A rather stagnant weather pattern is bringing poor air quality to the region along with smoke from wildfires plaguing the NW United States and SW Canada. The orange dots represent fires around the country. The grey areas are where smoke plumes are detected.
The milky regions on the satellite is the smoke with some patchy cirrus clouds mixed in. The smoke has led to hazy skies during the day, fiery sunrises and sunsets, and even a reddish tint visible on the moon. I enjoyed the lunar spectacle last night with the cicadas singing in the background and the moonlight reflecting off the Mississippi. Not too shabby!
Here's the upper air pattern which is transporting the smoke in our direction.
The smoke and overall stagnant weather pattern is creating poor air quality conditions in my area as you can see on the EPA monitor below. More of that is expected tomorrow.
This larger perspective shows even worse conditions to the north where very unhealthy conditions are reported from Minneapolis and points northwest.
Here's something you don't see often in the area. It's the NWS forecast out of La Crosse, Wisconsin indicating partly cloudy skies then patchy smoke in the highlighted green lower left. Also note the air quality alerts for SE Minnesota and much of Wisconsin.
Things won't change much Wednesday as a weak front attempts to make headway into the area. It eventually washes out but there could be enough convergence for a a couple stray storms or showers. Instability is weak so they should be isolated and spotty with the best chances NW to SE centered on the Quad Cities. The odds are less than 30 percent in that area and I expect the majority of my area will remain dry.
Thursday into Saturday the heat dome out west is expected to build east meaning temperatures will be on the increase. Highs will be near 90 west of the Mississippi Thursday and all of the area should be close to 90 Friday and Saturday. With dew points getting into the low 70s at that time, (likely enhanced by transpiration from maturing corn), heat index values will be a factor reaching the 95-100 degree range.
As I mentioned there is evidence a weak front may enter the area Saturday bringing a small threat for a few storms. However, warm temperatures aloft may put a cap on storm development. We should have a better idea on that later Wednesday or Thursday. Other than that the front washes out and warm muggy conditions will surge back in Sunday.
As far as rain goes, I don't see any obvious features to key on which leads me to believe we should generally stay dry through the weekend. However, mesoscale features can come into play such as outflow boundaries or cold pools from a ridge riding MCS up north. Those can't be accurately depicted by models at this distance but that's something to keep in mind going forward. Here's what the GFS and EURO currently show for rain totals through Sunday.
Well, we've entered the dog days of summer and those hazy lazy days are known for their steamy disposition. I think we'll get a healthy dose of it the next week or so. Roll weather...TS