Joe Lundberg

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Tropics May Be Dead, but Tropical Moisture Is Causing Plenty of Mischief

August 8, 2013; 9:46 AM ET

Thursday, 11:20 a.m.

I'm playing hurt these days, as my passion for summer fruits cost me dearly over the past week. Well, the passion didn't cost me. It was more of my one-time carelessness in getting such wild fruits that has caused me much discomfort for over a week now. I always go after things like strawberries, black raspberries, wild blueberries (THE best kind!), and even blackberries and elderberries fully clothed - and by that I mean a pair of blue jeans and a long-sleeved shirt. Long socks, too, if I have any. They all serve their purposes. For one, they offer my skin more protection from the inevitable thorns or prickers, especially when I'm picking any kind of raspberry. Second, they help to keep any bites down from mosquitoes and what not. And third, they keep my skin away from poison.

The ONE TIME I went away from my normal dress code when going after blackberries a week ago Sunday, and I succumbed to the last of those three. A week ago Tuesday, the first boils from poison ivy started showing up, and before long, legs from just above the knees all the way to my ankles were half covered in the boils! Ugh. And in the past couple of days, I've added a lot of swelling to my ankles, too - something I've never suffered from before in all my life. The poison ivy is now in the process of scabbing over, so the worst of that is done, though my best assets look like I've been whopped and beaten to death!

So I'm sitting here typing out the daily post with my feet propped up on the desk as high as can comfortably get them and still get my work done. Needless to say, it has made this workday a challenge, as was the case Tuesday and Wednesday. And yes, I'm heading off to see a physician right after work shortly to see if I can get some sort of P.E.D. You know, I wanna emulate the rich and famous who play one of my favorite games (baseball), so if helps their recuperative powers, maybe it'll work for me. And maybe it'll help my speed on the bike, too!

Anyway, at least I can be thankful that I'm living in a place that has been devoid of high humidity for the better part of my personal misery. That is, until now. Dew points are now in the upper 60s here in Happy Valley, and the 70-degree dew points have, as promised, reached up to southwestern New York, much of southern and eastern Pennsylvania into southeastern New York State and the southern New England coast.

There is a front that has cut into the high humidity, and it stretches from just west of Buffalo and across Lake Erie west-southwestward to central Illinois at this hour. North of there, the air mass is dry and pretty clean. South of there, it is just plain soupy with a fair amount of clouds.

The surge of humidity helped fuel strong to severe thunderstorms yesterday across the lower Great Lakes into south-central Pennsylvania:

That area was hardly alone in getting hot hard with rain and thunderstorms. The dew points are also in the 70s throughout the southern tier of states, and in the southern Plains, it has been very hot of late as well. Look at the highs from Wednesday:

Triple-digit heat throughout most of Texas yet again. When you take that kind of heat AND humidity and ram it toward a frontal boundary to the north, there will be violent weather, and you can see the results of that in both the severe weather reports from yesterday and last night, as well as the excessive rains that soaked part of Oklahoma and Kansas into parts of Missouri and Arkansas in the past 24 hours. And the setup is there to do it again. Look at the 850 forecast for tonight, noting closely the projected wind barbs:

Expect more strong to severe thunderstorms with flooding downpours along and especially north of the Red River Valley up into Oklahoma and Kansas, spreading into northern Arkansas and southern Missouri tonight into tomorrow morning.

Farther east, the tropical moisture will fuel more showers and thunderstorms through tomorrow ahead of a cold front that will ultimately trim out the warmth and especially the humidity from the Northeast this weekend. The 12z Thursday, Aug. 8, NAM total precipitation forecast through tomorrow evening:

While there are NO signs of anything developing in the tropics for days to come, I do believe that a tropical wave will throw moisture at the Texas coast Sunday as it approaches from the southern Gulf. That in and of itself would be welcome news considering how hot and dry the state has been for a while! But it will merely be another way for tropical moisture to cause mischief, this time, a good thing, rather than full-blown trouble, as would be the case if there really was a tropical storm or hurricane brewing in the Atlantic.

There isn't, nor will there be for days, and that's just fine by me. I have enough issues of my own to deal with!

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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.