5/18 – The Chief’s “Lower Rain Chances” Thursday Afternoon Forecast

Despite the frontal passage overnight, temperatures will actually be slightly warmer today given the drier mid-levels holding down afternoon convective development. Rain chances will be lower with only isolated coverage of thunderstorm activity expected along coastal Mississippi sea-breeze. Thermal profiles will remain favorable for downbursts capable of gusty winds in excess of 30-40 mph, but warmer mid-level temperatures will reduce the potential for hail growth. Temperatures are expected to be in the upper 80s to near 90F across the area.

Saturday will likely be another warm day ahead of the next approaching disturbance descending out of the Great Lakes region. Temperatures will be more than sufficient for highs to reach the low 90s and with falling heights/surface pressures this will be enough for isolated afternoon thunderstorm activity to pop up especially along and north of I-10. The weak surface front associated with this trough will also provide a slightly cooler, drier low-level air mass by Sunday allowing temperatures to back down into the mid-80s, near average.

Afterwards, strong ridging coming out of the Pacific NW will stall and set up a high-latitude blocking pattern over the Great Lakes causing linger weakness over southeast CONUS to cutoff and deepen into early next week. Exact positioning and strength of this feature will have notable influences on the air mass being advected into the area. Temperatures should remain near average during this period, but could see a drier air mass introduced later in the week if we do see stronger north easterlies around the southern flank of the high pressure.

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