Here we go again! Each year the Earth passes through the dust and debris left over from Comet Swift-Tuttle. The tiny pieces of debris enters our planet's atmosphere and burns up as it encounters friction. These bright streaks of light are beautiful and will get your attention with a few "ohhhhhs and ahhhhhhhs" coming from anyone who can catch a glimpse.
Whenever news goes around a meteor shower is coming, there's the perception you're going to step outside and see these meteors raining down like crazy as soon as you look up. It has been my experience that it never happens that way. Sorry to be Debby Downer. You always hear news reports that 60-70 or even 200 will be seen per hour, but it turns out to be just a few if you're lucky. While I don't pretend to be an astronomer, I believe you have to be in an area with absolutely perfect conditions. By that I mean: NO city lights, dry air for great visibility, no clouds, and perfect timing.
With all that said, it's worth going out to look and it can be a fun activity with your family. It's a nice science lesson as we get ready to send the kiddos back to school. I will caution you however, we will have to battle some cloud cover across the state. We'll keep you updated with the forecast.
THE VIDEO BELOW SHOWS YOU WHERE TO LOOK AND GIVES YOU AN IDEA OF VISIBILITY THIS WEEKEND OVER ARKANSAS.
Whether it's the "Little Rock Block", the "Fayetteville Fizzle", the "Stuttgart Split", or the "Benton Bubble" there's the perception many of us miss out on summertime rainfall. That's mostly due to the convective nature of rainfall this time of the year. It can rain hard at one place, but miss your neighbor down the road. This is very typical in the summertime.
Look at the departure from normal rainfall over the past 30 days. Definitely the haves and have nots. The green, blue, and purple areas represent amounts mostly 2-5'' ABOVE average. The yellow and orange represent areas mostly 1-4'' BELOW average. More widespread rainfall usually return later in the fall, winter, and spring. Summertime brings spotty and heavy rainfall unless a tropical system is providing the moisture.
We are in a moderate to severe drought across the state, but notice the monthly rainfall amounts have been increasing slightly each month since May. Keep in mind, these amounts are for Little Rock.
Will this trend continue into August? There is a decent chance.
We have a front coming into the state and it will bring showers and storms starting Tuesday, but the heaviest of the rainfall may not fall until Wednesday and Thursday. Once again, we can expect the haves and the have nots. I hope it's more widespread! While that's possible, I anticipate hearing people upset they didn't get enough rain and I anticipate hearing people asking for it to stop.
The Weather Prediction Center rainfall over the next few days shows the bulk of the rainfall will fall across western Arkansas. Will it extend further to the east? I think SOME of it will. As explained above, the convective nature to the rainfall will likely bring more to some and less to others.
This period of unsettled weather is not typical for August! As mentioned in a previous blog post, we are likely past the worst of the summer heat. While it will get hot again, triple digit heat is unlikely. If we get the rain some of the models are projecting this week, it is even more unlikely. By this time in the summer, the hot and dry weather typically feeds back on itself and we stay hot. If we put moisture in the ground, you can take the chance for hitting 100° down even further. BRING ON FALL!!!!!!
The heat won fair and square that day. Little Rock's all-time hottest temperature of 112° set in 1986 went down in flames that horrible August afternoon.
I logged into the National Weather Service chat room (Communication between media, emergency management, and the NWS) and watched Meteorologist John Robinson update the temperature at the Little Rock airport. Each line on the chat, my jaw dropped bit by bit. First we broke the 110° mark, then 111°, then 112°, then we reached the 114° record at 2:40 that afternoon and the humidity levels tanked. It was a classic lesson about the relationship between heat and humidity. When moisture is removed from the air and it dries out, the actual air temperature increases. When moisture is added to the air, it prevents the temperatures from sky rocketing. However, that moisture makes the "feels like" temperature outrageously high!
BELOW ARE TEMPERATURES AT LITTLE ROCK FOR AUGUST 2011. AFTER THE 8TH, THE HEAT BROKE.