Sunday, July 02, 2006

Space Shuttle and Weather

NASA delayed the launch of Space Shuttle Discovery again today due to the weather. Scattered thunderstorms played havoc on the planned launch. As you may expect, NASA has strict guidelines concerning what kind of weather conditions under which a shuttle can launch. I searched around on NASA's website and found detailed guidelines from 1995. Here's the link --

Discovery's launch is now scheduled for Tuesday, July 4 at 2:38pm. Let's hope the weather cooperates. Wouldn't it be cool for the U.S. to launch back into space on Independence Day? As of Sunday evening, the National Weather Service forecast calls for 40% chance for thunderstorms for Tuesday. Let's keep our fingers crossed...

If you are interested in reading more about the shuttle launch, you may find these links interesting --

While astronauts will be keeping watch on the chance for afternoon storms in Florida, we could see a few pop-up storms here in central North Carolina the next several afternoons. There were a couple of these isolated storms over Hoke and Cumberland Counties this Sunday afternoon, while the rest of the News 14 Carolina viewing area stayed hot and dry. We will likely see a similar scenario Monday and Tuesday afternoons when any storms that develop will be isolated. Afternoon storms may be more numerous by Wednesday and Thursday.

As we get closer to the 4th of July, it certainly feels like summer. Temperatures topped out around 94 today in the Triangle today. Monday afternoon highs may be a couple of degrees warmer. It will feel warmer with the humidity. Heat index values will soar to near 100 during the hottest part of the afternoon.

In other weather news, the tropics are fairly quiet for this second day of July. However, we are watching a trough of low pressure over the Gulf of Mexico. Take a look at this satellite picture from Sunday evening --

Showers and storms have developed from that trough of low pressure over the Gulf off the Texas coast. Conditions are not favorable for tropical development tonight, but we'll have to keep a close eye on this area. Even if it does not become a tropical system, this disturbance will likely bring heavy rains to the Texas coast over the next couple of days.

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