FIRST ALERT FORECAST: Hot, humid days ahead; rain chances low

FIRST ALERT FORECAST: Wednesday, July 8 - 10 p.m.

BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Scattered showers with occasional rumbles of thunder dotted the WAFB region Wednesday, mainly north of the I-10/12 corridor. More importantly, Wednesday marks the end of a wet run of days with much drier weather in the forecast for Thursday, Friday, the weekend, and into next week too.

A high-pressure ridge that has been centered over the four corners area of the southwest U.S. will be strengthening and expanding eastward over the next several days. As many of you know, upper-level atmospheric ridging not only can inhibit significant rainfall, but also can result in a considerable warm-up. Both factors are expected across the WAFB area over the next seven days.

The Storm Team is calling for spotty showers, at best, for Thursday and Friday, with isolated showers over the weekend and into the first half of next week. Morning starts in the mid-70s on Thursday and Friday will climb into the upper 70s for many WAFB communities over the weekend and into next week. This will align with dew point temperatures in the mid-70s, making for very humid conditions. Daytime high temperatures will be in the low 90s Thursday, but are likely to be in the mid-90s by the weekend.

When we factor in elevated humidity, with runs of hours in the low to mid-90s, heat index readings can rise above 100° for prolonged stretches. Expect that to be the daily story through the weekend and into next week. Be careful in that kind of oppressive heat, keep tabs on the kids spending time in the sunshine, and don’t forget the heat is tough on the pets too. Whether it’s work or play, also remember midday and afternoon sunshine can add another 10° or more to the “feels like” temperature. A reading of 94° on the thermometer can produce the heat load effect of 110° to 120° under direct sunshine.

The extended outlook calls for the ridging pattern to weaken during the latter half of next week, opening the door for the return of scattered afternoon rains and a drop of a few degrees in those high afternoon temperatures.

The National Hurricane Center (NHC) continues to monitor Invest 98L, increasing development chances to 70% as of Wednesday morning. The NHC’s Tropical Weather Outlook issued at 1 p.m. Wednesday states “a tropical or subtropical cyclone is likely to form within the next day or so.” The latest model forecasts all move the system north-northeastward in the coming days, but the tracks range from keeping the system over land to moving it offshore and over the warm Atlantic coastal waters. It appears the NHC forecasters are presuming the disturbance will move slightly offshore, where it will have conditions conducive for development. Should this become Tropical Storm Fay, it would be the earliest occurrence of the sixth named storm for the Atlantic Basin. Franklin in 2005 currently holds that record, having formed July 21.

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