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The week ahead, and a look back at Dennis

Jason Samenow @ 12:38 AM

With Dennis now onshore, it's time to take a closer look at the weather in our own backyard. The week will start off with hot and dry, and even though temperatures will fall a bit mid to late week due to cloud cover, it will become uncomfortably humid with plenty of chances for showers and storms. Here's the day-by-day:
  • Today will mostly sunny and hot, with highs in the low 90s. Humidity will be average.
  • Tuesday will be like Monday, but perhaps a couple degrees warmer.
  • By Wednesday, tropical moisture both from Dennis' remnants and the Atlantic will increase humidity and storm chances. Highs will be near 90.
  • Oppressive humidity will continue on Thursday, with showers and thunderstorms a good bet. Temperatures should reach the mid 80s.
  • Friday through Sunday look to be very warm and humid with showers and storms a possibility in afternoon/evening hours. Temperatures should be in the upper 80s to low 90s.
Average highs this time of year are in the upper 80s.

Forecast Competition update: ties WJLA's Witte

Last week, I took on Joe Witte in's week ahead high temperature forecasting competition. We were both off exactly 2.5 degrees/day on average -- which earns us a 'B' on my grading scale (I've earned one A and two Bs since I devised it). My record is now 1-0-1. This week's competition is (see the graphic above for our daily forecast highs).

A Look Back at Dennis

Fortunately for the Florida panhandle, Dennis weakened to Category Three storm just as he made landfall near Pensacola (officially Santa Rosa Island). The 20-25mph reduction in peak winds cut down on the storm's potential damage. Nonetheless, Dennis still took its toll on the region.

Dennis becomes just the sixth pre-August major hurricane to strike the U.S. mainland since records have been kept. The last major hurricane to make landfall on the U.S. mainland during July was a category 3 storm that affected northwest Florida in July 1936. In all, there have been four major hurricane landfalls along the U.S. coast during July (including Dennis) and two during June (the most recent being Audrey, which was a Category 4 storm in June 1957).

Many comparisons are being made between Dennis and Ivan (from September 2004) due to their similar magnitude (both Category 3 storms) and landfall locations. However, it is likely that Ivan will end up having had the greater impact due to its larger overall size and extent of hurricane force winds. The satellite images below show the two storms as their respective eyes moved onshore.

While these storms had similar landfall locations and characteristics, they are not nearly as eerily similar as Hurricanes Frances and Jeanne, that both struck Florida at essentially the same location (between Ft. Pierce and West Palm Beach) last fall.

Dennis is likely to rain itself out in the Tennessee and Ohio Valley over the next several days, causing considerable flooding in some areas. For the latest news on Dennis, checkout WxNation's Wire.

No time to take a breath...

Tropical Depression Five formed yesterday in the Tropical Atlantic. When it strengthens into a tropical storm (pretty much a question of when, not if), it will become Emily. It is forecast to become a hurricane and threaten the Caribbean islands late in the week, and possibly the Southeast U.S. by late in the weekend or early next week. More on this storm in the coming days..

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