Storm chances return to end the week, but a nice weekend ahead for star gazing!

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MAIN THREATS

This afternoon: Strong winds/hvy rain with any storm

Friday: Heavy rainfall in storms

SUMMARY

Our atmosphere will quickly destabilize as we go through the morning. We’re already in the lower 80s, with humidity levels high enough to produce a head index of 89 degrees. And it’s only 8:30 in the morning. All this heat and humidity will combine with an unstable atmosphere to produce scattered showers and storms this afternoon.

While the Storm Prediction Center has not outlined any of our area in the threat for severe storms, I wouldn’t be surprised to see some of our storms reach severe limits this afternoon and evening. I don’t foresee anything widespread, but this morning’s data indicates that storms will be capable of microbursts, which can have some very strong winds. Hail will also be possible in any storm. Regardless if storms become strong, any one of them will be capable of frequent lightning and very heavy rainfall. It’s not out of the question that some of these storms could drop up to an inch of rainfall in any one spot.

With disturbances swinging through our area overnight, we should hold on to a chance for showers and storms all night tonight, though those storms should be less intense than anything we see during the daylight hours of today.

On Friday, a cold front will sag into our area and that will kick off numerous showers and storms. Most of us should get rain between today and tomorrow. I don’t think tomorrow’s storms will reach the same potential of severity as today’s, since there will be so many showers and storms throughout the day. Still, some storms could become strong or even briefly severe.

Then, after a slight chance of a morning shower Saturday, we clear out and humidity levels drop! Saturday and Sunday are both looking quite pleasant for this time of year. That nice weather should hold on into early next week, before we return to a more July-like pattern the middle and end of next week.

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DISCUSSION

I hope you all had a very happy and safe Fourth of July holiday! Many of you may have noticed the storm in the background of last night’s fireworks. That storm was located down near Chattanooga, but it’s cloud tops were high enough to put on quite a show for many of us last evening. With Venus shining like a diamond in the western sky, it was as if Ma Nature was trying to remind us that she puts on a pretty good show too. (ha)

Pay attention to any storm that develops today. Any one of them could become intense in this heat and humidity. Hopefully, we’ll all get some rain from today and tomorrow’s activity because it looks like a dry spell will set in for several days. It doesn’t take long to dry out this time of year, especially if humidity levels drop off.

Since the evening sky will be so incredibly clear Saturday evening, you may want to step outside and take a look up as soon as it gets dark. About a half hour to an hour after sunset, Venus will absolutely shine like a diamond in the western sky. You’ll know it when you see it! By the 15th of July, Astronomy magazine describes the close proximity of Venus with the crescent moon as the “event of the summer night sky.” I’ll do my best to remind you of that when we get to the 15th.

While you’re facing west, look to the lower right of Venus and you’ll see Mercury. Look nearly straight up and you’ll be able to pick out the stars of the Big Dipper.

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A couple hours or so after sunset, turn around and look southeast. That red star you see shining is Mars. It will grow brighter and brighter as we go through July and will eventually steal the show Venus has been putting on for some time now. Someday we’ll look to that “star” and know there’s people there. How cool is that?!

Keep on the lookout for shooting stars, as well. I’ve seen some incredible ones a couple times this month already. There are some meteor showers throughout the month but they’re nothing spectacular to note. Plus, we usually don’t hear much about meteor showers here in the South in July because our sky is often too hazy to really see much. However, with this weekend’s crystal clear July skies, you may see some incredible meteors shoot across the sky.

Finally, I’ll leave you with an update on the tropics. Things continue to look active but there are no threats to the U.S. The disturbance in the southern Atlantic (circled in red) will probably be named, but indications are that it will be short-lived, as it runs into a very hostile environment next week.  The orange-circled area in the Atlantic may also get named, but it will curve out to sea due to interaction with the cold front we have coming through here tomorrow.

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You all have a great day!

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