Weekend ahead hot, but air will be dry
Posted: Friday, May 25, 2012 8:00 pm
NASHVILLE (AP) — Some daily high temperature records could fall across Tennessee on this hot Memorial Day weekend.
National Weather Service meteorologists expect highs mostly in the mid-90s, around 10 degrees above normal readings for late May.
The same weather pattern holds from the Mississippi River to the mountains — hot, but with relatively dry air. NWS forecaster Ryan Husted in the Memphis weather office said it won’t seem as oppressive outside, with heat indexes just a degree or two above air temperatures.
“It’s going to be pretty warm, but dry,” said Brittney Whitehead at the NWS office in Nashville.
Existing record highs for Saturday were 94 degrees in Memphis, Chattanooga and Knoxville, 93 degrees in Nashville and 89 degrees in the Tri-Cities. Sunday records are similar, with Memphis’ 95 degrees going back just over a century to 1911.
A weak cool front will drop temperatures by a couple of degrees statewide on Memorial Day with a slight chance of showers.
Husted said dew points mostly in the low 60s will mean dry air and that means nature’s “air conditioner” will work well. The dry air will allow perspiration to evaporate and that cools the skin, reducing the heat stress on people.
While people may feel a shade better outdoors, heat is still heat on the thermometer. “We’ll get close to (records) if not exceed them for the weekend,” Whitehead said.
In Nashville, Kate Guillet at the NWS office will be watching for potentially new heat records over the weekend.
“Normal highs are in the mid-80s and the forecast is for highs in the mid-90s, about 10 degrees above normal for the date,” Guillet said.
All that heat could drive folks to the water.
Daniel Strobel at Nashville Shores hopes so. The water park on the shore of Percy Priest Lake began its regular season this morning.
“With the kids now out of school and possibly record temperatures, we expect some big crowds,” Strobel said.
The park has 12 water slides, a wave pool , a lazy river and a four-story water tree house and sprayground called Kowabunga Beach.
“This weekend is typically the kickoff for summer,” Strobel said.
“A lot of people will be looking for places to beat the heat and this is a perfect place to do it.”
That was echoed in Pigeon Forge by Pete Owen at Dollywood’s Splash Country.
“We’re expecting a strong weekend,” Owens said. “ Certainly high temperatures will drive folks to seek ways to cool off.”
Splash Country was open last weekend and about 25 percent more people showed up than the park expected.
Published in The Messenger 5.25.12