Break From the Heat...Tropics Getting Active


This summer can be summed up as certainly one of the hottest in the past 20 years or so, while at the same time lacking in widespread severe storms, not only locally, but throughout Wisconsin. There have been various instances of wind damage and large hail reports since we got the storm season going back in March, but all in all, to still only have 1 confirmed sighting of a tornado is very rare for this point in the year.  I should mention that although we are just about past the prime months for when the most tornadoes occur, it doesn't mean that there still will not be the risk for twisters. That possibility continues more or less until the chill of winter settles in.

Speaking of cooling down, a cold front whisked it's way by the Badger State on August 16th, pushing in a cooler air mass from Canada that shifted daytime highs into the 60s and 70s for the remainder of the week and the upcoming weekend. This means the A/C gets a reprieve for a couple of days, while at the same time the mornings will start out on the cool side in the 40s and 50s.  The only thing missing from this equation is additional shots at showers or storms.  Odds favor mainly dry weather until the middle of the new week.

Shifting the focus down to the tropics, the tropical storm & hurricane season did get off to a quick start in the Gulf & Atlantic with the first four named storms in the books before we even made it through the month of June.  Since then, there has been a relatively quiet period thanks to some unfavorable weather patterns for storm development, including the entraining of dry air and some desert sand from Africa.  However with the calendar turning toward the end of August and into September, this is the prime time for tropical storms and hurricanes to get their act together.  As of this blog post, there was Tropical Storm Gordon out in the middle of the Atlantic, taking a course to the east and thus not having any direct effects on the U.S.  No less, the zone for storms to develop extends from the west African coast all the way out through the Caribbean, western Atlantic and of course Gulf of Mexico.  Will we see any major hurricanes take aim on land in the weeks ahead? Time will tell, and we'll be keeping tabs on where/when the tropics really start to flare up.

In space news, it has been another great achievement with the Curiosity rover touching down on Mars.  Not only did those NASA engineers do a fine job in building this wondering robotic picture taker and surface sampler, but to have it make a nearly perfect landing is probably the most impressive. I'm looking forward to seeing all of the great scenic views of the red planet and learning what else Curiosity discovers in the months and hopefully years ahead.

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