Oftentimes in the summer months, the “Ring of Fire” weather pattern makes an appearance a few times. This particular pattern resembles a near-stationary, strong dome of high pressure over one part of the country, making for warm and mainly dry weather in the center, with storms traveling around it.

Under this large heat dome, temperatures will be above average, especially across the interior Northwest and much of the Central US. It’s these areas that will experience the warmest of temperatures, as that’s the location of the center of high pressure aloft.

It’s not the most classic “Ring of Fire” pattern this week, but it will still be close. This Monday, a few showers and thunderstorms will hit parts of the interior Northwest and Northern Plains in the afternoon and evening, moving from west to east along the edge of the heat dome. A few of these storms may even be severe, possibly dropping a tornado or two.

A few storms will also be possible, mainly Monday afternoon and evening across the Southern Tier, spanning from the Gulf Coast through the desert Southwest. Unlike in the Northern Tier, these storms will be traveling east to west due to their location on the southern extent of the ridge. As a reminder, high pressure spins clockwise opposed to low pressure which rotates counter-clockwise.

On Tuesday, an upper-level trough and a cold front at the surface will allow for the dome of high pressure to break down across the East Coast, allowing for a line of showers and thunderstorms to travel across the Ohio River Valley, northern Mid-Atlantic, and parts of New England during the latter half of the day. A few of these storms may also turn strong to severe, with damaging winds being the primary threat.

On the western extent of the ridge, numerous showers and thunderstorms will erupt in the afternoon Tuesday across the intermountain West and into North Dakota overnight as moisture streams in from the Pacific Ocean. Severe storms will be a concern once again across the Northwest as a potent upper-level low nears the US-Canadian border. These monsoonal clouds and showers across the Southwest will put a lid on temperatures, keeping highs down in the 80s. Unfortunately, dry lightning will also be a concern, so additional wildfires may be sparked.

The heat dome will become centered over the Plains by Wednesday, keeping much of this region dry while storms rotate around it. While temperatures in the 90s will be felt across most of the Central US, scattered showers and thunderstorms will keep temperatures slightly cooler as they travel up the ridge across the intermountain West and eastward in the Dakotas and extreme-Upper Midwest.

A trough of low pressure that remaining over the Northeast will spark additional isolated or scattered showers across southern sections of the Mid-Atlantic and New England. Not only will this trough usher in a brief round of rain, but it will also keep temperatures very seasonable for this time of the year, maxing out into the 80s. Humidity will also be nice and low, making for a drastic change compared to last week.

High pressure will begin to expand once again in the upper levels of the atmosphere from the West Coast through the Central US. This will allow for dry conditions across much of the nation Thursday. The only areas at risk for a few showers and storms will be parts of the Gulf Coast states and into the Southeast due to the weakness in the ridge. Under the ridge, the moisture flow will be strong enough to encourage the growth of afternoon storms in the Southwest. After all, it is monsoon season. Lastly, parts of the Northern Plains and Upper Midwest will experience a weakening line of showers and thunderstorms, mainly in the morning thanks to that low pressure passing through southern Canada.

From the Central Plains through the Midwest and into the Northeast, however, it will be dry and not terribly humid. Sunshine and high temperatures into the 80s and 90s will be commonplace for most.

By Friday, the trough of low pressure will begin to lift out of the Northeast, allowing for the heat dome to really dominate. This will allow for mainly sunny, dry, and warm conditions across a large section of the country. The only risk for rain and storms will be across the Southern Tier thanks to the proximity of moisture from the oceans and weakness in the ridge. A few showers will also be possible in the Great Lakes region.

This “Ring of Fire” weather pattern will likely persist into the weekend before it breaks down early-next week, increasing the chances for rain in the nation’s midsection.


Jackson is Head of Content at WeatherOptics and produces several forecasts and manages all social media platforms. Previously, Jackson forecasted local weather for southwestern Connecticut, founding his website, Jackson's Weather, in the March of 2015. He is currently studying Meteorology and Broadcast Journalism at the University of Miami.

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