A Very Nice Independence Weekend; Eyes Focusing on Hurricane Elsa

Saturday’s highs.

The Central Alabama Weekend
I couldn’t ask for better weather for the start to the Independence Day weekend and for my oldest daughter’s birthday. We’ll have a ton of sunshine with below average temperatures on your Saturday. Humidity levels will be lower as well, so the day will be very comfortable across the area. There is a very small chance of a stray shower over the extreme southeastern parts of the area during the afternoon, but the rest of Central Alabama will remain dry. Highs will range from the lower 80s in the northwest to the upper 80s in the southeast.

Sunday’s highs.

The Fourth of July will be warmer, but humidity values will remain lower than usual across the area, so the afternoon highs in the mid-80s to the lower 90s will actually be more bearable. Skies will be mainly sunny throughout the day.

Eyes on Hurricane Elsa
Late on Friday night, Hurricane Elsa was continuing on a west-northwestward trek across the eastern Caribbean Sea, with sustained winds maxing out at 85 mph with a forward speed at 30 mph. This general motion is expected to continue through Saturday. A decrease in forward speed is expected Saturday night and Sunday, followed by a turn toward the northwest Sunday night or Monday. On the forecast track, Elsa will move across the eastern Caribbean Sea tonight across the central Caribbean Sea on Saturday, and move near the southern coast of Hispaniola late Saturday or Saturday night. By Sunday, Elsa is forecast to move near Jamaica and portions of eastern Cuba, and move near portions of central and western Cuba Sunday night and Monday.

There is an increasing risk of storm surge, wind, and rainfall impacts beginning Monday in the Florida Keys and spreading northward along the Florida Peninsula through Tuesday. However, the forecast uncertainty remains larger than usual due to Elsa’s potential interaction with the islands of Hispaniola and Cuba this weekend.

The forecast track from the NHC has Elsa crossing Cuba while weakening back to a strong tropical storm on Monday and emerging into the eastern Gulf of Mexico. By Tuesday night, landfall is forecast to occur along the western Florida Peninsula Gulf Coast near or just north of Tampa as a tropical storm, then moving north-northeastward into southeastern Georgia by Wednesday afternoon.

We may get a little breeze from the extreme western edge of Elsa as she moves through eastern Georgia and eventually moves back out over the Atlantic Ocean late in the week. Any shower activity that we’ll see will be from moisture pulled up from the south on the west side of a high that will be stationed over the south just to the west of where Elsa moves through.

Next Week
A high will build over the southeast for the workweek ahead and will begin to pull moisture back up into Central Alabama as we’ll be on the western side. Afternoon shower and thunderstorm chances will be very small on Monday, increasing to around 50/50 on Tuesday and Wednesday, and will be likely at times on Thursday and Friday. Highs will be in the upper 80s to the lower 90s on Monday through Wednesday, then dropping slightly into the mid to upper 80s on Thursday and Friday.

This forecast is according to how Elsa is expected to move through the extreme eastern parts of the southeast throughout the week. If the forecast track shifts farther to the west, some drastic changes may have to be made with increase of cloudiness and rain chances. We’ll keep our eye on her.

Tropical Update
Other than Hurricane Elsa, the remainder of the North Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean Sea, and the Gulf of Mexico remain quiet at this time. No new tropical cyclones are expected to form within the next five days.

On This Day in Weather History
1863… The Battle of Gettysburg, a great 3-day encounter, reached its climax with Pickett’s Charge at about 2:00 pm local time. The weather at 2:00 pm was reported to be partly cloudy and 87 degrees, with the wind from the SSW at force 1. A deluge of rain on the 4th and 5th hindered the Yankee’s pursuit, and the Confederates escaped.

1987… Lightning struck and killed three men playing golf on a course near Kingsport, TN. The three men had sought shelter from the rain under a tall tree on a small hill. Showers and thunderstorms produced heavy rain in New Jersey, with 5.2 inches reported at Trenton State College.

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