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After the much angst of the hot stretch across the Ohio Valley for the last half of July, a forecast that I was a couple degrees too cool on, is starting to take shape. A theory I have expressed with some of my colleagues is that when the tropics begin to stir and become active, the heat should begin to dwindle. Other camps have expressed that same general feeling so having consensus has me believing that the track to a return to cooler and wetter times for August is on the field.
The direct cause of the heat over the last few weeks is the severe to extreme drought across virtually the entire state of Texas. With a ridge parked over the Mississippi Valley, heat just keeps building heat over the area and then directing it north and northeastward into the Ohio Valley. In the summer time the chance of any type of storm system or cold front to really hit the southern Plains with beneficial rain is slim to none and when a drought is in place, slim left town months ago. One factor that can change all of this is the tropics and signs are coming together that might be able to put a significant dent in the epic Texas drought but also completely flip the pattern across much of the eastern United States.
This will change over the next week to ten days but the significant factor is the tropical activity will likely wipe out the big heat dome and we get back to a northwest flow for the region and the increased threat of thunderstorms. Weather is like a building block. Each block has to come together one step at a time and the tropics is the first step of that building block, so the weather should become more active over the next week or two and bring some fun back to the Ohio Valley.