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    A Volatile Week Ahead

    7/20/2012, 6:54:14 AM

    Friday, 11:30 a.m.

    We've come to the end of another workweek. Well, almost the end. I'll be in tomorrow and will try to elaborate on some of the thoughts put forth today. It has been a crazy week, and no doubt the tragic news out of Colorado early today is gripping the minds of many at this hour. It has been a week of personal loss, as an acquaintance known to me through passed away on Wednesday after a bout with esophageal cancer. 'Raleighdon,' as he was known to us, was an amiable sort, one who loved family, cycling and pies. A great combination, in my humble opinion. While I never had the honor of meeting him in person, I felt like I knew him to some degree, particularly through our shared love of cycling. He was one of those quiet inspirations that motivated me to do more than I thought possible, and to do it with a smile on my face. Rest in peace, Don. You will be missed!

    The weather has been no less active, with the core of the heat remaining intact over the nation's midsection. And it's no shock as to why:

    Look at what that did for high temperatures on Thursday:

    That's a massive area experiencing 100-degree heat, and with that upper-level ridge unlikely to move much through the weekend, it will stay that hot, or nearly that hot, in many, many areas. As we go forward in time, the upper-level ridge will flatten, and it may slide a bit farther west later next week into next weekend. As that happens, though, a series of upper-level disturbances will round the top of the mean ridge and head downstream toward the Great Lakes and Northeast. Just like we saw a couple of days ago, that's going to cause trouble.

    Just look at what the latest NAM 850mb forecast for Monday afternoon is implying:

    There is a ribbon of intense heat coming out of the Plains and through the Midwest into the Great Lakes and Ohio Valley Monday. I wouldn't bet against it right now, especially given how the heat has been pulled eastward on several occasions in the last month. Look at the current dew point temperatures:

    Basically every place south of the Mason-Dixon Line is experiencing a dew point of 70 or greater, and that is a tropical air mass that won't budge much this weekend. In time, it will be ready to come back to the north again, and with that ribbon of heat, it's going to get steamy in a hurry again over the Ohio Valley and Great Lakes Sunday and Monday and in the East Monday into Tuesday ahead of the next cold front.

    Therein lies the rub. Another cold front. As stated above, there will be a few of these over the next 10 days. With the mean upper-level ridge over the western Plains and arguably backing to the west, the upper-level flow will have a northwest tilt to it from the northern Plains and Upper Midwest to the mid-Atlantic coast. That is a set up for multiple opportunities for thunderstorms. The concern is there for a couple of severe weather outbreaks, something I'll try to detail a little more tomorrow.

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


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