Pat Shingleton: "Summertime and the Ring of Fire..."
Springtime has been with us for 93 days and even though today is a season-shift, we’ve been experiencing summer for possibly a month or more! Today is the longest day of the year, marking the official start of the summer solstice. The sun is positioned at its furthest northern point; directly overhead at noon. Elsewhere, the warmest part of the day is after noon when the sun is highest in the sky. The heat kicks-in due to the lag-time required for the ground and water to heat-up. North of the Arctic Circle there’s continuous sunshine for 24 hours. Sunset in Barrow, Alaska won't occur until August 2. Along the U.S.-Canadian border the sun appears for 16.25 hours and 13.75 hours in Baton Rouge. Yesterday a Heat Advisory was posted and probably will be re-issued today. The high pressure ridge, parked over the Gulf of Mexico, has controlled our weather for a month. The effects of this high extend from Texas to Georgia and north to Nebraska. With the circulation pattern representing a clock-wise movement, this high “caps” off the atmosphere and has kept us in the 90s. At the edges of the high-pressure-cap, afternoon convective showers erupt with the influence of daytime heat. Typically the thunderstorms rotate around the high setting-up thunderstorms along the Gulf Coast and an arc of storms from the Plains to the Great Lakes. This is referred to as a Ring of Fire.