Highs today reached 78-85 with heat indices peaking at 79-90.
Wildfire smoke was the thickest yet for Summer 2021 for our area.
Thick layer of smoke at several thousand feet up blotted out the sun. This smoke is from fires in the NW & W U.S. to Canada.
Meanwhile, smoke from the N. Minnesota & Ontario & Manitoba fires arrived at lower levels & mixed down to the surface, dropping visibility.
Also, the smoke, especially thick smoke aloft, helped (with surface high & expanding upper ridging) to create strong cap to trap pollutants over the area. Lack of air movement with the high also helped to drop air quality.
The cap also trapped moisture to allow for stratus clouds underneath that cap this afternoon-evening.
Most of Indiana is under an Air Quality Alert to Friday.
Multiple air sensors state-wide showed Orange Level air quality today. Some places just outside of our viewing area were in the lower range of orange & nearing Red. No doubt, there were pockets in the Red Level. The air monitoring site near Munger Park was Orange Level much of the afternoon. These IDEM air monitoring sensors are always placed away from high-traffic areas, so be aware of worse air quality in high traffic & highly industrialized areas.
Smoke from fires will be an issue, whether mixing near the surface or thousands of feet up, through August & into September.
Air quality (with varying levels of discomfort & unhealthiness) will be an issue for the next 10 days.
Thursday will be very smoky with highs 81-89 with heat indices 84-94 & a southwest wind at 3-6 mph after patchy fog & smoky conditions in the morning.
On the periphery of the expanding upper ridge, a little "Ridge Rider" cluster should ride from Wisconsin to Michigan & part of our area by Friday morning.
Then, later in the afternoon-evening a couple more storms are possible on the outflow boundary of these storms in the morning.
The wildcard is capping & smoke. If capping is too strong or there is just too much smoke, storm coverage will be diminished even more.
There is the risk of an isolated severe storm or two given the boiling CAPE Friday PM, but also CAPE advecting in here Friday AM.
Friday winds will run southwest at 5-9 mph.
A complex of severe storms will race through northern Michigan to Ontario in the "Ring of Fire" Saturday & then hit New England Saturday night. Parameters are such there that a Progressive Derecho could resulted. Shear & instability show ENHANCED to MODERATE RISK set up.
On its tail end we may get a few storms, but capping & thick smoke are wildcards. We will monitor. There will be boiling heat & unstable airmass with temperatures near 91 & dew points reaching 76-81.
So, any storm(s) that pop could go severe.
Lake breeze front & storm complex's outflow boundary & potential gravity wave may help a storm to overcome the capping & smokiness.
Winds will be southwest at 10-15 mph.
The humidity will surge significantly Sunday-next Saturday with dew points reaching as high as 81. That, combined with temperatures in the 90s will result in dangerous heat indices reaching +110.
I am going with highs 93-98, but if we didn't have the thick smoke, I would go higher for the actual air temperature. The smoke will be much thinner in the Plains. So, it will be much, much hotter there.
It appears that a surge to 80 dew points may occur by Sunday-Tuesday, then dew points drop a hair, then they peak at 81 Thursday-Saturday of next week.
Combination of the extreme upper ridge expanding (with actual air temperatures to +110 in parts of the Plains) & low-level moisture from saturated soils in the South will lead to this set up.
Some storms (with severe weather risk) may clip the area early next week, then a round of storms may impact the area next Saturday evening.
After intense heat & humidity, boiling unstable airmass & strong surface cold front & upper trough may bring wave of storms with severe weather risk.
Hopefully, these storms & the front comes through Friday evening, not Saturday evening & we get the front through to bring heat relief for the weekend. That is possible if the front & upper trough speed up!
Sunday will turn gradually less humid with north winds 15-25 mph & highs 77-84, followed by thinning smoke & 75-80 that next Monday (August 2).
A couple nights 50-55 are possible with heat returning by August 6-7 with a wave of storms possible.
Dew points may pool to 75-80 with severe weather risk around that August 6-7 period.