately, the heat wave is not showing any signs of backing down anytime soon, although some slight temperature moderation appears possible the second half of next week.
Friday's weather maps showed a broad ridge of high pressure in the middle and upper atmosphere stretching from the Desert Southwest to southern Florida. The center, or strongest part of the ridge, was situated over northwest Texas. Sinking air from the middle atmosphere to the surface has been one of the main factors enabling temperatures to reach extreme levels this week. Forecasts call for the center of the ridge to remain parked over North Texas this weekend and the first part of next week. There are indications the center of the ridge will finally shift away from North Texas and migrate west to northern Mexico and the Desert Southwest beginning next Wednesday, continuing over that same general area into next weekend. It's this shift to the west that is expected to cause temperatures to moderate down a few degrees the second half of next week.
This weekend, continuing through Tuesday, expect a mostly sunny sky and very hot temperatures. High temperatures across the Hill Country and Central Texas regions are forecast to generally be between 102 and 105 degrees. Across the coastal plains region, high temperatures will generally be near 98-101 degrees. Note that with the very hot daytime readings, temperatures will have a tough time cooling down at night. Low temperatures across the Hill Country will be in the mid and upper 70s. Lows across Central Texas and the middle Texas coast will generally be near 78-80 degrees.
Wednesday through Friday, expect a mostly sunny to partly cloudy sky and continued hot. High temperatures Wednesday will be near 101-103 across the Hill Country and Central Texas regions and in the upper 90s across the coastal plains. High temperatures Thursday, Friday and next weekend are forecast to be near 100-102 degrees across the Hill Country and Central Texas and in the upper 90s across the coastal plains.
Looking out further to the week of August 19th, no significant changes are showing up at this time. High temperatures are forecast to stay near 100-102 degrees across the Hill Country and Central Texas regions. There are some indications the center of the high pressure ridge may shift from northern Mexico to the Ohio Valley and the Midwest around the 22nd or 23rd. Should this indeed take place, temperatures locally will likely drop a few more degrees. And circulation around the ridge will bring moisture off the Gulf of Mexico into Texas, possibly leading to the development of a few showers. Stay tuned for more details.Tropical Weather Outlook
Conditions are currently very quiet across the tropical Atlantic, the Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico. There are no systems in place which pose a threat for tropical development for at least 5 days. RAMMB-CIRA 08/09/2019 12:40 pm CDT
National Hurricane Center forecasters released an updated outlook for the remainder of the hurricane season on Thursday. According to the Hurricane Center, oceanic and atmospheric patterns are expected to become more favorable for above-normal hurricane activity to take place late August through October. One of the main reasons is the recent ending of El Niño.
The number of predicted storms is now greater, with the Hurricane Center expecting 10-17 named storms (winds of 39 mph or greater), of which 5-9 will become hurricanes (winds of 74 mph or greater), including 2-4 major hurricanes (winds of 111 mph or greater).
NOAA announced Thursday the current El Nino in the Pacific Ocean has ended and neutral conditions have returned. El Nino's typically suppress Atlantic hurricane activity but now that it's gone, we should see a busier season ahead. This evolution, combined with the more conducive conditions associated with the ongoing high-activity era for Atlantic hurricanes that began in 1995, increases the likelihood of above-normal activity this year. The Perseid Meteor Shower Visible this Weekend and Early Next Week
Every year in August, the Swift-Tuttle comet puts on a brilliant show in the night sky. When the Earth plows into its wake, tiny sand- and pea-sized bits of debris hit our atmosphere at 132,000 miles per hour, reach temperatures of 3,000 to 10,000 degrees, and streak across the sky in what we call the Perseid meteor shower.
This year, the meteor shower will peak in the night between Monday, August 12 and Tuesday, August 13. According to NASA, you may be able to see around 15 to 20 meteors an hour during the peak. Many years, it's possible to see up to 60 meteors per hour during the Perseids. However, this year, a big, bright, nearly full moon will reduce the number we're able to see. That means the ideal night to catch the Perseids may be just before the peak on August 11. Then, NASA notes, the moon will set after 3 am, leaving dark skies to illuminate more meteors.
Once the sky turns dark, you should be able to spot the Perseids rising in the northeastern sky. However, It's best to wait until 11 pm or later, when the constellation Perseus will be higher in the sky. It may also take up to an hour for your eyes to fully adjust to the darkness to view the meteors.
But you don't need to be staring right at the constellation to see the meteors. They'll radiate out in all directions across the sky.
Have a good weekend and stay cool!