A beautiful blue sky overhead on this Thursday afternoon isn't giving much to complain about.
So far, this dry stretch hasn't put any sort of dent in drought conditions, but we'll keep an eye on that as rain is still not in the extended forecast. Expect nothing but calm weather conditions for the rest of today. Temperatures tonight will dip down into the lower 60s and patchy fog will develop in some spots.
Temperatures will gradually warm over the next several days, thanks to an upper level ridge. That ridge is also keeping us dry for the next several days. We've already gone four consecutive days without rain this week. Humidity will creep up some, but it's not going to feel terribly muggy outside. However, it will feel terribly hot outside by next week. We're looking at a stretch of days of highs in the 90s. No relief is coming in the rain department from day to day. But I will say, this hot stretch does look short-lived and temperatures look to cool back down by next weekend.
The 7 day forecast just sums together everything I've discussed thus far. We will keep you updated next Thursday on the updated drought monitor as we potentially go 11 days without rain here in the Tennessee Valley.
Let's turn the attention now to the tropics. Tropical Storm Fiona is moving west at about 14 mph at this time. Fiona is not expected to strengthen into a hurricane. I will get into the details as to why in just a moment. Fiona is forecast to hit the northern Lesser Antilles by Friday evening, and approach Puerto Rico by Sunday morning.
Fiona will interact with land and pockets of wind shear, which is why it is not expected to strengthen all too much over the next few days. In this map graphic, blue colors indicate areas of higher wind shear. Wind shear is important to hurricanes because the more vertically stacked a storm can be, the stronger the storm. Wind shear is a measure of the change in direction and speed of winds as you increase altitude over a given area. Thus, strong wind shear means a disorganized tropical system and little to no wind shear allows for the system to organize itself, in turn making it stronger.
Right now, sea surface temperatures are warm, which would add fuel to a tropical system. Wind shear and land interaction however will really inhibit any chance for significant strengthening. The friction between the storm system and mountainous land basically causes the storm to lose its organization. That doesn't mean it can't re-organize, but chances become less likely.
We will keep an eye on Tropical Storm Fiona as it interacts with land for the first time in the coming days. We will keep you updated on the track and intensity of Fiona, and if there are any changes to the forecast.