FIRE IN THE HOLE!
The evidence continues to mount that the hottest weather of the summer is taking aim on the Midwest. Saturday is a transition day with the first stage of the heat arriving. Highs will push into the mid to upper 80s and with dew points cracking 70, it will feel more like the low 90s and it only gets worse from there. In anticipation of what could be dangerous conditions for multiple days, the NWS has issued an extreme heat watch for Sunday and Monday, and probably beyond. In fact, an excessive heat warning is quite possible for many by the middle of next week.
All but my northern tier of counties near HWY 20 is currently under the excessive heat watch Sunday-Monday.
While there is no doubt Sunday will be a scorcher, Monday may see a short reprieve thanks to a back door cold front. As for Sunday's highs, the EURO gets them into the low to mid 90s.
Even worse will be the heat index Sunday which is generally in the range of 103-108 thanks to dew points in the mid 70s.
The backdoor front Sunday night does not generate any storms but easterly winds behind it drop highs into the upper 80s to low 90s Monday. The heat index is lowered to the range of 96-102. The cooler readings are focused on my NE counties.
THE MEAT OF THE HEAT
Tuesday through Thursday, the upper level ridge that is driving the heat actually expands a bit which means the slight cooling we see Monday quickly ends and it appears highs Tuesday through Thursday have a real chance of being in the range of 98-102. This is when we see the meat of the heat. Here's what the EURO is indicating for the Quad Cities.
The GFS is just plain broken (it would be nice if NCEP would fix its mixing parameters and put an end to its warm bias that is now in its second year). It cranks out highs of 117 in Davenport both Wednesday and Thursday of next week. That would crush the all-time heat record of 111 in the Quad Cities. Thankfully, there is no way that is happening. We will be disregarding the GFS once again
The NWS did mention in their AFD Friday that the greatest 500mb height ever registered in the Quad Cities is 598m. The EURO is forecasting a 500mb height of 600m as early as Monday.
That brings to light the potential is there for record highs, especially Wednesday and Thursday (August 23rd and 24th). Here's the existing records for August 22-24th for the major reporting stations in my area.
The real kicker with this round of heat is the amount of water vapor available. With dew points well into the 70s, heat index values of 100-110 are consistently showing up on the EURO. For now, the model has Tuesday being the worst with dew points nearing 80. That has heat index values poking 117 in SE Iowa. That kind of heat needs to be highly respected and prepared for.
Of course the big question is how long does this last? I'm happy to say that guidance is in good agreement that the heat dome collapses Thursday night with the passage of a cold front. Highs retreat to the upper 80s and low 90s Friday and next Saturday we are back where we should be in the upper 70s to low 80s.
With the heat and moisture in place before the front arrives Thursday night, there is likely to be ample instability for storms to work on if they can fire. However, there will be a CAP to overcome and it remains to be seen if the heat wave can break with any storms. It will be several more days before that is known.
Meantime, there is fire in the hole as the fuse is lit for the hottest temperatures of the summer. Stay cool as a cucumber and as always, roll weather...TS
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