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Hot, dry, and dusty weather in the forecast

Smoke from wildfires over the United States

Officials attribute hazy skies over Texas to smoke from wildfires in the Pacific Northwest moving across the United States. It should diminish by Friday, they said; however, a large Saharan dust cloud is expected to move into the state this weekend. NOAA/Colorado State University image

After a rather wet and cooler-than-normal start to summer, hot and dry weather is in the forecast for the Highland Lakes this weekend. 

According to the National Weather Service, Thursday’s forecast has a 20-30 percent chance of rain and thunderstorms, but things become drier and hotter starting Friday, July 23, when a high-pressure ridge settles over the central United States. Highs for Friday should be around 92 degrees, edging up to the mid- and upper 90s over the weekend and into next week.

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Climate Prediction Center, the Highland Lakes has a 33-40 percent probability of higher-than-normal temperatures through Aug. 4 coupled with lower-than-normal precipitation.

Lower Colorado River Authority meteorologist Bob Rose pointed out recent hazy skies in Central Texas are due to smoke from wildfires in the Pacific Northwest moving east across the country. 

According to NOAA, approximately 68 large fires are burning across 12 states and encompassing about 1 million acres. 

“The fires are injecting smoke 40,000 feet into the atmosphere and compromising air quality,” NOAA officials stated.

The smoke should clear out of Texas by Friday; however, Rose said, a large cloud of Saharan dust is moving across the Atlantic Ocean and into the Gulf of Mexico. It should reach Texas this weekend.