Summer Heat on its Way... Might Stick Around for a While - KMSP-TV

Summer Heat on its Way... Might Stick Around for a While

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What an incredible stretch of weather. Some may argue that it wasn't quite warm enough for some outdoor activities like swimming, boating, and jet skiing. But I would say most would agree that it has been awfully nice to be outside and not have a puddle of sweat that has collected on the ground under your feet because its 100 degrees. Unfortunately, we all know it has to end sometime whether its cooler weather as we head into fall or one last heat wave before the summer season winds down. Well for those of you not ready for fall yet, it's the latter of the two. Heat will really begin to build as we head into your workweek with temperatures soaring into the 90's for many of us. But two big questions remain; how hot will it get and how long will it last? Let's break it down…

Temperatures are a funny thing… they can be very hit or miss and if conditions aren't perfect, then the heat could be wishful thinking. But first you need plenty of midlevel warm air. This increases the potential temperature at the surface. The potential temperature is the highest temperature that can be achieved under perfect conditions. Remember that it all stems around the adiabatic lapse rate which we have talked about on a couple different occasions on this blog. You have to have warm enough air aloft so the lapse rate of the air sinking toward the surface can drive your temperature skyward and allow heat to perpetually build. This is when the Upper Midwest gets our 90 and 100 degree days. But let's start off by showing you what the temperatures were like at 850mb (5000 feet) on a day like Friday when it was so incredibly nice around here.

Now lets look at the forecasted 850mb temperatures (5000 feet) for Tuesday and Wednesday afternoons.

Big difference?? These temperatures are very warm as indicated by the red shading across much of the area. Now, this is just Tuesday and Wednesday. Let's take a peek at the same altitude of temperatures for Thursday from two different models. (Notice that these two images have different scales. The first one is just of the Upper Midwest and Plains. The second image is of the entire United States. I have circled our area in white.)

Notice they paint a very different picture. Some forecasting models indicate that the ridge will hang around and the heat wave will last through the weekend. Meanwhile, other computer models indicate a cold front will move through late Wednesday allowing for some cooling to occur on Thursday and Friday. Now, all solutions lead to above normal temperatures, however, this cold front could mean the difference between 85 degrees Thursday and Friday versus 95 both days… kind of a big deal.

To get a second opinion, we turn to the Climate Prediction Center. They have a probability forecast for below, normal, or above normal temperatures for the 6 to 10 day timeframe and the 8 to 14 day timeframe. Here are their conclusions.

The CPC seems to agree that an overall above average pattern is likely from 6 to 14 days out AKA Friday through the following week… basically the rest of August. Unfortunately this is little help for our forecast because even though we are talking about the 6, 7, and 8 day timeframe, both solutions on our computer forecasting models paint an above average picture. The CPC forecast doesn't tell us how much above average they are expecting. Regardless though, it looks like we are going to be ending the month of August on a hot note, it's just unclear how hot so stay tuned!

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