Heat heads for 100 by Saturday; "relief" next week
Grab your juleps. There are more showers and storms headed this way on Wednesday, and then we're going to be back on the griddle for Friday and Saturday, with more oppressive humidity, and high temperatures once again threatening the 100-degree mark.
Today promises to be the seventh day in a row with 90-plus temperatures at BWI-Marshall, the fourteenth 90-plus day in July, and the thirty-fourth 90-plus day so far this year. The average for an entire year is 29.4 days at 90 or higher.
Forecasters out at the National Weather Service office in Sterling, Va. are serving up another day of heat, humidity and storms today (Wednesday). There is lots of warm, wet air across the region, and a disturbance headed this way this afternoon with a weak cold front out of upstate New York. If it reaches us, it could touch off showers and thunderstorms, with a chance for some hail and damaging winds. The storm threat is put at 50 percent.
The tornado threat appears low this time, unlike Tuesday afternoon, when warnings were posted as a small but vigorous storm swept through Baltimore and the surrounding counties.
Skies will be clearer behind the front, but that once the front moves through tonight, high pressure will build into the region, strengthening a good old Bermuda High over the western Atlantic. And that, of course, brings us more sunshine, and more hot, humid conditions as winds sweep up from the southwest around the west side of the clockwise-circulating high.
Forecasters are predicting a high of 97 at BWI for Friday, with plenty of humidity. That will be followed by highs near 100 degrees on Saturday, again with high humidity. If so, it will shatter records for the date, which are rather low as July goes - just 97 at BWI. That mark was last reached in 1987 and tied for the lowest daily record high still standing for July.
A 100-degree reading or higher on Saturday would be the sixth triple-digit day so far this summer. That's only happened three times since record-keeping began here in 1871. There were six 100-degree days in 1900, and seven in 1930 and 1988. Stay tuned.
The only good news in the 7-day forecast is that we may actually be in line for some relief next week.
Forecasters say a stronger cold front should sweep through the region on Sunday, bringing more showers and thunderstorms. Behind the front there is noticeably cooler, drier air. That translates into forecast highs of 89 and 88 degrees, respectively, for Monday and Tuesday. That's not what any of us would describe as "cool." It's about normal for this time of year in Baltimore. But with lower humidity, and after what we've been through, it will feel like a gift.
(PHOTOS: Top: AP Photo, Terry Prather, Ledger Independent, Maysville, Ky. Monday/ Bottom: Thanks to Mark Nucker; a sunrise rainbow Wednesday, Greenbelt, Md.)