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Hot Air Waiting In the Wings
After cool and cloudy stretch, heat returns on Friday

Dan Stillman @ 11:50 AM

While temperatures in our area have failed to make it out of the low 70s the past two days, portions of southern Virginia and North Carolina have been baked by highs in the upper 90s to near 105. A stationary front not far to our south will remain rather still today and tomorrow, keeping the steamy air bottled up south of it. But by Friday, the front should be moving quickly to the north as a warm front, allowing Friday's and Saturday's highs to climb into the 90s with heat indices possibly topping 100.


Forecast Confidence: Medium-HighCloudy, cool, damp. Like the past two days, we'll remain cloudy, cool and damp. Morning fog and partly to mostly cloudy skies through the day should limit highs to the mid 70s at best. With a stationary front still in the vicinity, an isolated shower or thunderstorm is possible throughout the day. But chances of any particular spot seeing one of these are only about 25%. Overnight, partly to mostly cloudy with a slight chance of a shower. Lows near 70.


Forecast Confidence: Medium-HighPartly cloudy, a little warmer, isolated shower or storm. Earlier in the week it looked as if the stationary front would have already made its way to our north, allowing much warmer air to move in. Now, it appears the front will linger a little bit longer. Assuming this holds true, expect only a slight increase in sunshine and temperature for tomorrow, with partly cloudy skies and highs in the upper 70s to low 80s. The air will be quite humid, and can't rule out an isolated shower or thunderstorm in the afternoon or evening (20% chance). Overnight, partly cloudy and muggy with lows in the low-to-mid 70s.

Pictured: Hurricane Dean makes landfall early yesterday morning on the Yucatan Peninsula as a Category 5 storm. Infrared satellite image courtesy NOAA.


Forecast Confidence: HighHot and humid. Finally, the stationary front pushes to the north as a warm front, allowing much warmer air to flow in from the south. Under partly sunny skies, temperatures should climb to highs in the low-to-mid 90s. With high humidity expected, the afternoon heat index could peak in the upper 90s to low 100s. Overnight, partly cloudy and humid with a slight chance of an isolated shower or thunderstorm. Lows in the low-to-mid 70s.

The Weekend

Forecast Confidence: MediumSweltering Saturday, somewhat uncertain Sunday. Saturday stays partly sunny, hot and humid with highs in the mid 90s and afternoon heat indices reaching the upper 90s to low 100s. Saturday night, partly to mostly cloudy with a slight chance of an isolated shower or thunderstorm and lows in the low-to-mid 70s. Sunday, increasing clouds are possible as a cold front approaches. The timing of the front is still uncertain, so the forecast is subject to change. For now I'll call it partly cloudy, warm and humid with highs in the upper 80s to low 90s and a 20-30% chance of a shower or storm. The chance of showers and storms may increase in the evening and overnight.

Hurricane Dean: How Did the Models Do?

Now that the fate of Dean's track is mostly sealed -- confidence is high that the storm will continue on its track to the west into Central Mexico -- I thought it'd be a good time to compare the apparent track with that predicted by the models last week. Below are the tracks forecast by the various models late last week, and below that is the actual track Dean has taken.

Pictured: Predicted (above) and actual (below) tracks for Hurricane Dean, which slammed into the Yucatan Peninsula early yesterday morning as a Category 5 storm, courtesy Weather Underground. A much weaker Dean is expected to continue tracking to the west, making a second landfall along the eastern coast of Central Mexico today.

GFS, BAMM and NOGAPS seem to be the clear winners. Jeff Masters summarizes the main hurricane models and their general accuracy on Weather Underground.


  • In yesterday's PM Update, Steve wrote about a controversial article appearing on titled, "Does Government Weather Forecasting Endanger Lives?" The article was written by economist John Lott, who promptly responded in our comments section. You can read Lott's response and the ensuing exchange here. Turns out Lott is no stranger to controversy.
  • In case you missed it, check out the transcript of yesterday's chat on Hurricane Dean, hosted by's Steve Scolnik.

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