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Sunny and warm next few days. Thunderstorms return Thursday. Tropics waking up?

All is quiet across the Tennessee Valley on this Tuesday afternoon. Memorial Day (yesterday) often marks the unofficial summer, and meteorological/climatological summer begins tomorrow. And right on cue, temperatures certainly feel like it out there! We are in the upper 80s and lower 90s almost areawide as of just before 3:00 PM, and we have a few more hours of sunshine left to go for temperatures to still climb. No rain to speak of across our area today, only those puffy fair-weather cumulus clouds. That will be changing though as early as tomorrow...

Temperatures drop back into the mid to upper 70s after sunset with mostly clear skies, and then we drop toward the upper 60s by daybreak. Wednesday will be another mostly sunny to partly cloudy day with hot temperatures, much like today. However, with deeper moisture beginning to move back in, a few very isolated hit-and-miss thundershowers will be possible, mainly between about midday and mid-evening.

Rain and storm chances increase significantly as we head into Thursday and the cold front over the Plains moves toward the area. Showers and storms may start as early as the late morning but will be most likely from midday into the evening hours. The entire area is under a Level 1 of 5 risk of severe storms for the potential for a few storms to produce gusty straight-line winds. We often see that this time of year. We have several times over the last few weeks already. The overall risk of severe weather is low, and the risk of tornadoes is as close to zero as possible, but we may have a couple of severe thunderstorm warnings for storms containing gusty winds.

That cold front shifts southward bringing drier and slightly cooler air for Friday into Saturday. Highs drop out of the mid/upper 80s to the upper 70s to near 80 for Friday, but we are already rebounding back into at least the mid 80s by the weekend. Rain chances do shift southward for Friday and Saturday but start to creep in, in scattered fashion, from Sunday into next week.

Meanwhile, just in time for the official start of the Atlantic hurricane season that begins tomorrow, it looks like we may get the first tropical system of the season later this week. The remnants of Agatha from the Eastern Pacific may help instigate new low pressure development near the Yucatan over the next few days. That system will head northeastward toward the Florida Peninsula. The National Hurricane Center gives it a High Risk (70% chance) of developing into a tropical depression or stronger over the next five days. However, with shear so stronger over the Gulf of Mexico later this week, it may take a while to really organize, and some models don't solidify a closed surface low pressure until after it crosses Florida. Regardless of whether it develops into a classified system officially or not, it will be a lop-sided sheared system as we often see this early in the season, with the main concern being heavy rain over the Florida peninsula. This will stay south of our area and will have no impact on the Tennessee Valley, and the only impact it will have on the northern Gulf Coast is increased rip current risk this week.

If you are headed to the beach this week, aside from the increasing rip current risk with time, the weather looks mostly fine. There may be a few isolated showers and thunderstorms by Friday as our Thursday front gets closer to the coastal regions. However, most of the week looks mainly dry for the Alabama and Florida Panhandle coastline with highs each day in the mid to upper 80s. Water temperatures off Gulf Shores, AL are running in the upper 70s to near 80 degrees. Please use extra caution this week in light of the increasing rip current risk, and please heed all warning flags and directions from local officials.

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