September 19: Temporary taste of autumn

Weather

WEATHER

Temperatures started off in the 50s this morning — our coolest temperatures since mid-June, almost 100 days ago. We’re only going to warm up to the mid 70s this afternoon, about 5°-7° below average.

Low humidity, lots of sun with a few fair-weather clouds, and a nice northeasterly breeze…pretty much perfect!

Tonight will bring the coolest temperatures of this little taste of fall. We’ll drop to the upper 40s and low 50s by early Friday morning. We haven’t been below 50° in the Triangle since mid-May — we’ll get close, but I don’t think we’ll drop quite that far.

Light winds on Friday will turn to the southeast — combine that warmer wind direction with abundant sunshine, and we’ll warm up to the upper 70s and low 80s.

The warming trend will continue over the weekend, but the low humidity means that we’ll still start off each morning in the 50s. The first day of autumn will bring a return of summer-like conditions: highs in the upper 80s to around 90°, and just enough humidity to give us a very slight chance of a pop-up shower or storm.

TROPICAL UPDATE

We’re tracking three named storms in the Atlantic basin, none of which are forecast to impact our weather in central North Carolina.

Hurricane Humberto brought 100+mph wind gusts to Bermuda late yesterday, but that storm is now moving over the cooler waters of the North Atlantic. The early-morning update from the National Hurricane Center still showed it as a Category 3 storm with 125 mph sustained winds, but it will weaken rapidly over the next 24 hours.

Tropical Depression Imelda continues to bring heavy rain and flooding to southeast Texas, especially the Beaumont-Port Arthur area. My first TV job was at the ABC affiliate in Beaumont — that station had to evacuate this morning as flooding invaded the studio.

Imelda is essentially parked over southeast Texas, and will slowly drift northward over the next couple of days, bringing more flooding.

Tropical Storm Jerry is the only storm in the Atlantic that has even an outside chance of affecting our weather. It’s a strong tropical storm this morning, with 70 mph sustained winds.

The National Hurricane Center anticipates Jerry becoming a hurricane later today as it tracks to the west-northwest. The forecast path takes it just north of the Leeward Islands and Puerto Rico through the first half of the weekend.

After that, the NHC forecast shows Jerry turning north before it reaches the Bahamas — a path that will also keep it away from the U.S. coastline. By early next week, Bermuda will once again be tracking an approaching hurricane.

Most of the forecast model data agrees with the NHC forecast — in fact, it’s remarkable to see this level of consensus in a long-range tropical outlook.

That said, a few outlier members of the European model’s ensemble take Jerry on a more westerly track toward the Bahamas. That is NOT the most-likely scenario, but we’ll keep a close eye on the storm just in case!

A couple other areas of disturbed weather on either side of Jerry have low chances of intensifying over the next several days.

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