In the aftermath of Hurricane Sally, much cooler weather appears to be on tap for this weekend, with highs in the low 70s and lows in the low 50s. It’s going to be quite a change from the weather we experienced this past weekend, when temperatures were in the upper 80s on Saturday.
Sally will make landfall along the Gulf Coast early Tuesday, then gradually weaken to a tropical depression as she begins her tour of the Deep South, eventually exiting through the Carolinas later this week. At one point, it appeared that much of East Tennessee — including the northern Cumberland Plateau — would see several inches of rainfall from the cyclone’s remnants. Now it appears that most people north and west of the mountains won’t see any rain from the hurricane, as it tracks further south than initially anticipated.
The latest guidance from both the GFS and the Euro global weather models leave the northern plateau high and dry as the tropical depression passes well to the southeast on Thursday and Friday. Not that anyone is complaining about that; we’ve had quite a bit of rain lately and we’re not hurting in that department.
There will be rain chances Thursday afternoon, however, as a cold front approaches from the west. And that’s going to be what delivers us a shot of cooler air for the weekend. The National Weather Service is currently forecasting a 70% chance of rain showers on Thursday and a 60% chance Thursday night. But the latest model estimates are rather meager in terms of overall precipitation.
In fact, the next two weeks are suddenly looking quite dry. That’s not unexpected for this time of year; fall is our dry season, especially the last half of September and October. And it had been apparent for several days that we would dry out after the remnants of Hurricane Sally were out of the way. Now that it appears Sally will stay far enough south to not spread any appreciable rainfall this far north, the outlook is even drier.
In the aftermath of Friday’s cold front, beautiful weather looks to take shape for Saturday. In fact, we should get a jump-start on the taste of fall just in time for Friday night’s football homecomings at Oneida and Scott High. It’s going to feel like football weather, with highs maybe only getting into the upper 60s, and temps likely dropping into the upper 50s during the games. With a northwest breeze delivering lower humidity levels and cold air advection, it’s going to feel quite nice — jacket weather, even.
That theme will continue into Saturday, with highs struggling to get into the 70s. In fact, we could experience our first 40s of the season around sunrise Saturday morning. There are some models that drop us to just below 50 degrees once temps have bottomed out late Friday night. In fact, the National Weather Service is going a little aggressive with its forecast, and is predicting a low of 48 Friday night (after a high of 69 during the day on Friday).
Unfortunately, this taste of fall won’t last, as we’ll start a warming trend on Sunday. But it doesn’t look as though we’ll get as hot as we have been the last couple of weeks. We might get back to 80 degrees by the middle of next week, but it currently looks as if that’s about as warm as we’ll get for the next couple of weeks, as summer finally starts to break down.
We’ll see how all of that pans out. Mother nature has already fooled us once this fall. Remember when we were getting ready for colder-than-normal early September weather? That didn’t exactly pan out. And the tropics remain extremely active. There are five — yes, five — named storms in the Atlantic at this moment, and a couple of other areas of investigation that could become tropical cyclones. If those storms take the right path and are strong enough, they can really pump up atmospheric ridging over the Southeastern U.S., leading to warmer-than-usual weather for us. Hopefully that won’t happen.
For now, at least, it appears that high temperatures in the 70s and low temperatures in the 50s will be the general rule for the next couple of weeks. There’s a chance that we see a more significant cooldown in about 10 days (towards the end of next week). That’s a little far out to be speculating on right now, but summer is definitely transitioning to fall before our very eyes.