WARM MONTH: The month has been a warm one at the Birmingham Airport, with an average temperature of 81.2F, which is just one half degree above the average August average of 80.7F. The daytime highs have run 1.5 degrees above average, while the morning lows have actually been a little more than one half degree cooler than average. While daytime highs were hot during the month, Birmingham never reached 100F again this summer, topping out at 99F on August 7th. It has not been 100F at BHM since June 2012. The current streak is 790 days (since July 1, 2012), and with none foreseen in September, one could imagine the streak extending well into next summer and it will likely be in the top ten for sub 100F streaks. The current streak is already in 14th place.
JUST UNDER THE WIRE: At the Birmingham Airport, precipitation for the month totaled 4.27 inches. If we don’t get any more today, which looks likely, the month will finish .34 inches above the long term climate average of 3.93 inches. As is often the case in the summer, most of the rain fell on four days.
THE D WORD: Drought has reared its ugly head across parts of Central Alabama in recent weeks. Parts of Walker, Tuscaloosa, Fayette, Jefferson, Bibb and Shelby Counties as well as parts of East Central Alabama around Clay and Randolph Counties.
BACK TO THE FUTURE: On the weather maps this afternoon, we find a bubble of upper level high pressure off the coast of Georgia and the Carolinas. The rest of the U.S. features a very broad upper trough centered over the Plains. Over the next 48 hours, an elongated ridge of upper level high pressure will develop across the southern tier of states from coast to coast. A warm, moist airmass will remain in place under this ridge, giving the opportunity for daily doses of scattered showers and storms as temperatures warm into the lower 90s each day.
FOCUSING ON THE HOLIDAY: Today, a disturbance is passing by to our north. It is triggering isolated showers and storms along and west of I-59, and additional showers and storms will be possible this afternoon. Any that do form could be strong with a potential for strong wind gusts. Highs this afternoon should be near 90F. Labor Day looks perfect with highs in the lower 90s. There will be a slight chance of a shower or storm, but you can expect a goof supply of sunshine as well.
FAST FORWARD TO ANOTHER WEEKEND: By Saturday, the ridge will consolidate its power back to the west of Alabama and a trough will develop over the Great Lakes. This will permit a front to come down into the South bringing showers and storms with it. So rain chances will increase for next weekend. Highs will fall back into the 80s. Lows will be in the lower 70s on Saturday, trending back toward the 60s as we exit the weekend.
TROPICS: Tracking two areas of concern in the Atlantic on this last day of August. Of the most concern is a tropical wave that is crossing the Yucatan after moving inland over Belize last night. It will emerge over the Bay of Campeche tomorrow and high a pretty good shot at becoming a tropical depression and tropical storm on Labor Day. It will stay well to the south of the beautiful beaches of Alabama and Northwest Florida. The second is a tropical wave that is a little more than 1,200 miles east of the islands this morning. It has not been in a very favorable environment for intensification, but that will be changing in the next 24-48 hours. By midweek, keep an eye on the potential for the possibility of a tropical depression near the Lesser Antilles. The upper air pattern by then should be one that would favor a westward motion across the Caribbean with a northward turn by the Gulf of Mexico.
BEACHCAST: Speaking of the beautiful beaches of Alabama and Northwest Florida, pretty nice conditions are in store for the week ahead. Typical summertime fair is in store, with hot and humid conditions and scattered showers and thunderstorms. Highs will be in the upper 80s to near 90F. Lows will be in the upper 70s. Water temperatures are in the middle 80s.
DANCING WITH THE STATS: 78F yesterday in Monroe LA was the coolest high measured there ever on any August 30th. The 2.41 inches of rain they measured helped keep temperature cool and was also a record for the date There have been a slew of those cool maximum high temperature records this year in the I-20 corridor through that area. It was 97F at Tampa on Saturday, which broke the record for August 30th.
RECORD RAINFALL: 7.87 inches of rain at Lake Charles LA yesterday is a new record for the date. It was also the 8th wettest date ever there. The 4.55 inches at Paducah KY was their 14th wettest day in history and a record for August 30th. Seemingly insignificant in comparison, the 0.26 inches that fell at Seattle was also a record for the date.
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ON THIS DATE IN 1886: It was a hot, sultry and still evening in Charleston, South Carolina. So still that it evoked comments from people returning from worship. The first rumblings occurred at about 9:50 p.m. The Great Charleston Earthquake is the most damaging earthquake ever in the southeastern United States and one of the largest earthquakes ever to occur in eastern North America, measuring 7.5 on the Richter Scale. Nearly every structure in the city was damaged with 90 percent of the brick structures in the city destroyed. The tremor was felt as far away as Central Alabama, Central Ohio and West Virginia. Sixty people died in the quake. 14,000 chimneys were felled by the quake. Follow my weather history tweets on Twitter. I am @wxhistorian at Twitter.com.