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A break in the weather

It looks this morning like the siege of hot and humid weather we've endured for much of the summer is beginning to break up. Forecasters at NWS/Sterling are calling for these mid-80s temperatures to persist for most of the 7-day forecast, with only a quick poke into the low 90s on Sunday.

But we're going to feel the difference. Eric the Red says the jet stream that had deserted us for more northern latitudes for much of the summer, is beginning to take a dive into the eastern third of the nation as the dome of high pressure and torrid temperatures shifts a bit west.

"This means cooler weather for us, and perhaps some much-needed rain for some folks. The change will start to take place over the weekend, and be in place by early to middle of next week. It will likely still be humid, but daytime highs will be markedly cooler," he said.

The long-term average high for this time of year (using the new 1981-2010 data) is 86 degrees.

The weather service says this morning's clouds and sprinkles - I think I drove through four separate showers on the way into work this morning - will begin to break up this afternoon as the low that brought the showers moves off the coast. 

Friday will find us in some increasingly warm and humid breezes from the south as a warm front pushes this way ahead of a cold front due on Sunday. That will evolve into widespread rain by Friday night and Saturday. With plenty of moisture in the atmosphere, some of us could see what forecasters are describing as "torrential" rains for Saturday, with a quarter- to a half-inch possible. (See rain forecast map for Saturday, above.)

They're less certain about what comes next. But they're predicting highs in the low 90s for Sunday with some additional showers possible. At some point - Sunday or Monday - the cold front will finally get through, and we'll see some cooler and drier weather for early next week. "It will almost feel comfortable, with highs in the 80s and lows in the 60s, and lower dew points," NWS forecasters said in this morning's forecast discussion.

Whatever rain we get is badly needed. The latest Drought Monitor maps, out this morning, show that 84 percent of the state is now in moderate to severe drought. That's a jump from 23 percent last week.

And it does not look like Tropical Storm Emily will get close enough to throw any showers our way. Eric the Red says the same droop in the jet stream that is changing our weather will likely turn Emily away from the mid-Atlantic and out to sea after it cruises north along the Southeast U.S. coast.

"It may still clip Florida, but no way this thing comes up the coast. So that is that," he said.

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