Weather For Weekend Activities: August 23 – 24, 2014


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The forecast for Saturday evening. The heat wave is confined to the southern plains, the Mississippi Valley, and the southeast. Forecast courtesy of NOAA

The forecast for Saturday evening. The heat wave is confined to the southern plains, the Mississippi Valley, and the southeast. Forecast courtesy of NOAA

Americans are looking forward to Labor Day and a three-day weekend next weekend. The American Automobile Association (AAA) estimates that more Americans will travel this Labor Day weekend than on any other since 2008.

So this weekend might be spent close to home, with local activities. In the central and southern plains, east to the Mississippi Valley and the southeast, it is the first real heat wave of the season, with temperatures well into the 90s.

The northern tier of states will still be cool. This pattern is a result of the jet stream moving north and weakening a little. Europe will be different.

After a long spell, going back to last winter, in which the jet stream has been unusually weak over Europe, things have changed. The jet stream has strengthened and moved south. As a result, the temperature gradient (change in temperature from north to south) is exaggerated. Here’s why:

As air warms, it expands. Above a warm pool, the pressure at a given altitude is higher than normal — because there is simply more air above. Conversely for cold air. So a strong jet stream, which is caused by a strong pressure gradient, implies a strong temperature gradient below.

Who’s Traveling?

Europe is in the midst of its summer travel season. Weekend revelers are advised to travel as far south as possible for the best , or at least the warmest, weather. Lisbon on the Atlantic, and Naples on the Mediterranean, might be preferable to northern Riviera sites.

And for a real taste of summer, head for the Greek Isles, where the water is in the 80s and the air temperature up to 90.

What To Do August 22-24

Decoded Science explores some noteworthy activities for participants and spectators. The following are just the tippety-top of a giant iceberg of festivities, and are to be used as suggestions as to what to look for in your neighborhood or where you’ll be going.

Major League Baseball Games Of The Week

As the Major League baseball season approaches its final month, many games take on added significance. Take somebody out to the ball game to root-root-root for the home team, or just sit back and watch on tv.

LA Angels @ Oakland A’s, Saturday, 6:05 p.m., Sunday 5:05 p.m.

The Angels and A’s are fighting for the American League West Division Championship in a fierce California rivalry. On Saturday, Jon Lester, a trading-deadline acquisition, will be pitching for Oakland. Lester, who recovered from testicular cancer, was a crowd favorite in Boston, and has pitched well since his trade from the hapless Red Sox to the contending A’s.

On Sunday, the teams send their winningest pitchers to the mound: Jared Weave for LA and Scott Kazmir for Oakland.

Weather: Central California receives little rain in the summer. This summer is not an exception, and with the cool ocean nearby, temperatures are moderate. In short, the evening will be perfect for baseball.

Food And Music Festivals

If you love to eat and listen to music — and who doesn’t? — this might be the weekend to find a local festival and just kick back. Decoded Science has uncovered a few in out-of-the-way places, but wherever you are, there’s probably some kind of festival going on.

Bean Blossom Blues Festival, Bean Blossom IN, through Saturday

There’s a great lineup of blues in this annual festival forty miles south of Indianapolis. Harmonica seminar, spoons workshop, and BBQ cookoff to boot.

Weather: The heat wave will get close enough to nudge the temperature to the 90 degree mark. A thunderstorm is possible.

Dragonfly Festival, Ashland, MA, Saturday, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Ashland is about 25 miles west of Boston. Basically a farmer’s market, this event features Indian music and plenty of food.

Weather: The northeast has not been affected by the heat wave in the center of the country. Temperatures in the 70s will feel more like fall than summer.

Fight Fire With Beer Festival, Denver, CO, Saturday, 2-6 p.m.

I guess there’s no better way. Well, maybe with water and fire retardants. And prevention might help. But, hey, I’m all for it if it helps fight fires. The governor of Colorado will be on hand to present the Governor’s Cup to the winning brewery.

Weather: This heat wave won’t reach westward to the Rockies. Temperatures in the 80s with a shower possible.

Decoded Science’s Big Apple Pick Of The Weekend

Hudson River Park’s Blues BBQ, Saturday, 2 p.m.

Blues and Qs on the Hudson; what a nice way to spend Saturday afternoon.

Weather: Coolish for mid-August with temperatures in the 70s. The heat wave to the south and west will never get here.

Greek Festivals

The farther south Europeans travel this weekend, the better the weather is likely to be. Decoded Science’s choice is Greece, Crete, and the Greek islands.But if you can’t make it to Greece, try one of these:

Taste of Greece Festival, Chicago, IL, Friday and Saturday

Almost as good as being there — emphasis on ‘Almost.’

Weather: The jet stream hasn’t completely given up on the States, and Chicago will still be under its influence, though less strongly than on previous weekends. Temperature near 80 with a chance of a shower.

2014 Greek Festival, Honolulu, HI, Saturday and Sunday

Maybe better than being there. It’s Hawaii, you know.

Weather: After the unusual interruption of fine weather by two tropical storms, Hawaii is back to normal — which is to say 89 and sunny every day.

Event For The Adventurous Longhair

WASO Beethoven Festival, Perth, Australia, Saturday

Wouldn’t classical music be much more fun Down Under? Just remember it’s winter there, so bring a jacket.

Weather: Normal high temperature is 65 and this weekend will be a little warmer than normal with no rain.

Decoded Science’s Exotic Participant Event Of The Week

Reykjavik Marathon, Reykjavik, Iceland, Saturday

You say the heat in St. Louis is getting to you? This is just the remedy. There’s also a half-marathon for those who, how shall we say, haven’t completely rounded into shape quite yet.

Weather: The average high temperature at this time of year is 55 degrees. Saturday will be right on the normal, with a lot of clouds. Perfect marathon weather.

Enjoy Summer, Winter’s Only A Few Months Away

Summer activities are in full swing and the weather is still mostly good for outdoor games and festivals. What’s going on in your neck-of-the-woods?

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