Monday, January 26, 2015

Another Beauty on Tuesday!

By Jay Grymes & Steve Caparotta

WAFB First Alert Quickcast:

- stays dry through Friday
- a couple of ‘dry’ fronts pass by over the next few days

If you haven’t heard about it, we’ve got an out-of-this-world visitor making a fly-by today and tomorrow.  Labeled ‘2004 BL86,’ this is an asteroid about one-third of a mile across - - pretty big by Earth standards for close fly-bys.  So just how close?  Oh, about 745,000 miles out -- about three times farther away than the Moon!  So it offers no threat whatsoever, but what makes it interesting is that it is the closest (significant) space visitor in decades and will be the closest until 2027.

So can you see it?  Well, maybe.  Certainly not with the naked eye and probably not with a standard pair of binoculars.  But if you have a decent telescope, look in the sky tonight around 10pm just a little to the right of the bright object, the planet Jupiter.  For those that know their constellations, ‘BL86’ will be tracking through the heart of Cancer between roughly 6pm tonight and 6am tomorrow.

As for the rest of us … here’s the forecast: Tuesday’s sunrise will be a little cooler than earlier today.  Look for a morning start in the low 40°s for metro Baton Rouge under clear skies, with upper 30°s closer to the LA/MS state line.  Sunshine rules through the day on Tuesday, and that should help propel highs into the upper 60°s. 

A ‘backdoor’ cold front -- a dry front approaching from the northeast -- pushes through the Lower Mississippi Valley Tuesday evening into Wednesday morning.  It doesn’t deliver a true winter chill, but it will knock temperatures back a couple of degrees for Wednesday, even with mainly-sunny skies.

By Thursday afternoon, many WAFB communities will rebound into the 70°s, with fair to partly-cloudy for the day.  At the same time, here comes another ‘dry’ front - - this time along a more ‘traditional’ NW-to-SE trajectory.  That front gets through our viewing area late Thursday into early Friday and cools us off again, with highs on Friday struggling to reach 60° for some of our neighborhoods.

A broad mid/upper-level disturbance from the west begins to approach the area as we head into the weekend.  Saturday starts off dry and remains dry for most: set afternoon and evening rain chances at about 20% for the WAFB area.  But by Sunday, we’ve got “rain likely” posted, at least for now.  Admittedly, there is still some uncertainty about just how wet it gets on Sunday, and our current estimate is ranging a little on the high side of some of the long-range guidance.  But we’ll be able to tweak that as the week progresses.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Big Improvements for the Weekend!

By Jay Grymes & Steve Caparotta

WAFB First Alert Quickcast:

- another wave of mainly-light showers arrives this evening
- becoming sunny on Saturday, mostly sunny for Sunday
- dry for all of next week

Our run of rains last night and this morning delivered widespread rains of 1.5” to 3.5” for the WAFB area: not enough to be a real concern for our local rivers and bayous but enough to generate standing water in the usual places and make for a not-so-happy morning commute.

While the rains came to an end for most of us by or even before the early afternoon, the dense overcast deck, the northwesterly winds, and the lingering dampness through the day maintained a real winter ‘feel’ to the air. For most of us, it was not what the doctor ordered.

What’s more: we’re not quite done with the umbrellas just yet.

Another wave of mainly-light showers to our west is headed our way. We think that most of it -- possibly all of it -- remains west of metro BR through the evening commute but it does get in here later in the evening. The good news is that it shouldn’t generate much in the way of rain totals and doesn’t last long either. We think that most or all of it will have moved east of the area by midnight or so.

The clouds will begin thinning after midnight, with some clouds likely still lingering around sunrise. We’re calling for Saturday sunrise temperatures in the mid 30°s with skies continuing to clear. Look for a Saturday afternoon high in the upper 50°s for the Red Stick: quite an improvement over the past couple of days.

Sunday is a winner too: we’ll start off with sunrise temps in the mid to upper 30°s for most of us with mostly sunny skies and afternoon highs in the low 60°s.

For next week, we keep things dry right through the work week, with mainly sunny skies for most days. Temperatures throughout the week will be running near-normal to slightly above-normal -- lows in the upper 30°s to low 40°s for most days with highs each day in the 60°s.

So enjoy the sunny, warmer weekend!

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Rains Diminish, Staying Gloomy on Friday

By Jay Grymes & Steve Caparotta

WAFB First Alert Quickcast:

- rains continue into the night
- rains ending on Friday, stays cloudy & cool
- sunshine returns for the weekend

The first of today’s rains arrived a little later in the day than we expected, but they still got here in plenty of time to add to the mess of this evening’s commute home.  Thankfully there haven’t been any extra-heavy downpours as yet and very few rumbles of thunder.  However, as the afternoon and evening progress, be ready for occasions where the rains do fall a bit heavier.

There is no severe weather threat ... and no concern for significant flooding, although we’ll likely see standing water in the usual spots later this evening and tonight.

Everyone gets rain tonight, with the heaviest rains exiting the area well before sun-up on Friday; in fact, for many of you, the most significant rains will have passed to the east not long after midnight.  But there will still be additional, mainly-light rains to come into Friday.  We’re keeping scattered showers in the forecast for Friday morning, so it’s looking like a wet morning bus ride and morning commute.  Morning temperatures will be in the 40°s, so let’s call it “chilly & wet” to paint the complete morning picture.

We’ve got showers winding down through the morning and into mid-day, with a mainly-dry forecast for Friday afternoon.  Yes, a lingering sprinkle or two during the afternoon is still possible, but nothing in terms of real accumulations.  Regardless, the clouds will remain through the day: add in a northerly to northwesterly wind and you’ll have a cool, if not downright chilly, Friday afternoon on the way.  We’ve mentioned it a couple of times in our forecasts: many WAFB neighborhoods will be lucky to reach 50° on Friday afternoon.

The clouds will linger into the early hours on Saturday, then should all clear out Saturday morning.  We’ve got a forecasted low in the mid 30°s for the Capital City on Saturday morning with sunshine for most of the day.  Saturday highs should climb into the mid to upper 50°s.  Skies stay clear through Sunday, with a morning low in the mid to upper 30°s and a high in the low 60°s.

Our forecast for next week is a good one.  Not only does it stay dry through most -- in fact, probably all -- of the work week, but there should be plenty of sunshine most days too.  It won’t get as warm as the “spring-like” days in the 70°s that we had earlier this week, but afternoons should return to the 60°s each day with morning lows in the upper 30°s and 40°s.  All-in-all, temperatures will be near-normal to slightly above-normal through the week under fair skies.  Sounds good for January!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Grab the Umbrellas & Jackets!

By Jay Grymes & Steve Caparotta

WAFB First Alert Quickcast:

- rain and cooler too for Thursday & Friday
- sunshine is back for the weekend

Today was yet another “spring-like” day in this run of January beauties, and there were fewer clouds today than we expected too.

But all good things must end, and this run of weather ends tonight.

Clouds will be returning later this evening and overnight with cloudy skies expected for Thursday morning. We could even see a couple of showers for the early morning commute as we begin the day in the upper 40°s for the Capital City. But as we move towards mid-day and the afternoon, rain chances climb quickly, with just about everyone getting rain for the afternoon and evening.

The bulk of the rain over the next 48 hours comes on Thursday afternoon and into the evening, but we’ll still have some areas of light rain and showers extending into Friday. Rains should be about done for everyone by, if not before, Friday afternoon but clouds will linger into Friday night.

What’s more, after this recent run of days in the upper 60°s to low 70°s, afternoon temperatures take a big nosedive, topping out in the low to mid 50°s for many WAFB neighborhoods on Thursday. Many won’t even reach the 50°s on Friday after a Friday morning start in the low 40°s.

The rain over the next two days will be courtesy of two features: a surface low tracking west-to-east across the northern Gulf working with an upper-level low and associated upper-trough moving from west-to-east to our north. The Gulf low will help supply the moisture with the upper-low and trough provide added lift and pull the Gulf moisture inland.

We’re looking for 1” to 2” of rain for most WAFB communities over the two days, with the vast majority of that falling on Thursday. There is little or no threat for severe weather; in fact, any thunderstorms that form will likely be limited to the coast and over the Gulf waters.

We’ll sweep the wet mess out, leaving us with mainly sunny skies for the weekend but it stays cool as the upper trough pulls Canadian air down into the lower Mississippi Valley. Saturday morning lows will get down into the low to mid 30°s -- a light freeze will be possible for areas north of the Capital City. It does get a little warmer under the sunshine for Saturday afternoon, with most WAFB neighborhoods in the 50°s. For Sunday, it’s the mid 30°s for the sunrise start and highs around 60° or so under sunny skies.

Our extended forecast beyond the weekend remains mainly sunny through at least mid-week.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Staying Mild Through Wednesday

By Jay Grymes & Steve Caparotta

WAFB First Alert Quickcast:

- more clouds, mild for Tuesday and Wednesday
- rain returns for Thursday into Friday

Admittedly, our morning temperatures dropped several degrees lower than expected, with freezes reported across most of the Baton Rouge metro area to start the day.  But the air warmed quickly during the morning with most neighborhoods in the 40°s before 9:00am and many in the mid 60°s by lunchtime. 

No doubt about it: a beautiful Monday whether you were attending dedications and remembrance ceremonies, doing a little community service, or just enjoying a day off.  In fact, even if you had to work today (like us), the sunshine, blue skies and mild afternoon temperatures should have put a smile on your face.

It looks like we are done with freezes for a while, but the fine weather over the past few days certainly can’t last forever either.  We’ll go with morning lows in the mid 40°s for metro Baton Rouge on Tuesday with a Tuesday high near 70° under a sun/cloud mix to mostly cloudy skies.  Wednesday begins in the upper 40°s to near 50° for the Red Stick with highs in the upper 60°s.  For Wednesday, the morning starts under mostly-cloudy to cloudy skies, easing to a sun/cloud mix for the afternoon.  A weak (and dry) cool front slides through the lower Mississippi Valley late Tuesday night into early Wednesday; the modestly-cooler air behind Wednesday’s front won’t have much of any effect on Wednesday morning’s low given the cloud cover, but it should keep Wednesday afternoon highs a few degrees cooler.

We’ve been talking for a few days now about the developing weather coming on Thursday and Friday.  A mid/upper-level disturbance will become better organized as it exits the Southern Rockies and heads east across the Southern Plains.  As the same time, Wednesday’s front will stall over the Gulf.  An area of surface low pressure will form along the stalled front and track eastward over the open Gulf while the upper-air disturbance tracks east across the Gulf States.  The two features will be enough to keep us under the clouds for just about all of Thursday and Friday … and generate rains from Thursday into the first half of Friday. 

It will be a cold, “overrunning” rain for both days -- highs for Thursday and Friday will struggle to make the 50°s, especially for some of WAFB’s more northern neighborhoods. 

Rain totals will remain modest, so there’s no need to be concerned about any flood threats.  Very-early rain estimates for the viewing area from the NWS Weather Prediction Center suggest a north-to-south increasing gradient for the two-day totals, ranging from under 0.5” near and north of the LA/MS border up to 1.0” or more closer to the coast.  (We’ll keep an eye on these rain projections over the coming days.)  While we won’t rule out a rumble or two of thunder, especially along the coast, severe weather will not be a concern on Thursday or Friday either.

The rains should be ending from west-to-east during daytime hours on Friday, although it is still a little too soon to say when.  We’re thinking that the bulk of the rains should be off to the east before noon, although a few lingering showers could hang into the mid to late afternoon.  Regardless, skies should begin clearing well before Saturday’s sunrise. 

The upcoming weekend will be “cool-ish,” with morning starts in the 30°s and afternoon highs in the upper 50°s for the Capital City.  We’ll keep an eye on the Saturday morning outlook as some WAFB communities might flirt with a light wake-up freeze, but we’re expecting mainly-sunny skies on Saturday and fair to partly-cloudy skies for Sunday.  

Sunday, January 18, 2015

- Jay Grymes / WAFB Chief Meteorologist
- fair skies for the next couple of days
- rain returns later in the work week
It wasn't nearly as chilly a start today compared to recent mornings, even with the light NW winds.  And our mainly sunny skies through the day took most WAFB neighborhoods into the upper 60°s with some folks briefly reaching the 70°s during the afternoon.  A nearly-perfect Sunday for January across the region ... and the marathoners loved it too.
A weak, dry cold front slipped through the state early this morning, doing little to affect today’s weather, but it does introduce a reinforcing dose of slightly-cooler and less-humid continental air from the north and northwest into the lower Mississippi Valley.  So it’s mainly clear skies for the overnight and into Monday morning, with Monday sunrise temperatures down in the mid to upper 30°s for metro Baton Rouge.
Monday -- Martin Luther King Day -- will be another January beauty, and back into the upper 60°s for most of us under mainly-sunny skies.  A slow warming trend continues into the week, with a morning low in the low to mid 40°s for the Capital City on Tuesday with afternoon highs in the upper 60°s to around 70° under fair to partly-cloudy skies.  Here comes another front on Wednesday morning, but it arrives “dry” just as Sunday morning’s front did.  Plan on partly-to-mostly cloudy skies for early Wednesday, with the cloud cover easing back just a tad by the afternoon.  Wednesday starts out in the mid to upper 40°s, with the cooler air mass behind the morning frontal passage keeping the afternoon highs in the low to mid 60°s for most of us.
Of course, the great weather and sunshine can’t last forever.  We’re bringing rain back into the area on Thursday.  Thursday’s rain will be mainly a cold, “overrunning” rain resulting from a combination of alingering area of low pressure in the central Gulf associated with Wednesday’s front plus a little extra lift provided by an east-bound upper-level system tracking out of the Desert Southwest.  Highs may struggle to reach the 50°s for some WAFB neighborhoods on Thursday and Friday thanks to the cold rain and cloud cover.
But for most of us, the rains on Thursday and Friday aren’t terrible news.  The wet system exits the region on Friday, leaving us with a cool but mostly-fair weather for NEXT weekend.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Good Looking Weekend Ahead!

By Jay Grymes & Steve Caparotta

WAFB First Alert Quickcast:

- fair skies through the weekend and into next week
- 60°s return for the next several days

“Welcome back, Mr. Sunshine! Adios to the clouds and cold!”

As we expected, well over half of the WAFB viewing area dipped to freezing or below earlier this morning under those mainly-clear skies. Those clear skies also meant plenty of sunshine through the day, although the light northerly flow slowed the daytime warm-up. Still, most WAFB neighborhoods reached the mid to upper 50°s with a few flirting with 60° -- a big improvement over the past three overcast days when highs topped-out in the 40°s!

We’ll stay with mainly sunny afternoons throughout the weekend too, with the good stuff extending right through Monday, Martin Luther King Day.

Yesterday we talked about another light freeze for Saturday morning, but we’ll back off of that just a little for the Red Stick. Now it looks like a Saturday morning start that will still get well down in the 30°s, but most in and near the Capital City may dodge 32°. However, the freeze line won’t be all that far to the north Baton Rouge: communities there should expect a light freeze again for Saturday morning, but only for a couple of hours at most.

Then the welcomed but slow warm-up that started this afternoon continues as we climb into the 60°s for Saturday afternoon … okay, some WAFB communities north of the LA/MS border may only top-out in the upper 50°s. But hey, after the previous few days, that will be just fine! Sunday morning starts out chilly too -- ranging from the mid 30°s north to the low 40°s south -- but fair skies and sunshine should mean low to mid 60°s for just about everyone into Sunday afternoon.

If you’ve been watching our weathercasts over the past few days, we’ve been noting a cold front that will swing through the lower Mississippi Valley on Sunday morning. But it will be a “dry” front -- in fact, it brings a few clouds at most and really doesn’t provide much of a cold-air surge either. Many of you won’t even notice it.

Monday, MLK Day? Looking good too as we get into the mid to upper 60°s for afternoon highs.

Our forecast stays dry through mid-week, although we anticipate the next front to arrive on Wednesday. Based on our guidance, Wednesday’s front arrives “mainly dry,” but stalls along the coast. It lingers there for a day or two, picking up Gulf moisture and getting a little upper-air support (lift): that means rain returns for Thursday into early Friday. But the way it looks for now, the frontal complex heads east on Friday, taking the rains with it.

If that scenario pans out, it should leave us with somewhat cooler but dry weather for NEXT Saturday and Sunday.

In the meantime, enjoy THIS weekend ... and enjoy the sunshine!