Joe Lundberg

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It's Summer and It's Supposed to be Hot

July 13, 2011; 10:03 AM ET

Wednesday, 11:30 a.m.

Yes, that's my main message today! Just like in January, it's supposed to be cold and snow. It's a simple statement of the obvious! I'm making the statement today since I've been seeing a number of comments about how bad it is and how life-threatening it is. For most of the country, it's not any worse than anything we've seen in the past 10 or 20 years, and most all of us will come through the Dog Days of Summer and live to tell about it!

If you look at the daily normals of temperatures, we're less than two weeks away from the peak of summer heat. Indeed, if you throw a blanket over the next two weeks, you'd not be able to tell the difference between one day and another, as that is how little those daily normals move at this time of the year. So, we're at a time when seeing 90-degree readings in Washington, D.C., St. Louis, Kansas City and even Denver are not far from the average for the date. In fact, it's may be more newsworthy in many of these cities for it to not get higher than the middle 80s!

The warmth has not stopped me from my daily exercise regimen, which largely consists of a bike ride of varying lengths from 25 to 65 miles, depending upon my time constraints. For most people, it simply requires constant attention to hydration, and probably backing off the intensity of any activity, whether that be my cycling, or cutting the grass, working in the yard, doing construction - whatever.

Note carefully that I did say for most people. There are a good many where strenuous physical activity is a problem in any weather, but in heat and humidity, that tends to put an undue strain on the body, and thus the advice to take it easy and find a fan or air conditioning or the like is to be heeded. In those instance, it would be in poor judgement to work or play hard!

One area where the heat has been unrelenting has been over the southern Plains. Triple-digit readings were once again common throughout Texas, Oklahoma, southern and eastern Kansas, southern and western Missouri, Arkansas and Louisiana. That's not going to change much the rest of the week, though some of the northern and eastern areas will not get that hot this afternoon and tomorrow with the opportunity for some showers and thunderstorms.

However, as reported yesterday, the upper-level ridge that is fostering this heat is going to expand and strengthen Friday into the weekend:

It looks more impressive when you see the temperatures aloft. Look at the massive area of +20C temperatures forecast for Saturday evening:

In a perfect world, one that had plenty of sunshine, that would translate into temperatures reaching the lower to middle 90s in mid-July. And the +30 area that stretches from western South Dakota down to the Texas panhandle? Well, that COULD lead to temperatures of 110 or so! Again, we're talking about full sunshine, no moisture, good mixing, etc. Not all of those conditions will be met, as there will be a lot of low-level moisture in the atmosphere that will translate into very high dew points, something that makes it easier for clouds to form, along with scattered thunderstorms. Even then, it is clearly going to be brutal up and down the Plains going into the weekend, and if you are going to go out to train for your marathon, do the yard work or whatever, you'd best do it early or as close to sunset as possible to avoid the worst of the heat.

While the Plains suffer, a cooler, more refreshing air mass is poised to cross the Great Lakes and descend upon the Northeast and mid-Atlantic. Behind the last disturbance that is sparking a few showers and a couple of thunderstorms now, the cooler, drier air mass will follow in, and tomorrow and Friday will be much more comfortable with a fair amount of sunshine and low humidity.

Not to be outdone, the West is also in cooldown mode thanks to a deep upper-level trough. The core of the cool air there will be in California, but even there look for a rebound this weekend.

I mentioned in yesterday's post I would touch on the tropics. In short, little is going on in the Atlantic basin. A massive high pressure area over the east-central Atlantic is pushing waves coming off the African coast way to the south. This is making it virtually impossible for any wave to develop before reaching the Caribbean, and that's unlikely to change for days.

There is a disturbance over the southwestern Caribbean, one with a lot of showers and thunderstorms that stretch from near and north of Panama all the way over to Nicaragua. Again, development will be slow at best the rest of the week.

I'm a little bit concerned about something trying to get organized over the northern or northeast Gulf between now and the weekend. The most likely scenario is for showers and thunderstorms to become more numerous from Florida westward toward extreme southeastern Texas. That in and of itself would be great news for that part of the country that is simply beyond parched!

The other 'area of interest' would be off the Southeast coast, later this weekend into early next week. There are some hints of a weakness in the upper-level flow east of the ridge axis. If an old frontal boundary can drift that far south, then we might see a low-level center develop. A whole lot of ifs surround this idea, though, so don't bet on any development. That said, I would expect it to mean an uptick in the amount of showers and thunderstorms around the Southeast, something that should act to suppress temperatures for a few days late this week and through the weekend.

Lastly, I also mentioned that I'm in preparation for my annual MS 150 ride in a couple of weeks. There are a series of rides around the country that are put on to help raise funds to fight MS, and I keep coming into contact with more and more people who suffer from this disease. I would encourage you to go to the following link to make a secure contribution in support of me, and in support of the fight against MS:

Just enter my name, Joe Lundberg. I'm participating the Keystone Country ride in Pennsylvania. The rest should be easy! As I've stated in the past, many, many gracious thank yous to all of you who have backed me in this ride in past years!

The views expressed are those of the author and not necessarily those of AccuWeather, Inc. or


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Joe Lundberg
Joe Lundberg, a veteran forecaster and meteorologist, covers both short and long-term U.S. weather on this blog.