EASING BACK ON THE GAS...
The past couple of days we've had the pedal to the metal traveling the "highway of heat". With fuel running low this journey has reached its blistering conclusion. Friday night we turn the corner charting a new destination, one that takes us to a far more comfortable place. There's still some warm road to cover but with each passing hour, the heat gets further in the rear view mirror. What a ride it's been.
Thursday's leg of the journey included another round of highs in the upper 90s to 100 degrees with heat index values of 107-115. The steam was accompanied by unbroken sunshine and a relentless furnace-like wind. To say the least, it was "uncomfortable". Here's highs from around Iowa Thursday. Waterloo was again a hot spot hitting 103 after Wednesday's maximum of 105. In the Quad Cities, Davenport and Moline both reached 100.
Moline's high of 100 tied the record for the date set in 1936. It was also the first time the mercury has hit the century mark there since 2012.
Here are the peak heat index values for the day as reported by the Iowa Mesonet. 110-117 was the general range.
Over the past 5 days, temperatures have been running 11-14 degrees above normal per day.
Over the past week, highs have been running 5-7 degrees above normal per day (thanks to the heat dome).
Additionally, the weather has been very dry with many areas seeing no rain. Where a bit was found, the amounts were just 5-10 percent of the expected mean.
Getting back to the last of the heat, it will continue to be a factor most of Friday along and south of I-80 as a slow moving cool front drifts towards SE Iowa and WC Illinois. Near and ahead of it, an excessive heat warning remains in effect for the area along and south of HWY 34 until 8:00pm.
In this area highs in the low to mid 90s are anticipated. North of HWY 30 readings in the upper 80s are expected as cooler air starts to make inroads.
With the heat and humidity in place over the south, the stage is set for another sweltering day with heat index values of 105-110.
On the topic of precipitation, prospects do not look good for any widespread beneficial rains but a few showers or storms are possible early Friday north of HWY 30. These are shown entering in a dissipating stage. It remains to be seen if these can reach the area before they fully dissipate mid-morning. I don't look for much. Hopefully the set-up over achieves.
Later in the afternoon the heat and humidity builds significant CAPE (instability) south of I-80. With cooler air aloft and a bit better shear in place, scattered thunderstorms may pop if the CAP is eroded here. With the high moisture and energy levels depicted a couple strong storms are possible along with some healthy downpours in any storms that do fire.
Most models indicate the storms will be widely scattered where they do develop whether its early in the day or later in the afternoon or evening. The 3k shows the morning band of rain north of I-80 as well as the second band in the south later in the afternoon. We shall see. A lot of spots get no rain at all.
Finally, enough high pressure builds southward to force the heat and sticky air to the south of the area over the weekend. Dry weather will prevail and highs of 80-85 Saturday will drop to 77-82 Sunday. With dew points back in the 50s, especially Sunday...some fine weather will be with us over the weekend. Time to ease back on the gas and enjoy the ride. Happy Friday and roll weather...TS
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