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Don Paul: A temporary respite from the heat

After a sultry peak (humid, not far from 90 degrees) on Wednesday, some cooling will arrive for several days into early next week. Winds will turn and shift to coming in from the northeast by Thursday afternoon around the bottom of a Canadian high pressure ridge.

By Friday and Saturday, comfortable temperatures and humidity will bring the "ahh…" factor back for many who have had it with the persistent heat and humidity, and especially warm overnight low temperatures. The cool Canadian ridge will be dominant in the northeast and the Great Lakes. Not quite chilly, just comfortably cool.

Here are the projected high temps from National Weather Service headquarters for Saturday, courtesy of that flow from the northeast.

As of this writing, Tropical Storm Gordon is making its way toward the central Gulf coast, where it will either arrive as a strong tropical storm or a Category 1 hurricane. On this forecast track, one might not expect any possible impact down the road for WNY.

However, most models and ensemble members later recurve the remnants of what will then be downgraded Tropical Depression Gordon toward the Midwest and Great Lakes. Here is an interactive track forecast and cone of uncertainty from the National Hurricane Center.

By Sunday, especially late Sunday into Monday, the remnants of Gordon will draw closer to the Great Lakes and likely begin to deliver somewhat more widespread rainfall. Here is the depicted Sunday 7 a.m. surface map from the National Weather Service. And here is Monday at 7 a.m.

As for rainfall potential, another branch of NWS puts out some impressive totals, which could end up being somewhat overdone.

The totals are higher for the entire seven-day stretch, and we'll have to monitor this rainfall potential should it turn out toward the higher end.

Why am I using all these NWS graphics? Confession: I tend to agree with them, and that saves me a lot of graphical scrambling! It's when I don't agree which leads to lots more dreaded graphical work.

As for the Atlantic hurricane basin, you may have noticed it is springing to life. For much of the season so far, abnormally cool sea surface temperatures and Saharan dust have been acting in concert to suppress tropical cyclone development. Now, those cool temperatures are gone, and real warming has developed in the western Atlantic. The dust is greatly reduced. The quiet time is over.

Over the next few weeks, probably into at least early October, waves moving west from Africa will have a much better chance for deepening into tropical cyclones. That is not to say we have a handle on the potential for landfalling hurricanes. Many could still recurve to the north over the open Atlantic. But some could travel west, as Gordon has done into the Gulf, and some could travel west toward the Atlantic seaboard. There have been many years during which it has been quiet through most or all of August, followed by very active Septembers and Octobers.

As for our transition to cooler temperatures, it does not mark the beginning of a longer autumnal trend. It will last into early, maybe midweek next week. But most guidance favors a return to above-average temperatures for much of the second half of September in our part of the country. We start with the eight to 14-day temperature probabilities for above- and below-average temperatures from the Climate Prediction Center.

That doesn't mean we'll be flirting with 85 to 90 degrees every day, but it does mean there is high confidence goosebumps will be in short supply. An ensemble of multiple runs of the American GFS model shows warm ridging (just click on the arrow) over the region all the way out to Sept. 20.

The Canadian and European ensemble show much the same thing, so this a high-confidence extended-range temperature outlook.

Let's just say if you own a pool, it's not nearly time to shut down operations, folks … or to take that window AC united out and store it.

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