Tropical update: Hurricane Barbara, once a Category 4 storm with winds of 155 mph, is losing a bit of steam. It’s still powerful, with winds of 120 mph, but will likely become weaker this weekend as it moves into cooler waters. However, personnel at Hawaiian ports should keep track of Barbara as it gets close to Hilo on the big island early next week. Heavy rain and 40-mph wind gusts could cause some disruptions by then.
Stormy weather in the lower 48: Like yesterday, severe thunderstorms could pop up in spots from the Rockies to the East Coast. The areas most likely to get hit with large hail, damaging winds, torrential rainfall and/or isolated tornadoes are from Wyoming and northeastern Colorado into Nebraska and southern South Dakota. Drivers should expect delays on portions of I-25, I-80 and I-90 in Casper, Cheyenne, Scottsbluff, Rapid City, Valentine and places in between. A few severe storms could also develop along the I-95 corridor from Gainesville, Florida to Washington, D.C.
Sizzling southern heat: The heat wave continues across much of Florida this afternoon as highs reach the middle and upper 90s in the Tallahassee, Jacksonville and Tampa metro areas. Records won’t be smashed, but these temperatures are several degrees above normal for early July. Add the humidity and it will feel like 105° to 112°! Drivers: Pack plenty of extra ice and water in your coolers. Also, take your breaks in comfortable, air-conditioned spaces. The National Weather Service (NWS) has issued Heat Advisories for these areas.
Have a happy Independence Day, and please be careful out there!