Lehigh Valley

Sunny but seasonably cool temperatures through the weekend

Irma sets its eyes on Florida, Southeast U.S.

TODAY: Sunshine mixing with clouds; breezy at times and rather cool with an afternoon shower in spots. High: 71

TONIGHT: Partly cloudy and cool; a stray evening shower. Low: 48

TOMORROW: Sunshine mixing with clouds; a sprinkle possible across the Poconos. High: 71, Low: 49

We will get off to a seasonably cool start Friday. Skies were mostly clear for many overnight and with dry air in place, many locations fell well back into the 50s with a few 40s even being reported.

An upper-level trough continues to slowly rotate towards the region from the northwest. This trough will be in place through the first half of the weekend helping to keep our temperatures a little bit below normal for this time of the year.

High temperatures the next few days will likely be in the upper 60s to low 70s. The Delaware Valley and southern New Jersey will likely be the warmest spots perhaps topping out in the mid 70s. Overnight lows will be down into the 40s for many thanks to mostly clear skies at night, light winds, and dry air.

A large area of high pressure at the surface across the Great Lakes will slowly build towards the region as we progress through the weekend. We mentioned the upper-level trough possibly sparking some afternoon showers today and Saturday, but overall, this large high pressure system will dominate our weather through the beginning of next week and make for plenty of dry conditions with a fair amount of sunshine.

While we enjoy some nice weather this weekend, all eyes to our south will remain fixated on Hurricane Irma, which is passing across the Turks and Caicos Islands Friday morning and will be positioned between the Bahamas and Cuba later tonight. Irma reached Category 5 status on Tuesday, with winds of 185 mph at its peak, making it one of the strongest hurricanes ever recorded in the Atlantic Ocean.

The storm has since weakened a little, but it’s still a very powerful Category 4 hurricane, so that weakening really doesn’t make much difference in the effects along it’s path. While some fluctuations in intensity may continue, Irma is likely to remain a powerful and very dangerous major hurricane over the next several days.

Later in the day Saturday, Irma is forecast to make a northerly turn towards the Florida Keys, Miami and south Florida. The trend with the models continues to be for a direct hit in these particular locations. From there Irma is expect to ride north through the center of the Florida peninsula, weakening while it does.

It will still spread heavy amounts of rain and gusty winds into interior portions of the Southeast U.S. While there seems to be a little more confidence on the forecast track, folks the whole way up to Cape Hatteras need to continue to monitor Irma’s progress, review hurricane plans and be prepared to act if it becomes necessary.

Believe it or not we have two other hurricanes in the Atlantic Basin at this time. "Jose" is a major hurricane over the Central Atlantic, and "Katia" is expected to make landfall in Mexico later this weekend. This is the first time in nearly seven years that we've had three active hurricanes at the same time in the Atlantic Basin. Unfortunately for folks in the Leeward Islands, "Jose" looks to impact them after just dealing with "Irma"

While Irma will have no impact on our weather through at least Monday, some rain could eventually work its way north towards Pennsylvania and New Jersey by the middle of next week. The ultimate track that the remnants of Irma takes will have much to do with our rain chances and some uncertainty remains there.

So for now, we’ll have a chance of rain later Tuesday through at least early Thursday to cover the possibility.

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