The Tennessee Valley saw its first air quality alert of the season on Monday, as rising temperatures and a lack of a breeze saw the National Weather Service issue the alert for less-than-ideal air conditions.
That is typically the surest sign that summer has arrived. Yesterday saw temps in the 80s across the region, and today could be warmer than yesterday.
But it isn't going to last.
A chance for rain arrives by late in the day on Thursday, as moisture increases across the region and an upper level shortwave system approaches from the west. Rain chances will continue into Friday and Saturday, which will result in somewhat cooler temperatures. And that will be followed by a cold front on Sunday that could produce some heavy rain, along with much cooler temps.
The latest run of the GFS forecast model suggests that temps will struggle to get out of the 60s on Monday, with the potential for lows in the 40s Monday night into Tuesday morning. And this setup will usher in a return to the progressive pattern we've seen for much of spring -- which will mean above-average rainfall and a general absence of really hot temperatures. There will be at least a couple more chances of rain between Monday and the end of the month, and the GFS model is currently showing nearly 3.5 inches of rain over the next 15 days. Low temps in the 40s could return around the start of Memorial Day weekend, and high temps for the rest of the month after this week should be generally in the 70s.
So if your idea of perfect weather this time of year is lots of sun, lots of humidity and temps in the 80s, you're out of luck . . . at least for now. And if this general pattern continues, we will see a summer with above-average rainfall and below-average temperatures. It's too soon to say that we're in for a repeat of Summer 2008, which really wasn't much of a summer at all, and the NWS is still forecasting a warmer-than-average summer. But I wouldn't take that long-range forecast to the bank just yet . . . it's subject to change, and if these early signs are any indication, it just might.
Eye to the Sky is a weather blog by Independent Herald editor Ben Garrett. Garrett is a weather enthusiast who has long blogged about interesting weather on his personal website. He is not a professional forecaster or a meteorologist and information on this blog should not be considered a substitute for forecasts, advisories or other products from the National Weather Service.