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Weather update for the rest of the year

Now that we at the peak of hurricane season, I thought you might like a look at what we can expect for weather the next few weeks and on into the winter. We are currently under the influence of a strong high pressure area, which is bringing sunny skies and low humidity to the area. It even felt cool outside this morning when I got my newspaper! This will probably last for a few days, especially in northern Georgia on the cool side of a front which has been locking up the moisture to the south. By next Tuesday or Wednesday that front will start to drift north again and we will see a return to more humid conditions and a higher chance of rain, although no big weather systems are expected so showers will be hit or miss. The most likely areas to see rain will be in the northeast Georgia Mountains. The driest areas for the next two weeks will be in Virginia and the Carolinas, perhaps extending into east central Georgia. Temperatures for the next two weeks are expected to be above normal.

By weeks 3 and 4 in the first half of September, rainier conditions are expected to return to most of the region. With ample soil moisture in the area, it does not take much to pop up a local thundershower, and so most areas will see at least a sprinkle and some a downpour.  Temperatures may go down a bit with more cloud cover and humidity.

Note that the tropics are noticeably missing from this discussion. Even though we are approaching the peak hurricane season in the Atlantic Ocean, there is nothing out for the foreseeable future, although some of the long-range models are hinting at something developing in the eastern Atlantic Ocean in about ten days. That would give plenty of time to prepare since if a storm developed it would still have to cross the Atlantic. Since the Gulf of Mexico is warmer than usual, that is another place a storm could develop, and that is a lot closer so we will have less warning if something grows there. The total number of Atlantic tropical systems is expected to be less than usual due to colder than normal Atlantic Ocean temperatures in the main development zone, a lot of Saharan dust blowing off the desert, and the presence of a strong jet stream over the tropics which suppresses the growth of any baby storms that might appear. But keep in mind that it only takes one storm hitting your property to cause a lot of damage, so keep an eye on the weather forecasts and be prepared well ahead in case something does come your way. And we are still just halfway through the Atlantic tropical season so we are not out of the woods yet.

Longer term, the El Niño that was expected to develop in the Eastern Pacific Ocean is coming along nicely, and we are in a watch for a full-blown one to occur later this fall. Typically, in an El Niño, the subtropical jet stream parks over southern Georgia and Alabama and northern Florida, keeping skies cloudy, daytime temperatures cool, and bringing extra rain to the region. In northern Georgia and Alabama, the signal is much less strong, and sometimes the climate there can be very different than what is happening along the main storm track, so we will have to see what is happening to our north to figure out what might happen in the northern areas. Fortunately, in El Niño years we don’t have a lot of Arctic outbreaks, so frigid temperatures may not be a big issue this winter going into spring. The moisture from the winter rain also keeps the chance of a drought next year lower.

Here are a couple of web sites I use to look for upcoming weather: shows the weather forecast for up to two weeks. I use the GFS Global model and look at the weather patterns plus the accumulated precipitation. If the current model is not finished loading yet, you can pick an earlier version of the model using the date at top right. Keep in mind that the models don’t get everything right, especially more than 7 days out, so you will see some changes as you look from one day to the next. shows climate patterns for 6-10 days, 8-14 days, and 3-4 weeks. These predictions are based on the GFS and other computer models and give general guidance for what to expect climatologically over those time periods, but don’t provide actual weather information.

Hope that all your harvesting is going well and that you have a great season!

Rainfall probability for September 1-15, 2018 from the Climate Prediction Center.