[This post is from 2009. I have a detailed post for 2010 here.]
This year he has predicted three spikes in the activity on the night of August 11-12: 11:30pm, 2:30am, and 3:00am (all CDT). The meteor stream is closer to the Earth this year than normal, and the rates are expected to hold near 200/hr. with the strongest surge occurring during the last spike at 3am. Typically, the Perseids only produce at most between 60 to 100 visible meteors per hour!
However, the last quarter moon being only 2 days away means it’ll rise around 10:40pm — just 1.5 hours after the sun sets. The Perseids are very bright and many leave gorgeous trails, but that bright moon means you won’t see but a fraction of them.
But some more good news: next year’s Perseid shower is also expected to have a strong showing with elevated rates around 120/hr. And best of all it’ll be just a couple of days after New Moon. I’ll make sure to give you a full update [and a reminder] of that event when the time comes.
For information on how to observe the Perseids and about meteor showers in general, I recommend checking out the American Meteor Society, the International Meteor Organization, or Gary Kronk’s website.