It’s summer at its finest this week — days in the 80s, nights comfortably in the 50s, and the living is easy.
Any semblance of weather drama won’t arrive until midweek, and that will be in the form of scattered thundershowers, as the humidity builds and moisture in the atmosphere is released. Saturday through Tuesday will be perfect — virtually no chance of rain, dew points around 60 degrees, which is moderately humid, and few clouds.
Wednesday will be the warmest day of the week, with temperatures touching 90, but a prolonged heat wave that appeared possible a few days ago is less likely. Instead, the second half of the week could feature more clouds and the chance of storms, some perhaps on the heavy side. It doesn’t get more typical than that in the middle of July in New England.
Friday was interesting in that pockets of heavy showers popped up throughout the day, fueled by the high humidity and an approaching cold front that was expected to sweep through at night and bring the drier air with it.
There are virtually no storm systems across the entire continental United States, with the huge exception, of course, being the Gulf Coast. The worst of Tropical Storm Barry — which was still expected to reach hurricane strength by landfall early Saturday — may inundate Louisiana with close to 2 feet of rain, falling on ground already saturated.
Throughout Friday, forecasts became increasingly dire, especially for population centers like New Orleans and Baton Rouge. “This is happening … Your preparedness window is shrinking,” National Hurricane Center Director Ken Graham said. “It’s powerful. It’s strengthening. And water is going to be a big issue.”
Barry is slow moving and could linger over the same areas well into Sunday, the hurricane center said. It will likely be the biggest test for the rebuilt levees in New Orleans and along the low-lying area since Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Projected landfall as of late Friday was about 100 miles west of New Orleans, but its rain shield will affect a large swath of the state.
Long-range forecasts last winter predicted heavy rain this spring in areas along the Mississippi River, and that proved to be accurate. The river is running abnormally high because of the heavy rain, and earlier this week some areas in Louisiana got as much as 8 inches of rain, leaving the ground saturated.
After it slowly works its way through Louisiana, the storm system is expected to track northward into the Midwest, putting it somewhere in Missouri or Illinois by Wednesday. It doesn’t appear it will have a direct effect on weather in the Northeast, at least through the end of next week.