Monday, July 11, 2016

Prolonged Heat Possible Next Week

Forecast models continue to suggest a big dome of heat settling in across the middle of the country middle to late next week.  It looks like at the beginning, Northern Illinois and Southern Wisconsin will be right on the outer edge keeping a chance for thunderstorms in the forecast.  But by late in the week the ridge of high pressure may push far enough to the north keeping storms out of the forecast and temperatures warming into the upper 80's and low 90's.  The difference between this heat and what we've experienced in the past is this may be a prolonged heat, lasting for more than 3 days.

This type of pattern is what's known as a 'Ring of Fire' pattern.  Extreme heat builds under a strong ridge of high pressure with thunderstorms moving along the edge the heat.  Because hot air aloft doesn't allow air parcels to rise - which is what is needed for thunderstorms - strong and severe thunderstorms form on the outside of the heat dome where the jet stream is stronger.  The heat under the ridge of high pressure helps fuel these thunderstorms with copious amounts of moisture and instability.  This is also a pattern very favorable for overnight storms known as 'Mesoscale Convective Systems' or MCS.  So if you're not a fan of the heat, the extended outlook might not be your favorite.

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