Weather For Weekend Activities, August 16-17


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The forecast for Saturday evening, courtesy of NOAA

The forecast for Saturday evening, courtesy of NOAA

It’s mid-August; summer activities abound. Go to the seashore, or find a local food or music festival. There are strenuous participatory sports, less difficult ones, and plenty to watch on television. Here are some suggestions.

Bummin’ On The Beach

Water temperatures are about to peak and air temperatures are at their yearly maximum (in the northern hemisphere). And better yet, high pressure covers both coasts of the US, so the weather will be settled and ocean waters will be calm.

Atlantic Coast:

The summer weather pattern over the eastern US is often controlled by a high pressure center offshore — the Bermuda High. Sometimes, as for example now, the Bermuda High extends westward to the mid-Atlantic coast. This brings fair weather to most of the eastern seaboard, with light southwest winds to the north and light southeast winds to the south.

Some afternoon thunderstorms are always possible during the summer, particularly along an old frontal system in North Carolina, but overall the weather along the entire Atlantic coast is as good as it gets.

The water temperatures generally peak at the end of August. South of Cape Cod the water is in the 70s, and south of Cape Hatteras in the 80s. North of Cape Cod, the water is in the 60s — on a good day — but the wind can have a substantial effect.  Where the wind blows onshore (from water to land), warm surface water can be pushed onto the beaches, especially in the afternoon. Conversely, offshore wind (from land to ocean) can bring up cold water from the depths.

Pacific Coast:

High pressure covers the western states, and swimming will be good except in the extreme northwest. Water temperatures are in the 70s along the southern California coast, but range downward to the 50s north of San Francisco. Though southern California received some rain a couple of weeks ago in connection with the southwest’s monsoon which drifted farther west than usual, fair weather is guaranteed this weekend.

Gulf Coast:

Winds will be light along the Gulf Coast under the influence of weak pressure gradients (change of pressure with distance). However, an old front is barely discernible along the northern Gulf coast, and some instability is possible; afternoon thunderstorms could pop up. The water is in the 80s.

Major League Baseball Matchup Of The Week

Seattle Mariners @ Detroit Tigers, Saturday, 7:08 p.m.

Former Cy Young Award winner Felix Hernandez is headed for a possible repeat with a 13-3 record and 1.95 earned run average. He is single-handedly keeping Seattle in the race for a wild card spot in the playoffs.

The Tigers have stumbled lately, and have relinquished first place in their division. They lead the Mariners by a game in the battle for the second wild-card position. Detroit sends its trading-deadline acquisition, David Price, to the mound. Price was considered a steal, but has yet to win for the Tigers.

Weather: A nice evening with the temperature in the 70s and just a slight chance of a shower.


Summer music and food festivals are still omnipresent. Look around in your neighborhood and you’re sure to find one. The following are a few that Decoded Science considers noteworthy:

Uforia Music Festival, Los Angeles, Saturday

A nine-hour festival of English and Latin music: 15 performers on two stages.

Weather: We can’t guarantee the music will live up to the name; but the weather will. It’s California after all.

Peach Music Festival, Scranton, PA, through Sunday

Sunday wraps up a four-day festival featuring the Allman Brothers and much more.

Weather: DE-lightful.

Great American Blues Festival, Panama City Beach FL, through Sunday

It’s the first annual, if that makes any sense, so there’s not much to go on. But just say blues and I’m interested.

Weather: Could be a shower, but it’s warm enough so no one will care.

San Francisco Street Food Festival, Saturday, 11-7

This will be the final year this festival is held on Folsom Street. Ninety vendors preparing food to order. What could be bad?

Weather: It’s almost always cool in San Francisco, and in the summer it almost never rains. Saturday should one of the never days for rain, but bring a jacket, as the wind will come off the 58 degree ocean.

Featured Event For Participants

Tough Mudder Tahoe, Truckee, CA, Saturday:

Here’s what the event organizers say: “Boasting some of the steepest, fiercest climbs and most rugged, rocky cross-country trails in America, Mother Nature and our course design team collaborate to tumultuously test your threshold for pain.”

So if you don’t care to enjoy a music or food festival, or a baseball game on tv, or a day at the beach, maybe you’d like this. Ten to twelve miles of rocks, mud, and obstacles. Mud type: sticky.

Weather: Probably nice, but if it rains the competitors probably won’t notice.

Less Strenuous Activity For Participants

Birding For Beginners: Fort Snelling State Park, St.Paul, MN, Saturday, 11-12:30

Bring lunch and a pair of binoculars. Fall migration is underway.

Weather: Minnesota barely had a summer this year and now the temperatures are on the decline. All eyes are on the developing El Nino which might produce a warm winter. Another winter like last year’s could bring a bigger southward migration of people than birds.

Just Do It

The weather is cooperating for all outdoor activities in much of the US. What’s going on where you are?

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