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COMMENTARY

Boys of Summer: Bills 'n Bengals

Don Paul

As I’d forecast here a week ago, this weekend will be summerlike in Western New York with well above average temperatures. Saturday will actually feel warmer than Sunday in the absence of much of a breeze. This Sunday’s game will be played with the same touch of summer heat, even a little warmer than the first two games in the New Jersey Meadowlands. In one sense, a saving grace not present in those games will be a stiffening breeze by afternoon. Both days will bring high temps in the low 80s, and a few locations on the Niagara Frontier inland from Lake Erie may reach the mid 80s on Sunday. Humidity won’t be high, but it will edge up to moderate levels for both days. The gametime breeze will be SW at 15-25, with some stronger gusts. Yes, that will have some effect on the passing and kicking game, but it should keep fans and players well ventilated, and a little less toasty.

The isobars (thin, black lines) are closer together, which depicts a somewhat gusty afternoon. The showers shown to the northwest of our region shouldn’t reach Western New York until mid or late evening. A cold front will usher in a cooler—but not cold—Pacific air mass early next week. The average high for early next week is 69, so you can’t call temperatures like these Great Lakes readings anything but ordinary:

As next week goes along, high temperatures return to the low 70s after Tuesday and hold in that comfortable range through the remainder of the week. Even by week’s end, we are still comfortably mild for late September, with the cooler air confined to the north central and northwest lower 48 states:

Incidentally, the pollen count for ragweed-sensitive allergy sufferers will be higher on Sunday due to the stiff breeze stirring things up. The Sunday night showers should cleanse some of the pollen out of the air and bring the count down considerably for Monday. In the longer term, there is no cold air mass in sight in the next couple of weeks sufficient to produce any widespread killing frost to rout the ragweed.

The biggest change since my forecast article a week ago is the signs of a possibly lasting cooler pattern in the Great Lakes have largely vanished in extended range guidance over the last few days. It appears a warmer ridge of high pressure in the East will be rebuilding, and sending temps more above average as we move toward the end of the month. The ridge is evident in the red area over our part of the country, in this tweet from Dr. Judah Cohen, long range specialist.

This American GFS ensemble mean was showing a cool trough in the Great Lakes for the same time period a week ago. The European ensemble is even stronger on this trend at the end of the month.

The Canadian ensemble is similarly gung-ho, so this end of the month warmth has to be considered high confidence at this stage. Summer closes shop on the calendar, but not in our region in the atmosphere.

Currently, even through the first week of October (when these ensembles have more uncertainty, going out so far in time), signs still point to relatively warm ridging in the east.

Rainfall in the next 7 days brings unimpressive totals in Western New York in this National Weather Service headquarters forecast so, again, no muddy yards in sight. That’s always good news for dog owners like me:

As many of you are aware, another tropical cyclone, formerly called Imelda, moved into southeast Texas close to Houston, where devastating Harvey struck two years ago. Once again, a near stall occurred for this system, now finally drifting north, with weak upper level winds, producing new devastating floods. These stalling occurrences continue to be more common, tied to ongoing arctic warming, where temperatures are rising at twice the rate of the rest of the globe.

As I wrote here on Sept. 4, “In particular, the predicted and verified greater warming in the arctic is now known to have frequently weakening upper air winds, including tropical steering currents by lessening the thermal contrast between the polar region and mid and lower latitudes. This lessened contrast slows those winds, and models are picking up on this new climatology. The virtual stalling of Dorian near the Bahamas was well predicted by global models days in advance of its occurrence. Similar model forecasts were made with the second costliest hurricane to hit the U.S. of all time, Harvey, in 2017 and Florence in the Carolinas last year. There is already confirmed evidence these stallings are occurring with greater frequency as warming has accelerated. As reiterated by Jennifer Francis, formerly with Rutgers and now with the Woods Hole Research Institute, who told the New York Times: “This is yet another example of the kind of slow-moving tropical systems that we expect to see more often as a response to climate change. Upper-level steering winds are slowing over the continents during summer, so stalling weather systems are more likely.”

Over a smaller region than that covered by Harvey, devastating flooding has again occurred. This is why the idea “100 year floods” in the face of a warming climate doesn’t seem to work anymore. Here are the rainfall totals in southeast Texas, with more than 40 inches in some places.

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