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With greater coverage of showers and thunderstorms returning to the forecast, heat will once again be held to normal levels.

THE FORECAST:

Today and Tonight: Showers and thunderstorms will begin to ramp up again today. However, different from earlier this week, gusty winds will be possible in addition to downpours. At this point, it looks as though the bulk of the action will remain north of I-10. For instance, there is a much better chance of an afternoon shower in Southwest Mississippi than along the Louisiana coast. Temperatures will still make it into the lower 90s, with feels like readings over 100 degrees for a few hours—especially where rain does not fall. Tonight, low temperatures will settle in the mid 70s under partly cloudy skies.

Up Next: The upcoming weekend looks a bit more unsettled with scattered showers and thunderstorms during the afternoons. Therefore, high temperatures will return to 1-3 degrees below average. Into next week, the pattern should become a bit more typical with highs in the low 90s, lows in the mid 70s and isolated afternoon showers and thunderstorms. As for the solar eclipse, clouds will be bubbling up by early afternoon and these could lead to a partially obstructed view. Some locations may even have no visibility thanks to those stray showers. For much more on the eclipse, CLICK HERE.  

The Tropics: Tropical Storm Harvey has developed in the Atlantic Basin. As of 4am, the storm was positioned east of the Windward Islands moving east at 15-20mph. Maximum winds are at 40mph and some strengthening is expected as the storm emerges in the Caribbean Sea this weekend. The forecast track takes Harvey toward Central America or the Yucatan Peninsula. We will continue to monitor trends to see what happens if this system can make it to the Southern Gulf of Mexico. However, that remains more than a week out in time and beyond the scope of this forecast. There are two other waves are being monitored in the eastern Atlantic. Just northeast of the Leeward Islands, Invest 92L has a 70 percent chance of further development over the next 5 days, before the system encounters unfavorable conditions north of Puerto Rico. A weaker wave near the Cabo Verde Islands has a low, 30 percent chance of further development.

THE EXPLANATION:

The weak ridge that centered over the central Gulf Coast on Thursday has dipped south. An upper level trough will be moving from the Great Plains to the Northeast through Saturday. As the trough nudges the ridge south, convective development will start to increase again on Friday and especially Saturday. The highest coverage of showers and thunderstorms should remain north of I-10 on Friday as the ridge maintains some influence for southern areas. Forecast models continue to show dry air at 850mb and 700mb and this dry air may cause a few thunderstorm downdrafts to create a few 40mph+ wind gusts.  Over the weekend, a trough axis north and a westerly wave in the mid levels over the Gulf of Mexico will combine to bring scattered to widespread showers and thunderstorms, especially during the afternoon hours. Models depict an inverted trough and general weakness between two ridges to position over the forecast area through the middle of next week, which should lead to at least isolated, if not scattered, daily convection. Of course, the days that feature fewer showers and thunderstorms will have potential to reach the mid 90s while more active days will lead to highs near 90.

 --Josh

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