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A big northwest breeze behind a cold front brought fine weather to the region Thursday. Lowering moisture levels, fair weather cumulus, and temperatures around 80-85 made for the quintessential mid summer day. And you can put it in the books, the weekend ahead promises more of the same.

Our good fortune revolves around a deepening Great Lakes trough that will keep us firmly entrenched in NW flow through Sunday. The key for us is being deep enough in the trough to hold the rain producing baroclinic boundary far enough west to keep us dry.

The only way we see anything in the way of rain is if the cold pocket aloft (850 temps 12-15 degrees) can pop some isolated showers/storms in the late afternoon or evening Saturday and Sunday. These would be brief and very much hit and miss in nature. In fact, most spots will not see the showers. Aside from that minor issue, the rest of the weekend will see slightly below normal temperatures and minimal humidity. Friday should be outstanding with highs in the upper 70s to low 80s. Saturday looks a couple degrees warmer and Sunday as the trough inches east a warmer air mass begins a steady march towards the Midwest. That should be enough to get highs back in the mid 80s to close the weekend which is close to normal.


That leads us to the topic of heat, which includes its intensity, arrival, and duration. First and foremost, if you've been playing along the past couple of days the issue was not whether temperatures were going to get toasty next week, it was just how hot. The GFS is on steroids and its temperature guidance is flat out unusable. More realistic, the EURO gets toasty, but not outrageous with low to mid 90s now indicated, maybe some upper 90s in spots. The Climate Prediction Center has upgraded to a high risk of excessive heat July 28th and 29th. Outside of those two days, a moderate risk is in place the 30th.

Their 6-10 day outlooks indicates an 80-90% chance of above normal temperatures centered on Iowa.

The warming gets underway in earnest Monday and Tuesday when highs in the upper 80s to low 90s are likely. It's the 26th-29th that contains the window for any real heat with the EURO ensemble sending highs into the mid 90s in the Quad Cities. After that, the ridge gradually backs (or retrogrades) and the hot air slowly begins to back off as NW flow gets established again. You can see the build-up and decline in temperatures below.

The GFS ensemble shows the heat peaking at the same time as the EURO but it is significantly overdone.

The operational GFS is really spicy with highs of 108-110 areawide Wednesday the 27th. I'll bet the farm that doesn't come close to happening.

If that isn't unrealistic enough, it has highs of 115 to 117 the 31st. Those would be all-time record highs and in my assessment the model is out to lunch, dwelling in fantasyland showing numbers that are likely 15-20 degrees too warm. NO WAY that is happening!

In fact, the operational GFS is at odds with its own ensembles showing 115 in the Quad Cities July 31st but only a 40% chance of of reaching 100 on its ensembles. That is why ensembles are a great tool. They weed out the extremes.

The bottom line is that things are going to heat up next week and I'm thinking we stay in the 90s but below the 100 degree threshold. Other factors that should help this from getting really ugly are the dew points which are expected to remain in the 60s, muggy but I've seen far worse. (The heat index will be about the same as the ambient temperature). Additionally, a hot but brisk SW wind is anticipated providing a a small cooling effect. Make no doubt about it, there's going to be a few mean days and heat advisories are pretty much assured. It still appears that the worst of it is over next weekend.

One thing that remains to be seen is if we can catch some scattered storms Tuesday night or Wednesday on the nose of the heat and then again late week when a cool front tempers it. In between there will be a stout CAP (warm air aloft) that will make it tough for storms updrafts to form. I could see a few around but right now chances look to be on the lower side through next Thursday.

After that, models do indicate a short wave strong enough to get the front to sink just south of the area. From there, signals are evident that it may turn stationary and waver around the first few days of August. That implies a "ring of fire" pattern is possible that could bring some active nocturnal storm complexes and heavy rain to the vicinity. It's way too far out to get cute with the details but that potential is on the table. The GFS is certainly hinting at it from this area east with 15 day rainfall totals that look like this. The majority of what's shown comes after July 27th.

The EURO though is reverting back to a stronger NW flow which would force the boundary further south resulting in cooler conditions and a shorter window for rain, thus lower amounts. With so much difference in solutions confidence is low on this part of the forecast.

Be that as it may, I am sure Friday will be a beauty, you can put it in the books. Enjoy and roll weather...TS



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