Once again, it appears we'll spend the weekend with one eye on football and the other on the tropics.
It wasn't supposed to be this way. The Cape Fear region was supposed to stew with late-summer heat into the weekend, watch the Fayetteville Woodpeckers win the Carolina League title over Wilmington, then head into the last full week of summer with temperatures a bit closer to normal.
We can still watch the Woodpeckers, and next week will almost certainly be cooler. But in the middle there appears to be an increasing chance folks in the region may be watching Humberto as well.
Who? Read on.
Here's the setup: A persistent ridge of high pressure has been stewing the Sandhills all week and today will be the hottest. Fayetteville should reach the mid-90s, with a heat index cracking triple digits. Scattered showers may help a few folks, but there's nothing organized in the works today.
The ridge was supposed to linger into the weekend before giving way to an approaching cold front. That front seems to have more energy than expected and should begin pushing into central NC tomorrow morning. Clouds and increasing showers will result, though I'd say 88 to 90 still looks like a good bet for a high in Fayetteville.
Folks going to the Wake Forest-UNC game in Winston-Salem will likely stay dry, with a kickoff temp of about 80. For fans of prep football, especially south of Fayetteville, it's going to be muggy with a good shot at showers.
Saturday should see lingering light rain and drizzle, with highs in the mid-80s. The front will be well to our south, but watch for showers slipping through the region on and off.
That front, by the way will play a major factor in where, or if, we have to worry about a budding tropical system currently in the southern Bahamas. It's not much to look at this morning, but indications are it will become Tropical Storm Humberto this weekend. Right now, the National Hurricane Center gives it a 70 percent chance of developing.
Expectations were for Humberto-wannabe to lurch along beneath the ridge that was controlling our weather for a few days, gliding into the Gulf of Mexico and generally leaving the Carolinas alone.
After Dorian (which did help ease drought conditions considerably along the coast) that was good news. Besides, with this week being the 30th anniversary of Hurricane Hugo being named, folks in the Carolinas are a bit leery of "H" storms.
However, the stronger cold front is expected to crack that ridge, giving the system an escape route. Since tropical systems naturally want to travel north, it's likely this one will try. The NHC has adjusted the development area for Humberto-wannabe further north and east, into an area last visited by ... Dorian.
So, what will happen? If the ridge cracks, and if Humberto develops in this new NHC area, odds of an Southeast coast hurricane jump. If not, or if the ridge can rebuild in time, the odds drop.
Watch the front that passing through here tomorrow. It it stalls just to our south, as some models anticipate, the Cape Fear region should avoid tropical entanglement. If it keeps pushing, deep into South Carolina, the storm will be more likely to sense a weakness in the ridge and move north.
That's why halftime and hurricanes will be on the watch list this weekend. Stay tuned!
Got a weather question? Chick Jacobs can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or NCWeatherhound on Twitter.