Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Autumn-Like Cold Front to End Southern Scorcher by Weekend; Possible Tropical Trouble in the Gulf?

The weather heated up over the Southern Plains once again over Labor Day Weekend, a trend that will continue in the short term as you can see on the forecast temperature "departure from normal" maps below, valid 7pm CDT both today and Wednesday, respectively:

The orange and red shaded areas over Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico and adjacent areas show readings that are forecast to average 5 to 15 degrees above seasonal normals (scale at right in degrees F) again today and Wednesday.

Relief is on the way, in the form of the first autumn-like cold front of the season.  You can see the below normal readings showing up in force on the Wednesday image over Nebraska, the Dakotas and Iowa.  By Friday and through the weekend, the cool surge will continue Southward, as shown in the sequence below valid 7pm CDT Friday, Saturday and Sunday:

The blues (see scale at right of each image) denote temperatures of 2-8 degrees below normal, with the greens showing values of 10-15 degrees below normal.  The lighter purples over eastern Oklahoma and southeast Kansas on Saturday afternoon depict the computer model forecast values of 15-20 degrees below normal.

This will be a refreshing preview of what's to come this fall, particularly after several days of near record to record heat leading up to the frontal passage.

Well ahead of the front, some of the computer models try and develop a tropical disturbance in the northcentral Gulf of Mexico later this week.  Below are the European (which is the most aggressive) and U.S. GFS computer model forecasts valid at 7pm CDT/8pm EDT on Thursday evening:

While the models differ in the strength of the disturbance, they both forecast it to move East/Northeast into Florida over the weekend.  There are still many variables at play here, but we'll have to keep an eye on the northcentral and northeastern Gulf this week for sure.  My main concern at this point would be the potential for additional heavy rain and surf that would be generated by any such system, particularly so close on the heels of Isaac just last week.

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