Stout Ridge In Place
July 21, 2011 – There is a stout ridge in place across the Central US that is not expected to move much over the next several days. Intense heat has paralyzed much of the United States this month with temps well above the 90*F mark extending from Texas through Minnesota. It could very well be the hottest month on record for some areas, including the state of Oklahoma.
Let’s take a look at some statistics over the last 30 days. Dallas-Ft. Worth has seen temps nearly 3*C above-normal. This is absolutely astounding! So far in July 2011 (through the 20th), the average high temp for Dallas-Ft. Worth is 101.3*F. In contrast, the average high temp in July should be about 94*F. Other cities that have similar stats this month are Oklahoma City and Dodge City. Dodge City, Kansas has seen above-normal temps every day this month and is running nearly 3.4*C above-normal over the last 30 days. It looks like this hot weather will continue for these cities for at least another week or so.
Many of you are wondering when this heat will finally end. Unfortunately, no one really knows when this heat wave will end. Right now, there is a stubborn ridge that has dominated the Plains this entire month. This ridge continues to meander back and forth, shifting toward the east and then back toward the west, but remaining across the same region. Our best chance of seeing some rain and temporary relief from the heat would be in the form of a tropical system moving into Texas or Louisiana. This would bring a fetch of gulf moisture, increasing the rain chances and temporarily stopping the 100*F temperatures. Although it would seem that additional moisture would just make things worse, tropical air masses rarely exceed the century mark with temps mostly remaining in the upper-80*F’s to mid-90*F’s. Of course, once the cloud cover and rain clears out, things will worsen once again. As far as cold fronts go, the jet stream is well to the north, residing across Canada and the Northern Plains/Rockies. Most fronts this time of year rarely make it south of Oklahoma. The air behind the front is also not much cooler than the air ahead of it, just less humid. By the time we get into September, things will begin to change as the jet stream sinks farther south. Until cooler temps return, continue to drink lots of water and take frequent breaks when doing any outdoor activities. I’ll continue to keep you posted on any upcoming changes in the weather pattern. Right now, it appears that a minor pattern change may occur at the very end of this month or (more likely) early next month. The changes would be nothing too significant, but perhaps a better shot at some rain for portions of the Plains.
30-Day Temperature Departure – Dallas- Ft. Worth, TX
30-Day Temperature Departure – Dodge City, KS