Now, looking forward to the July Fourth weekend weekend, the forecast looks like it’s going to be wet in the South yet again.
“Thankfully we have had somewhat of a break for the ground to dry out but we are reentering a wetter pattern,” said Brian Kyle, the lead forecaster at the National Weather Service (NWS) in Houston. “Deeper gulf moisture will be moving into the area, along with daytime heating will provide good chances of showers and storms each day.”
And that chance of rain will extend across the South and up the Eastern Seaboard this weekend. It will be a wet holiday weekend for millions.
As people head to the beaches for the long weekend, more showers and storms mean more risk.
“It’s a big time with the area beaches and rip currents are always a concern going into the holiday week,” Kyle said.
The isolated storms off the Gulf will bring periods of strong southerly winds which could create rip currents. They could also contain lightning and periods of very heavy rainfall.
“The biggest concern (in the Houston area) are the rainfall rates, more so than the amount,” Kyle said. “The metro areas with a lot of concrete can sometimes get rainfall rates of 3-inches plus an hour, and the ground just can’t absorb it that quickly. And that’s what typically causes the flash flooding in this part of the state.”
While the South contends with drenching rain, the West can’t seem to get more than a few drops. With 91% of the west in some level of drought, the conditions are dire.
“We talk to emergency managers and folks int he fire department and they say 4th of July is their busies time of year, because of the likelihood of getting a lot of calls,” said NWS Las Vegas Meteorologist Chelsea Peters.
Most of the local fireworks are contained within the city, and don’t seem to spark as many wildfires, Peters said.
However, “house fires and trees in the backyard catch on fire because it’s so dry, so if any embers fall, roofs and trees could ignite.”
Las Vegas is still waiting on monsoon season — an annual period of summer rainfall — to begin. Peters is optimistic about the monsoon, but the rain has been so sparse that it might not be enough to overcome the persistent drought.
“Over the past year we haven’t had a whole lot of weather, particularly heavy rainfall events,” Peters said. “Looking at the big picture, a half and inch here and there is not going to help the deficit that we have in the region.”
While places like Seattle will see temperatures come down a little, interior Washington and Oregon will continue to see temperatures in the triple digits. It won’t be quite as hot as this past weekend, but temperatures will run at least 20 degrees above normal in some locations.
This not only makes it dangerous and uncomfortable, it worsens the drought that is already at a critical level.
“We have already had a few rounds of excessive heat and summer has just begun, so that is continuing to dry out the little bit of moisture we have had,” Peters said.
Some jurisdictions are canceling fireworks because of the historic drought, to prevent wildfires. Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall told residents last week that fireworks just aren’t worth the risk this year.
CNN.com will have a full report later this week with everything you need to know before lighting fireworks this weekend.
Seen from space
Between June 2020 and June 2021, Angeles National Forest went from green and lush to brown and parched. Water in three reservoirs — San Gabriel, Morris and Cogswell — has declined significantly. All of the reservoirs are outlined in brown in the 2021 shot, denoting how much the water level has dropped.
The Bobcat Fire burned nearly 115,000 acres of the San Gabriel Mountains and some of the surrounding area between September and December. It was one of the largest fires in Los Angeles County history.
The Weekly Weather Number
115: The hottest temperature recorded in the Pacific Northwest over the weekend.
Pasco, Washington, reached a high of 115 degrees Fahrenheit on Sunday afternoon. Pasco’s normal high temperature is 87 degrees Fahrenheit.
The town, which sits on the Columbia River in Southern Washington, will see highs hit the century mark again today as the Pacific Northwest continues to deal with record-breaking heat. Pasco is expected to stay above 100 degrees Fahrenheit for a high temperature all the way through the 4th of July.
Tropical Storm Danny formed Monday off the Southeast Coast and as of Monday afternoon was just 35 miles south-southwest of Charleston, South Carolina, with winds up to 45 mph. It is moving west-northwest at 16 mph and will make landfall Monday evening.
It won’t have time to strengthen before making landfall, but it will bring some pretty heavy showers to coastal Georgia and South Carolina as it moves onshore.
“The low is encountering a hostile environment and won’t be a major player with significant damage,” said CNN Meteorologist Chad Myers.
Rainfall amounts of 2 to 3 inches are possible.
“Some coastal areas along the Southeast Coast are still dealing with the significant beach erosion from Hurricane Matthew (2016) all of these years later. Any storm surge or high waves can easily cause more erosion and flooding where the dunes are still missing,” Myers said.
“We already have areas in the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean that are 2 degrees above normal for this time of the year, so tropical systems starting earlier in the year should come as no surprise.”
There’s also an area to watch far out in the Atlantic, that won’t pose any risk to the US this week, or possibly ever.
Right now, it’s just a small area of showers and storms that is moving west, northwest at 20 mph. According to the National Hurricane Center, it could reach the Lesser Antilles late Wednesday.
This system only has a 40% chance of development during the next five days.
The drought in the West is expected to persist over the next three months, in an area that is already under extreme drought conditions.
More than 55% of the West is under “extreme” or “exceptional” drought, with drier-than-average conditions expected through the next three months.
“The hot and dry conditions only act to make above-normal temperatures more likely as dry surface conditions (extremely dry soils and below-normal or absent vegetation) is more efficient in heating the lower atmosphere air temperatures,” said Jon Gottschalck, a meteorologist at National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)’s Climate Prediction Center.
Temperatures have been quite extreme for this time of year, with temperatures in the West at times, running 30 degrees above normal.
“Even though it is late June, the temperatures are favored to be quite extreme and so negative health impacts (dehydration, heat stroke, poor air quality, etc.) are also a risk,” Gottschalck told CNN in an email.
“Given the current extremely wet surface conditions in many areas, there are concerns given the precipitation outlooks that already present flooding will continue and the flooding threat across the whole region will remain elevated,” Gottschalck said.
In order for these persistent weather patterns to change across the West and South, several things would need to take place.
“The Southwest U.S. monsoon needs to be robust this summer which will help improve extreme drought conditions in the Southwest and parts of the Rockies and Great Basin,” Gottschalck said. “In 2019 and 2020 the monsoon failed.”
Although there is some rain forecast for this region in the next several weeks, it’s too early to say if this will persist through the summer months.
“At the current time, however, available information does not favor this scenario,” Gottschalck said.
In the South, the upper-level trough that has aided in the persistent thunderstorms, needs to lift northward. This would favor or aid stronger sub-tropical ridging to extend eastward from the southwest Atlantic to the Southeast and Gulf coast region and so decrease the overall rainfall threat (less events with lower precipitation totals) for the region.
The outlooks, however, “do not point in this direction at the current time,” said Gottschalck.
Weather in focus
At least five people were killed and dozens injured after a tornado hit several villages in southeast Czech Republic, according to local police and emergency officials. This rare tornado touched down on Thursday night, wreaked havoc on seven villages and left roughly 30 thousand households without power.
Is a “red sky at night” really a “sailor’s delight?” It’s biblical!
A red sky at sunset can indeed mean fair weather. The sun sets in the west, which is the general direction from which storms will travel. If the sky is red at sunset, it means dry weather is approaching. The reddish hues are typically caused by the dust, aerosols, even smoke that accompanies dry air and takes on a more pinkish hue.
This proverb likely originated from the Bible (Matthew 16:2-3): Jesus said, “When it is evening, you say, ‘It will be fair weather, forthe sky is red.’ And in the morning. ‘There will be a storm today, for the sky is red and threatening.’ Do you know how to discern the appearance of the sky, but cannot discern the signs of the times?”
What about “red sky in morning, sailors take warning?” If rain is approaching, the sun would illuminate mid-level clouds to create a red sky in the morning. If those clouds develop further, they could grow into stormy weather — something sailors would be wise to avoid.