Friday forecast for Austin: Break out the shorts and sunscreen and cross your fingers for luck because we could see not only the fourth consecutive day of triple-digit temperatures but also the 13th day at or above 100 degrees this year.
According to the National Weather Service, the outlook for Friday calls for lots of sunshine and a high temperature near 101. Southeast winds of 5 to 10 mph that have been sending humid Gulf moisture our way could also send heat index values reaching as high as 105.
At night, the increased humidity is expected to lead to more cloudiness that should keep temperatures above 77.
Meanwhile, the rest of Texas is starting to dry out like a wet towel left out in the summer sun. U.S. Drought Monitor data indicates that the state’s ground moisture from heavy rains over the spring is beginning to recede. Texas is considered abnormally dry or in moderate drought in about 13 percent of the state — twice as much area as the week before — and mostly in the Rio Grande plains and in the northeast corner near Texarkana. The eastern edge of Williamson County is now considered abnormally dry, a condition marked by slow plant growth.
Such arid conditions have prompted the National Weather Service to be on alert for wildfires throughout South and Central Texas. Forecasters said fire weather conditions are expected along the Rio Grande plains and in the Edwards Plateau on Friday afternoon. Low relative humidity of 20 to 30 percent and brisk winds of 10 to 15 mph could increase the risk for brush and grass fires, the weather service said.
Forecasters also anticipate elevated heat index values of 105 to 107 degrees along and east of I-35 on Friday afternoon.
Looking ahead to the weekend and the new work week, the weather service outlook calls for:
- Saturday to be mostly sunny and hot, with a high near 100. Heat index values could reach as high as 104. Dry south-southwest winds of 5 to 10 mph could increase the risk for brush or grass fires.
- Sunday also to be mostly sunny and hot, with a high near 99.
- Monday to be mostly sunny and hot, with a high near 98 and temperatures start to stay below the 100-degree mark. South-southeast winds around 5 mph could make the nighttime partly cloudy, with a low around 77.
- A 20 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms after 8 a.m. on Tuesday. Otherwise, the day should be mostly sunny and hot, with a high near 98.