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Unsettled Weather Pattern Settles In Through Weekend
Humid but not too hot; hit-or-miss showers

Dan Stillman @ 8:30 AM

A pesky area of low pressure in the upper atmosphere has stalled out over the Midwest/Great Lakes region, and doesn't look like it will move anywhere too soon. Its influence on us will be to throw periodic clouds our way, which should keep high temperatures mostly in the 80s through the weekend (not bad for late July) but with rising humidity. Showers and maybe a few isolated storms are possible each day, but the hit-or-miss nature of the rain will make it difficult to put a dent in the region's worsening drought, which has some locales starting to issue water restrictions.


Forecast Confidence: Medium-HighPartly to mostly cloudy, more humid, chance of isolated showers. A partly to mostly cloudy day is on tap, thanks to the upper-level low stalled out over the Midwest/Great Lakes. Isolated showers or sprinkles are possible throughout the day, but any given location only stands a 30% chance of seeing precipitation (40% chance to the west). An isolated thunderstorm or two may pop up during the afternoon or evening. The clouds should limit highs to the low-to-mid 80s, but with a noticeable increase in humidity from yesterday. Light winds are expected at 5-10 mph from the south or southeast. Tonight, partly cloudy with a slight chance of a shower or sprinkle, lows 65-70.


Forecast Confidence: MediumHumid, a bit warmer, slight chance of a shower. We might see a slight increase in sun and slight decrease in shower chances as the upper-level low drifts to the northwest (further away from us), but confidence in the position of the low isn't very high. I'll call it partly sunny with an isolated shower possible throughout the day, and isolated thunderstorm possible in the afternoon or evening, with only a 20% chance that any given location will get wet (30% to the west). The air will be humid with highs in the mid-to-upper 80s. Overnight, a chance of a shower or two under partly cloudy skies and lows in the upper 60s to low 70s.

Pictured: Working on the Woodrow Wilson Bridge yesterday, under mostly sunny skies. By photographer Kevin Ambrose.


Forecast Confidence: MediumIncreased chance of showers and storms. The upper-level low may drift back closer to us again, increasing our cloud cover and shower chances. Look for partly to sometimes mostly cloudy skies with scattered showers and thunderstorms possible, especially in the afternoon and evening. I'd put the chance of getting wet at about 40-50%. It'll be humid with highs in the mid 80s. Overnight, partly cloudy with a slight chance of a shower and lows in the upper 60s to low 70s.

The Weekend

Forecast Confidence: MediumStill humid, possibly showery. As low pressure persists at the upper levels, there are indications that low pressure will also develop near the surface along a weak cold front. Thus, the outlook for Saturday calls for a partly cloudy and humid day with a chance of scattered showers and thunderstorms through the day and highs in the mid 80s. Saturday night, partly to mostly cloudy and muggy with a chance of showers and storms and lows in the low 70s. As of now, Sunday isn't showing any signs of change -- partly to mostly cloudy and humid, scattered showers and storms possible through the day, highs in the mid 80s.

Weather and Society * Integrated Studies

What good is an accurate forecast if people don't understand it, or don't receive it with enough time to take appropriate action? Ever wonder what a "40 percent chance of rain" really means? Where does weather stop and climate begin, and does the media adequately explain the differences and connections between the two?

These are just a few of the many questions and topics considered at the Weather and Society * Integrated Studies (WAS*IS) workshop held at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colo., July 12-20. Among the selected participants were meteorologists, climatologists, hydrologists and geographers from the public and private sectors and academia -- including representatives from the National Weather Service, The Weather Channel, AccuWeather, WeatherBug and -- along with social scientists.

The goal was to bring these two groups together -- those who produce forecasts, warnings and other operational and research information about the environment, and social scientists who study how people process and react to such information -- to work toward increasing the information's value to society. One of the workshop's main messages was that, with respect to weather and the environment, the full potential of the world's rapidly evolving science and technology will not be realized until social science is integrated into their development and implementation, and into education of the public in general.

For example, a driver's decision whether or not to enter a roadway covered with moving water may be influenced by the driver's knowledge about and previous experience with flooding more so than a warning issued by the National Weather Service, even if the warning is communicated in a clear and timely manner. Or, in terms of severe weather and hurricane forecasts, improving their effectiveness is not only about better models, but also about understanding which populations may be more vulnerable than others due to social and cultural factors.

Visit the WAS*IS website for more information.

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