Unsettled through Wednesday
Water vapor view here shows out our outlook for the next couple of days. An upper level low is meandering to our west and drawing moisture from the southeast. An onshore flow keeps the coastal plain showery and drizzly for Tuesday. A frontal boundary approaching from the Great Lakes helps to push the upper level low to the northeast on Wednesday. As the upper low passes through, showers and thunderstorms are possible through Wednesday evening.
Once the upper low clears, less humid works in from northwest to southeast during the day on Thursday. The sky may appear a bit hazy due to smoke from the wildfires out west. Pending on cloud cover, the sunset Thursday night and sunrise Friday morning could be worth finding a perch to watch.
Storm Prediction Center outlook unchanged
Cloud cover continues to be the main question mark of which areas get storm potential and who does not. The threat is isolated for strong to severe storms to develop, with the best chance for areas away from the coastal plain. Any storms that break out present the the threat for heavy downpours, urban street flooding, ponding on roadways, frequent lightning and potential for damaging wind and hail.
Rule of thumb: If the sun comes out in your area, keep your eyes on the sky and ears open for storms to develop.
Weekend outlook 50/50
After dry days Thursday and Friday, low pressure enters the region Saturday. This appears to be a mainly a scattered shower event with a chance of an isolated thunderstorm along the coastal plain. High pressure takes over for Sunday, bringing with it a pleasant day with comfortable temperatures.
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Upper level low dictates pattern until Thursday
An upper level low and associated deep trough as settled in across the Midwest and won't move very far until Tuesday. It will remain rather sticky and unsettled over much of southern, eastern and western areas through Monday. Most areas will become unsettled Tuesday into Wednesday. Once the upper low exits the region Wednesday night, Thursday will be a mainly dry day. A surface low over Texas travels northeast late week, which will bring a chance for showers over western areas Friday, and then statewide Saturday. Sunday appears the better of the two weekend days as it appears for now.
Stray shower possible through Tuesday
For the rest of Monday into Tuesday, there is just a slight chance for a shower or a renegade thunderstorm mainly over southern, western and eastern zones. While the atmosphere will contain convective energy from the uptick of humidity, there is not much in the way of trigger to touch off storms. That said, don't be surprised if a storm develops, and be prepared just in case.
Wednesday brings the chance for severe weather
Wednesday will be a day to keep close watch on. It's rather rare that Storm Prediction Center puts the region in a Day 3 Outlook (time sensitive link) which tells me this could elevate or bust given the dynamics at play. There will be plenty of tropical moisture around, and as a result, convective energy to fuel storms will be an issue. With the upper level low moving northeast, there will certainly be a trigger in the atmosphere as long as the sun can get out. This is definitely a cloud cover dependent situation, and one to stay updated on.
Past and future rainfall amounts
Rain analysis of the past 30 days from National Weather Service estimates is encouraging for the drought concern. We've had more rain in western and southern areas since July 4th than what fell in April through June, which was much needed. It may have cramped on vacation and outdoor plans, but it has been good to bring some green to the lawns, add to groundwater sources, and get the rivers and streams flowing again.
The pattern continues to be a relatively moist one through the remainder of the week. This estimate of rainfall from the Weather Prediction Center hints at an inch on the way between now and Sunday morning for the region. Some areas may see more or less pending on how the shower activity sets up.
Temperature trend remains warm
A five day running average of temperatures indicates the region will run a bit above normal, thanks to the tropical air mass that will be with us over the course of the week. We'll get a break from the humidity Thursday and Friday, and then appears to increase briefly on Saturday, before settling back down on Sunday.
A special thank you to those who passed along condolences, prayers and well wishes to my family as we've dealt with our recent loss. It's been a tough stretch for us over the past couple of years, but your words, encouragement and patience have been a great blessing to me. We still have some family related issues going on, so I will update when I have time. Thanks again!
As always, stay in touch with the National Weather Service for the latest bulletins, advisories and up to date forecast information. Check in with the Gray office for western and southern areas, and the Caribou office for eastern and northern zones.
Always stay weather aware!
Some recent drought relief in areas
Most of the region has received some beneficial rainfall in the past week. DownEast and MidCoast areas, along with a few spotty areas over the interior are the only areas that haven't seen as much as the rest of the state. The weather pattern has shifted where the region can get rain, and that will continue for the next several days.
Rain chances increase into Thursday
Wednesday is on track to feature some scattered showers and perhaps some isolated thunderstorms for western and southern areas. The state can expect a general half-inch of rainfall, with amounts increasing pending on region and conditions. The foothills of western areas appear to be the potential jackpot area, where 1"+ or more can be expected. The western half of the state will have to watch for flash flood potential due to the volume of water in the atmosphere, along with the potential training of heavy rain and storms. Localized amounts of rainfall could be higher or lower pending on how this plays out, but I think a half-inch of rain statewide is a reasonable outcome, with areas in the 1-2" range.
Rain showers break out Wednesday afternoon
Western areas may see a brief shower or sprinkle Wednesday morning, but will become widely scattered to numerous as we head towards the evening. With much of the rainfall expected to come overnight into Thursday morning, this helps tone down the severe threat, outside of something embedded. As daylight increases, there will be plenty of fuel for thunderstorms to develop, even after the the the main rain line has departed. Storms that form will be dependent upon how much sun can get out.
Thursday afternoon will be one where keeping an eye on the sky would be a wise decision.
Humidity takes a break by Sunday, albeit a short one
This loop of precipitable water tells the tale of the pattern over the next week. As the frontal boundary that has stalled to our west slides back east, oppressive humidity returns Wednesday night into Thursday. It will take another frontal boundary that pushes through the region on Saturday before drier air takes over on Sunday. As next week unfolds, we'll repeat the pattern all over again.
Pattern is one to watch as we head into August
A few things come to mind as I look at a set up such as this. The positions of the two ridges and the trough keeps bouts of humidity and chances for rain in the forecast in the foreseeable future. This is also the perfect pattern for tropical storms to travel up the east coast, if they can get organized. There has not been a whole lot to talk about in the Atlantic since Chris passed by in early July. The main activity at this point is in the Pacific.
One of the factors that the Atlantic hurricane season has been so quiet is the amount of dust flowing westward from Africa. It's affected the entire alley way. Wind shear plays a role in this is as well. Disturbances coming off the shoreline of Africa are either being choked out by dust or torn apart by wind shear. We're still early in the season as far as the northeast is concerned, with peak still 7 weeks away. With the Bermuda high showing its presence, along with warm sea surface temperatures, the next few weeks will be something to stay updated on. We haven't had a significant tropical storm impact the region since Sandy in 2012. One could say "we're due". Time will tell if we get one, but the stage is set once the wind shear and dust settles.
For more information on what is going on in the tropics, check in with the National Hurricane Center.
As always, stay in touch with the National Weather Service in Gray for western and southern Maine or Caribou for eastern and northern areas for official forecasts, bulletins and advisories.
For more information from me, please follow the Pine Tree Weather Facebook page and on Twitter @WesternMEwx.
Always stay weather aware!
A showery day for much of the western half of the state
The first of several days of unsettled weather begins Saturday night and will carry into Sunday. With the approaching storm, humidity will also be on the increase. It appears to be a sticky week with more chances for showers and storms as the week unfolds.
Sunday won't be a total loss
High pressure from the east appears to push the storm westward toward the Great Lakes, which will keep most of the eastern half of the state relatively dry outside of a chance shower or pop up storm. Since the state will be on fringe of storm track, any sky clearance for sunshine brings the threat for thunderstorms to develop. While the severe threat is low, it cannot be ruled out. Frequent lightning, gusty winds, and downpours are all possible.
Models are also indicating some spin in the mid to low level of the atmosphere. Chances for tornado activity are very low, but are possible.
Humid air mass means strong to severe