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Draconid meteor shower peaks tonight, storms tomorrow

While the focus usually remains set on the “bigger” meteor showers of the year (see: Perseids), the Draconid meteor shower is drawing some additional attention this season, mostly due to the anticipated favorable weather conditions. The annual meteor shower produces, on average, between 10 and 20 meteors per hour during its peak intensity. The peak of the shower occurs from tonight, October 8th, through Friday morning, October 9th.

Weather conditions are expected to be favorable for viewing — at least for the first several hours. While a frontal system will be approaching late, the peak of the meteor shower actually occurs during nightfall and the early evening hours. This is somewhat atypical, as most meteor showers feature pre-dawn peaks, making viewing less ideal for those who can’t set the alarms for 3:00am. Tonight, the timing and weather conditions look good, so we suggest heading outside and away from the city lights if you have some time.

The aforementioned frontal system will make its approach tonight into Friday morning. By the AM commute, clouds will be on the increase and the chances for showers will be as well. The rain won’t be steady — but humidity will be increasing as a southwesterly flow accelerates. Temperatures during the afternoon, when a break in the shower activity is expected, could reach into the upper 70’s in many locations.

NAM model forecasting thunderstorms in the area on Friday afternoon.

A cold frontal boundary approaches during the afternoon hours, and interacts with a slightly unstable environment. A few heavier showers and thunderstorms will be possible during the mid afternoon hours. While no organized severe weather is anticipated, the juxtaposition of instability and favorable atmospheric shear parameters suggests the potential for a few gusty wind reports.

The cold front is expected to clear the area by Saturday morning, and usher in much cooler air. This will set the table for a true fall weekend, with highs in the 60’s and low humidity. Fall foliage will continue increasing in coverage as well, making this weekend a real winner for those who want to get outside for some fall activities.