Weather Blog: Memorial Day Weekend Outlook

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(WRDW/WAGT) -- Memorial Day weekend is a great time of year to get outside with the family and enjoy the start of summer. The late May weekend is now within range of understanding the expected temperature and precipitation outlook.

It looks hot, actually very hot, possibly record setting hot. The Climate Prediction Center has placed the CSRA under a 90% chance of seeing above average temperatures between May 24-27. Highs Friday through Monday during that stretch are expected to be between 95°-100°.

While hot weather in the South during May isn't breaking news, the expected temperatures could set some records. Here are our record highs between May 24-27:

May 24th: 98° 1878
May 25th: 99° 2000
May 26th: 100° 1926
May 27th: 99° 2000

Our last 100° day in Augusta was on July 29th, 2016, so if we do get to 100° Memorial Day weekend, then it would be the first time in nearly 3 years.

The good news about our expected pattern for Memorial Day weekend is that it looks dry. The Climate Prediction Center has placed the CSRA under a 50-60% chance of seeing below average precipitation. Rain chances are expected to be very low, but we know an isolated pop-up shower or storm is always possible here between May and August.

The reason for our forecast hot and dry stretch is an amplified jet stream pattern. A strong upper-level ridge is expected to develop over the eastern United States bringing above average temperatures from the Gulf of Mexico to the Great Lakes. A strong upper-level trough will be over the western United States bringing them below average temperatures from Arizona to Montana.

According to the National Weather Service, jet streams are relatively narrow bands of strong wind in the upper levels of the atmosphere. They form due to differences in air temperature and the rotation of the Earth. Wind inside jet streams flows from west to east, but the overall flow of jet streams shifts north and south. In the northern hemisphere we have the polar jet stream, which is usually located around latitude 50-60° N, and the subtropical jet stream usually located around 30° N.​

Even though the jet stream is around 6 miles above the surface, it influences our temperatures at the surface. An upper-level trough is a southern dip in our jet stream that brings cold surface temperatures. An upper-level ridge is a northern shift in our jet stream that brings warm surface temperatures.

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