Friday, December 28, 2012

Clearing, Much Cooler This Weekend

By Jay Grymes & Steve Caparotta

Today’s frontal passage shaped up to be a substantial rain-maker but severe weather was not a real issue. There were a few areas where wind gusts may have climbed into the 30+mph range in association with some of the passing afternoon t-storms, but all-in-all this was a much “gentler” frontal passage as compared to the storms of Christmas Day.

We’ve received some Weather Watcher reports of as much as 2” to 3” of rain today, with widespread rains of 1” to 2” for the frontal passage as indicated by regional radar estimates. (totals below are through 4-5 p.m. Friday)

The last of the rains -- to the east and southeast of metro Baton Rouge -- will wind down through the evening, but expect the clouds to linger into the overnight hours. Cooler air has already begun to filter into the WAFB viewing area and will continue to do so through the evening and tonight, with Saturday daybreak temps likely to dip into the upper 30°s to around 40° for neighborhoods along and north of the I-10/12 corridor.

We may still be under clouds early Saturday, but skies should clear through the morning, giving way to plenty of sunshine by the afternoon. But the cold, Canadian air mass will keep Saturday afternoon on the cool side: highs for metro BR will only reach the low 50°s, with some of the northern WAFB communities possibly not getting out of the 40°s.

The forecast for Sunday morning calls for a freeze for just about everyone from Ascension Parish northward -- and we may even see “hard freeze” conditions for SW Mississippi and parishes along the LA/MS state line! Thankfully, this will only be a one-day event, with temps climbing back into the 50°s under mostly sunny skies by Sunday afternoon - - and we say goodbye to freezes for the time being.

Temps will moderate for Monday and Tuesday, but rain moves back into the forecast with the warmer weather. A quick-moving storm system will track from the Southwest U.S. into the Southern Plains on Monday, then move into the lower Mississippi Valley by early Tuesday -- this could mean scattered rains for the area during the peak midnight festivities on New Year’s Eve.

The frontal system is then expected to slow and eventually stall near the Louisiana coast, then linger over the northern Gulf through Wednesday, possibly even early Thursday. The net effect: a “wet” start to 2013 beginning with a potentially stormy New Year’s Day, with rains continuing through Wednesday into Thursday.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Storms Return on Friday

By Jay Grymes & Steve Caparotta

A stubborn cloud deck last night and through the morning not only kept our wake-up temps above freezing, but also slowed the mid-day warm-up. We finally saw the clouds clear by the early afternoon, with the temps at Metro Airport jumping from a chilly 40° at 11AM to 51° by 2PM -- not exactly warm, but at least a bit more pleasant than Wednesday!

Unfortunately, clouds have quickly returned this evening, with generally cloudy skies expected overnight. In fact, we expect to see temps show a slow, modest rise through the overnight and into dawn on Friday -- going from the upper 40°s to the low 50°s by daybreak. And along with the clouds, don’t be surprised to see a few blips on Titan9 Doppler radar by daybreak, especially for areas west of metro Baton Rouge.

A surface low developing along the Texas coast will get a boost from a mid/upper storm system currently over the Southwest U.S., and the two will combine to set the stage for a wet Friday afternoon and evening. T-storms are likely with this system, and a few are expected to become strong to severe storms: enough to prompt the NWS Storm Prediction Center to post a “SLIGHT RISK” for severe weather for southern Louisiana and SW Mississippi.

The main severe threats on Friday will be damaging straight-line winds, although an isolated tornado cannot be ruled out. For the details-minded readers, it looks like the severe-weather set-up on Friday will have sufficient shear in the atmosphere for the tornado threat, but instability (rapidly-rising moist air) may be lacking. By comparison, Friday’s stormy threat is far, far lower than what was in place on Christmas Day.

The model guidance is suggesting that most neighborhoods should expect rains on the order of 0.5” to 1.0”, with a few pockets possibly approaching 2.0” under the paths of the stronger t-storms. Localized street-flooding might be a problem, especially during the Friday evening commute, but like Christmas Day, we aren’t concerned about rises along area rivers and bayous.

The rains will move out overnight Friday into the pre-dawn hours of Saturday, with a good deal of sunshine expected for the weekend. But after highs in the 70°s for many on Friday, the weekend will be much cooler. Highs for both Saturday and Sunday will only reach the mid 50°s, and for now we’re posting a light freeze for the ‘Red Stick’ during Sunday’s daybreak.

Unfortunately, the way it looks right now, our area weather may not be very cooperative as we head into the New Year. New Year’s Day looks wet ... and we’ll continue to fine-tune the New Year’s Eve forecast in the coming days.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

  -- Jay Grymes
     WAFB Storm Team

Assuming that the Mayans got it wrong, our winter will "officially" begin tomorrow at 5:12am!

The storms rolled through earlier today, and thunderstorm winds did indeed create some problems across sections of southern Louisiana and SW Mississippi. And as expected, temps showed a slow fall throughout the day behind the frontal passage. In addition, the winds were quite brisk throughout much of the day.

Skies will stay clear tonight and the winds will die down once we get past sunset. With dew point temps expected to drop into the 20°s, most of us can expect a light freeze for our Friday morning wake-ups. The Friday morning freezes will be of short durations, so this is not a seriously threatening event -- not a pipe-wrapper and only a problem for the most delicate of plants. Moving the delicates under an overhang near the house or patio should do the trick.
Sunny skies will be the rule for Friday, but it does stay cool with highs topping out in the upper 50°s for metro Baton Rouge. Saturday looks good too, although once again we’ll start the day around the metro area with a brief, light wake-up freeze. But Saturday afternoon stays mainly sunny with highs back into the 60°s as the winds come back around from the southeast.
And by Sunday? Goodbye freezes, hello 70° once again! We’ll add in spotty showers for Sunday afternoon and evening, but all-in-all the next three days look good for the last-minute shoppers.
Okay ... now the not-so-good news: we’ve got scattered rains in the current outlook for Monday, Christmas Eve. 
And the bad news? As of now, rain appears likely for Christmas Day as the current guidance brings the next cold front through Louisiana. In fact, while there remains some wiggle room and uncertainty, early indicators are that the Christmas Day front may indeed be accompanied by some active-to-severe storms. We’ll be watching these developments closely in the coming days.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Strong Storms Possible Early Thursday

By Jay Grymes & Steve Caparotta

(Heads Up!  The December Solstice -- the “official” start of winter -- arrives at 5:12AM on Friday.)
The clouds were slow to build over the WAFB region today -- no complaints there, I’m sure! --  and the mild afternoon with highs in the upper 70°s may have left many wondering about the stormy forecast we’ve been chatting up for Thursday morning.
Yes, the rains and t-storms are still coming!  And it looks like it could be a real mess for the Thursday morning commute, with rains and t-storms.  Some of those t-storms could be on the strong side, and as we reported on Tuesday, most of the WAFB viewing area along and north of the I-10/12 corridor is included in a zone for a “Slight Risk” of severe weather by the NWS Storm Prediction Center.  The main severe-weather threat will be straight-line winds; thankfully, the tornado threat remains extremely low.

The other bit of good news is that the forecast still calls for this front to be a relatively “fast mover.”  The rains should end in the metro Baton Rouge area by mid-morning, with skies clearing by, if not before, lunch-time. (Rains end and skies clear later for areas south and east of BR.)
Thursday will be an “upside down” day temperature-wise.  Sunrise temps for many will be in the upper 60°s to near 70°, but once the front moves through, temps will begin a steady fall throughout the day.  Look for sunny skies by Thursday afternoon, but temps will be in the 50°s and gusty winds will give it an even cooler “feel.”  By the evening, many of us will be in the 40°s ... and by Friday morning, a good portion of the WAFB viewing area will be dealing with a light freeze!
Highs on Friday will top out in the upper 50°s for most of us, with another light freeze for Saturday morning.
Last-minute shoppers will be pleased to know that the weekend weather will be cooperative: mainly sunny with highs in the low 60°s for Saturday followed by a mild, partly cloudy Sunday with highs approaching 70°!

The weather on Monday and Tuesday may not do much for those looking outdoors for some added Christmas spirit -- we’ve got scattered rains in the extended outlook for Monday and our next cold front scheduled to arrive on Christmas Day.  As of now, we’re posting highs in the 70°s for both days, with another significant chill-down as we head into the mid-week.
So ... 70°s today, freezes for Friday and Saturday, then back to 70°s for Christmas -- enjoy the ride on our Louisiana Winter-Weather Roller-Coaster!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Sunshine Returns Wednesday!

By Jay Grymes & Steve Caparotta

We expected the high clouds to hang around through the day today, with our forecast on Monday evening calling for a “sun/cloud mix, possible more clouds than sun” for Tuesday afternoon. But the fact is, the clouds were a bit thicker and more persistent at times than I had anticipated. What was interesting in watching the sky through much of the afternoon was the obvious “cloud line” that lingered in the western sky -- you knew that they were getting plenty sunshine on the western side of the Atchafalaya Basin, but the clearing line just didn’t seem to want to ease its way eastward.

Our afternoon clouds filtered the sunshine sufficiently to keep highs in the 40°s for many WAFB communities, especially for those along and north of the I-10/12 corridor. Quite that change after a run of days with highs in the 70°s, eh?

In fact, some neighborhoods to the east of metro Baton Rouge may have even seen a little extra-light drizzle or mist today thanks to the high clouds. Those clouds stay with us for most of the night, but metro BR will still see Wednesday morning lows slip down into the mid to upper 30°s.

Mostly to partly cloudy skies early Wednesday will give way to plenty of sunshine by the afternoon, and that should allow temps to rebound into the mid to upper 50°s for the afternoon. But those same clear skies, accompanied by a very dry air mass with dew points in the 20°s, will produce a light freeze for Thursday morning -- if we do dip to freezing, that will be the second freeze of the season for Metro Airport.

Afternoon temps on Thursday will reach the low 60°s under sunny skies, and a warming trend sets-in through the weekend. At the same time, our “weather attention” turns farther to the west as the next frontal system makes its way towards us. 

A Pacific front (generally not at cold as the Canadian front that moved through on Monday) will track across the central and southern Rockies on Friday, and move into the Central Plains by Saturday, with a cold front draped into Texas.

Timing of the system’s arrival in Louisiana remains a little unclear, but for now we’re going with scattered showers and t-storms during the latter half of the day on Saturday and extending into Sunday. At least one model is currently hinting at the cold front getting into the Bayou State then slowing and essentially stalling along or near the coast on Sunday. There is also a suggestion of a second system developing over the Southern Plains that could bring another round of rains late Monday or early Tuesday.

And a final was on this date 4 years ago that south Louisiana received one of our biggest snowfalls in recent history. Up to 8 inches of snow fell in Amite...certainly a rarity around here!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Sunshine Returning Friday Afternoon

By Steve Caparotta

A weak area of low pressure lingering along our coast kept many of us under the clouds yet again today. While we did see a few peaks of blue skies around metro Baton Rouge, we also saw a few passing showers this afternoon. Look for skies to remain mostly cloudy overnight, with a slim chance of a shower. Returning areas of fog will be our biggest concern.

Friday starts out with plenty of low clouds and fog, but I expect to see more in the way of sunshine by the afternoon. That should allow highs to climb into the mid 70°s. A stray shower can’t be completely ruled out, but most of us should stay dry. That forecast should hold pretty well for Saturday as well...and that's good news for the Cortana Kiwanis Christmas Parade in downtown Baton Rouge Saturday evening.

Sunday will be yet another day starting out with fog, followed by mostly cloudy skies and isolated showers in the afternoon. It’s late Sunday night into Monday when things look to get a bit more interesting in our weather…

A strong cold front will approach the area from the west, delivering numerous showers and t-storms on Monday. It’s still a bit too soon to say with much certainty, but the possibility of a strong storm or two may exist. The biggest story though will be the cool-down in the wake of Monday’s front. In fact, high temperatures for the day will likely occur in the morning, with readings falling during the afternoon.

Highs are expected to be stuck in the 50°s on Tuesday and Wednesday, with lows dipping into the 30°s! That cold weather that so many of you have been asking for should finally return next week!

While many cold fronts sweep the area clear of clouds with their passage, it appears as though the southern branch of the jet stream will remain overhead through much or all of next week. What does that mean? Look for clouds and even the chance of a few showers to stay with us through the balance of the week.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Rains to End, Back into the 70°s

By Jay Grymes & Steve Caparotta

Although the steadier, heavier rains ended during the morning hours for much of the WAFB viewing area, pockets of drizzle and mist continued through the day, making for a damp and cool afternoon. With the light rains and lowering clouds, daytime temps stayed well-below the forecasted numbers -- most WAFB neighborhoods reported afternoon highs in the low to mid 60°s.

Yes, Wednesday was a disagreeable day ... but most of us really needed the rain. A quick scan of regional rainfall totals showed much of the WAFB area received more than 1” of rain, with some areas topping 3” for the event. Peak totals topped 4” based on Doppler-radar estimates, including a nearly-continuous swath extending from NW Iberville Parish across lower Pointe Coupee and into southern West Feliciana Parish.

Most of the sprinkles for metro Baton Rouge will end tonight, but the cool front that brought the rains yesterday is expected to linger along the coast through much of Thursday. That means a few showers could extend into at least the first part of Thursday along the coast, but we think any “measurable” rain will tend to remain south of New Orleans.

So the rains will end but we’ll trade the sprinkles for fog during the overnight hours: areas of fog -- some possibly rather dense -- greets morning commuters on Thursday. Although we do expect to see some sunshine during the day, we anticipate mostly-cloudy skies for the better part of Thursday. But even with the clouds, a quick return of southeast winds by the afternoon should help highs climb back into the 70°s for Thursday afternoon.

The warm-up will continue through Friday and into the weekend. Morning lows for Thursday through Sunday will be in the upper 50°s, with highs in the upper 70°s for Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

With southeast-to-south winds expected through the next four days, low-level moisture will be more than adequate for morning fog each day. And given the daytime warmth (by December standards) over the coming days, we can’t rule out a ‘blip’ or two about every day through Sunday. But we’re keeping our forecast mainly-dry, only acknowledging spotty rains for Saturday and better rain chances for Sunday.

By Sunday, our next front will be approaching from the northwest. The timing is still a little uncertain at this time, but a best-guess brings the front into the WAFB viewing area very late Sunday into the early hours Monday. And after a very mild first week or so of December, this front should deliver a significant cool-down by early next week.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

  -- Jay Grymes & Steve Caparotta
         4 December 2012
The rains arrived earlier in the day than we had expected, and it looks like they’ll be with us through the evening and overnight tonight. In addition, the early arrival of today’s rains meant that afternoon temps stayed well-below our forecast range, with Metro Airport failing to reach 70° for the day.
As of 4PM, the cool front we’ve been following over the past couple of days is draped from central Arkansas through the ArkLaTex region and southwestward into east Texas -- and it is still on schedule to move into our viewing area early tomorrow. The problem is that once it arrives, it looks like it will slow to a near-crawl from the pre-dawn hours on Wednesday into the late afternoon.
There have been a few imbedded t-storms in the pre-frontal rain bands today, but there does not appear to be a real “severe weather” threat for the viewing area during the evening, overnight or even tomorrow morning. Although the front will slow as it passes through the area, the t-storm action will remain limited.
However, given the slow movement of the system, we could see some fairly significant rain totals for a few neighborhoods. Some preliminary radar estimates are already showing some 1” and even a couple of 2” bull’s eyes in the WAFB viewing area this afternoon, although the vast majority of WAFB neighborhoods are reporting a ½” or less thus far. But given that we could see rains continuing into the lunch hour on Wednesday for some communities, we can expect a flurry of 1” totals around the region from our area Weather Watchers by tomorrow afternoon.
Skies should start showing some clearing by late Wednesday, with dry days expected for Thursday and Friday. But be advised, even with the cool front working through, the air stays mild to warm, with patchy fog likely for Wednesday, Thursday and Friday mornings.
In fact, what we won’t see with our Wednesday front is a significant cool-down. Many WAFB watchers should expect daytime highs to remain in the 70°s for the entire work week, with upper 70°s on the forecast board for the weekend! We’ll put spotty to isolated rains in the weekend forecast as well, but the main weather story after Wednesday will be the unusually-warm weather persisting into next week.
In the extended outlook, the guidance is a bit mixed. For now, we’ll call for another front to arrive during the early part of next week, delivering another chance of rain.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Cold Start on Thursday Morning!

By Jay Grymes & Steve Caparotta

A stubborn cloud deck not only generated a damp mist for some areas late into Tuesday night, but was persistent enough to extend past sunrise for many of us, keeping temps across metro Baton Rouge and much of the northern WAFB communities in the 40s.  If you were with us during the 10PM weathercast on Tuesday, you saw that the cloud line extended from western Wilkinson County towards Lafayette with clear skies to the west.  Apparently, the cloud line stalled through the night and into the morning before finally eroding with the morning sunshine. 

The clouds over the Capital City quickly parted after 8AM, leaving a sunny sky for the remainder of the day.  Skies will remain mainly clear through the evening and overnight tonight, and that should allow Thursday’s early morning lows to drop into the 30s for just about everyone along and north of the I-10/12 corridor.

High pressure currently centered over the mid-Mississippi Valley will slide eastward on Thursday and Friday, establishing “return flow” (SE to southerly winds) that brings a little Gulf warmth and low-level moisture into the WAFB viewing area.  So after Thursday’s chilly start, temps will start a slow but steady climb into the weekend.

Expect highs in the upper 60s for Thursday afternoon under mostly sunny skies.  Lows will only drop into the mid to upper 40s for Friday morning, with Friday afternoon highs in the low 70s for most WAFB neighborhoods under fair to partly cloudy skies.  And the way it looks now, the Red Stick should plan on highs in the mid 70s on Saturday and mid to upper 70s on Sunday.

By Friday, mornings may be accompanied by patchy fog thanks to a rise in dewpoints associated with the return flow.  The extended outlook for the weekend includes little more than a very slight chance for rain -- less than 20% for both Saturday and Sunday.  Based on the current guidance, our next rain-producing cold front is scheduled for something only the lines of late Tuesday into early Wednesday.

Here’s a quick look at the NWS Climate Prediction Center’s (CPC) 3-month temperature and precipitation forecasts - - and remember, interpreting these maps must be done with care.  The initial assumption is that there are “equal chances” (EC) for temps to average “near normal,””significantly above-normal,” or “significantly below-normal.”  In other words, CPC starts with a 33.3% chance for each of the three possible outcomes, then adjusts those percentages based on their long-range guidance.

For the WAFB viewing area, the “seasonal average” temperature outlook for the 3-month period of December, January and February (DJF) leans slightly towards a warmer-than-normal season, with roughly a 35% to 37% chance for “above-normal” temps.  Another way to look at this is that there is roughly a  70% chance for temps to be “near-normal to above-normal” for the WAFB viewing area.

  You may already be thinking: that is not a substantial change from the starting point of 33.3% + 33.3% for “near-normal” plus “above-normal.”  And you would be correct, which means that CPC does not  have any strong indicators suggesting a large departure for winter temperatures for our area, especially when compared to the strong signal for “warmer-than-normal” weather over the U.S. Southwest.

The 3-month outlook for rainfall across the WAFB viewing area is even less insightful.  The CPC forecast for our viewing area is “EC,” which means that there is no clear guidance for any kind of trend for noteworthy rainfall departures this winter.  That lack of guidance comes as no surprise: the winter/spring El Niño that was anticipated by many experts during the summer and early fall has failed to develop, leaving the El Niño/Southern Oscillation (ENSO) in a “neutral” state.

  During El Niños, our viewing area tends to receive above-normal rain during the winter and spring; during La Niñas -- the “flip side” of El Niño -- we tend to be dry.  But during “neutral” ENSOs (sometimes called La Nada), all bets are off.  During past La Nadas, winter and springs rains for our area have ranged from some of the lowest to some of the highest seasonal totals, with all options in between.  In other words, there is no clear long-range guidance for winter rainfall in our area when ENSO is in the La Nada phase. 

Yes, one might question the value of these three-month “forecasts.”  The shifts in percentages from “EC” for the coming winter temperatures are limited at best, and there is no information added with the winter rainfall projection.  But these “seasonal forecasts” (better labeled as “outlooks”) are honest assessments based on the current state of the science for long-range predictions.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

What a difference a day makes!

By Jay Grymes & Steve Caparotta

As expected, most of the rains had exited the WAFB viewing area before lunchtime, but the rains made for a ticklish morning commute in some areas. Most WAFB neighborhoods received between 0.25” and 1.00” over the two-day stretch -- much appreciated by many, but most communities are still drier-than-normal for this time of year.

We’re done with the rain for the rest of the week, and our extended forecast has only spotty showers in the weekend forecast.

Tuesday (today) was an “upside down” day from a temperature perspective. The clouds were more persistent into the afternoon than Jay had expected and that kept temps for showing any significant rebound after the morning frontal passage. The day’s high temp occurred before dawn and just prior to the arrival of the morning rains. By 10AM, Baton Rouge temps dropped into the 50°s and stayed there through the afternoon.

Skies clear tonight and with winds back down as high pressure settles over the mid-Mississippi Valley. That should allow Wednesday morning lows to drop into the upper 30°s for many WAFB neighborhoods, especially those north of the I-10/12 corridor. Sunny skies will be the story for Wednesday, with afternoon temps rebounding into the low to mid 60°s for the Capital City. 

Look for morning minimums to again drop into the 30°s around metro BR on Thursday, with highs on Thursday afternoon climbing to near 70° under sunny skies. And by Thursday, with the regional high shifting farther to the east, we’ll be set-up for Gulf “return flow,” bringing a return of milder air along with a rapid rebound in low-level moisture.

Our forecast for Friday, Saturday and Sunday reads “warmer than normal” for all three days, with highs in the 70°s -- possibly even the upper 70°s by Sunday. With the in-flow Gulf moisture over the period, we can’t entirely rule out a shower or two, but at least for now we’re only posting rain chances at about 10% for Saturday and Sunday. So go ahead and make plans to do something outdoors in the mild “October-like” weather!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Morning Rains, Turning Cooler Tuesday

By Jay Grymes & Steve Caparotta

The long-advertised rain is just around the corner, with the cold front currently (as of 4PM) extending from southern Arkansas into east-central Texas, all linked to a surface low positioned near the ArkLaTex.

Our forecast brings the cold front -- and the surface low -- through the WAFB viewing area around the 3AM - 6AM Tuesday morning, with the frontal complex continuing to the east through the day. Showers and t-storms are expected ahead of and during the frontal passage. A few t-storms may be on the strong side, with gusting winds and pockets of hail, but this is not looking like it has the dynamics to become a severe-weather event for WAFB communities. 

The timing of the front’s arrival and passage may shift a bit, it looks like most of the more active t-storms and heavier rains will be to the south and east of metro BR during the peak morning commute hours (7AM - 9AM), but that does not mean that the rains will have ended for the entire metro area. Definitely allow a little extra time and plan on a weather-impacted Tuesday morning drive.

Current guidance suggests that rain totals will likely run in the 0.5” to 1.0” range.

We think that the rains will end during the morning for BR and points north, with the clouds slowly thinning through the afternoon. Sunrise temps for metro baton Rouge will be in the low 60°s, but with cooler air filtering in behind the morning front, Tuesday’s highs will top-out in the mid 60°s -- maybe even struggle to make the low to mid 60°s north up along the state line.

Yes, the air behind the cold front will be cooler, but not “winter” cold. The northern jet stream (sometimes called the Polar Jet Stream) will remain locked up over the northern states, serving as a blockade for southbound Canadian air. Look for lows on Wednesday and Thursday morning to only dip into the low 40°s for Baton Rouge (upper 30°s along the state line). In addition, the core of high pressure behind Tuesday’s front will quickly shift to the east, re-establishing “return flow” off the Gulf by Wednesday -- that means highs back into the 70°s by Thursday for many of us, with 70°s for Friday and right the rule right through the weekend.

The southeasterly “return flow” and return of the Gulf air mass will mean increasing low-level moisture through the end of the week: we’ll post slight chances for mainly-afternoon showers for Friday, Saturday and Sunday. For the time being we’ll call it a 20% chance for each day, but that may prove to be a little generous.

Friday, November 23, 2012

     -- Jay Grymes
         Friday, November 23
Although we didn’t get to see those autumn blue-skies like we’ve enjoyed over the last several days, our Black Friday weather cooperated nicely for those doing battle in local parking lots as they pursued holiday shopping bargains!

Hat’s off to all of you who participated in today’s “Madness at the Malls” -- I am not that brave!

Today’s morning clouds kept sun-up temps a little warmer than we had expected ... and that minimized the early morning fog threat. Partly to mostly cloudy skies have been the rule for much of the day, with cloudy skies for the late afternoon. Afternoon temps climbed into the low to mid 70°s for most while we waited for the cold front to slide through the WAFB viewing area.

When we look at atmospheric moisture, however, we find that the air is simply too dry to support any significant rain with today’s frontal passage. Normally, with a cold front advancing towards us from the north and northwest, we would expect decent southeast-to-south winds at the lower levels ahead of the front. That typically would pump some Gulf moisture into the area ... but that was not the case this afternoon.

In fact, it looks like we won’t see so much as a short-lived blip or two on radar as the front moves through. There were some showers and pockets of mainly-light rain in southwestern Louisiana, but even those are fizzling out during the late afternoon hours.

Skies will begin clearing before midnight and you will notice a major change in temperatures for the rest of the weekend.

Saturday morning lows will drop back into the low 40°s under clear skies. We’ll enjoy sunshine and blue skies on Saturday, but say goodbye to the 70°s -- in fact, many communities along and north of the I-10/12 corridor may not even make it to 60° on Saturday afternoon.

And the forecast for Sunday morning currently calls for the coldest morning of the season this far! Metro Airport has dipped to 36° twice this fall -- on Oct 30 & Nov 15 -- but our current forecast for Sunday morning is calling for a metro BR low of 33°, with lower temps to the north and east of the Capital City. That’s why the NWS has issued a “Freeze Watch” for most of SW Mississippi and the eastern half of the Florida Parishes.

But the winter temps won’t last, with temps rebounding to the upper 60°s for Sunday afternoon and lows on Monday only falling into the upper 40°s to low 50°s. The warm-up will be followed by a good chance of much-needed rain during the latter half of the day on Monday and extending into Tuesday morning as a cold front slides through the viewing area.

Rain chances look to be quite good during the Monday-Tuesday time frame, but that’s only half of the weather story. “How much rain?” -- that remains to be seen. The latest NWS Hydrometeorological Prediction Center (HPC) outlook calls for only a modest amount of rain for the WAFB region: generally only 0.25” to 0.50” over the two days.

Based on the current guidance, the “up” side is that there does not appear to be a threat of severe weather with the Tuesday’s frontal passage, but the “down” side is that we really could use a better soaking than what is currently expected.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Dry Weather Continues!

-- Jay Grymes & Steve Caparotta
     Wednesday, November 21
One thing is certain, anyone on vacation this week hit the jackpot weather-wise -- whether it’s school kids or those taking advantage of the holiday and extending their run of days off!

There really wasn’t much in the way of fog earlier this morning, and Wednesday afternoon was just another beauty of a November day, with highs in the 70°s under sunny skies. And Thanksgiving Day shapes up to be much the same. We’ll start Thursday a couple of degrees warmer -- in the upper 40°s for the Capital City. We may find some pockets of shallow fog around sunrise, but that won’t last long. By the afternoon, winds will swing around to the south and it’ll be mainly sunny skies with highs again in the mid to upper 70°s!
Fog may be a little more widespread on Friday morning thanks to a little more low-level moisture due to the southerly flow. But we don’t expect the fog to be a big deal for early morning Black Friday bargain hunters. Our next cold front is still on schedule to slide through the viewing area during the latter half of the day on Friday, but all indications are that it will be a “dry” front.

You may notice the wind shift by Friday afternoon, but the cooler air behind Friday’s front won’t really become noticeable until the evening hours. However, we’ll certainly feel it on Saturday and Sunday afternoons, with highs in the 60°s rather than the 70°s we’ve enjoyed this week.

On Tuesday evening we showed that regional rain totals since October 1st are generally running about 20% to 35% of normal for most WAFB communities. That’s not so dry as to qualify as “drought conditions,” but most of us could use some rain for the lawns and fall/winter gardens. Our extended forecast has rain returning to the area with the next cold front -- currently scheduled to arrive Tuesday.

And we’ve not said anything about it for some time, so if you are wondering: the tropics are “quiet.”

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Staying Mild & Dry Through Friday

By Jay Grymes & Steve Caparotta

How about another good looking day for Tuesday? And there is more of the same over the next few days!

The surface low associated with the winter storm system in the Pacific Northwest that Steve described in detail on Monday will move into the Northern Rockies on Wednesday. Meanwhile, surface high pressure will continue to dominate the weather from New England and the Great Lakes down to the Gulf Coast -- covering almost all of the eastern half of the nation.

At home, our Wednesday forecast is a winner! We’ll start the day under mainly clear skies and sunrise temps in the mid 40°s for metro Baton Rouge. Just like we saw on Tuesday morning, there could be some patchy fog for the morning start. Skies will remain virtually cloud-free through the day, with highs returning to the mid 70°s under light to moderate northerly flow.

By Thursday, the winds will swing around to the east and southeast, so expect sunrise temps in the upper 40°s to near 50° for Turkey Day and Black Friday. In addition the wind shift should add a little low-level moisture that may translate into some additional morning fog for wake-ups on both days, especially Friday. But once the fog lifts, both days will be mild ones with highs in the mid 70°s. We’re going with mostly sunny for Thursday afternoon and partly to mostly cloudy skies for Friday afternoon.

The guidance still shows a cold front sliding through our viewing area during the latter half of the day on Friday, but just about all indications are that the front will be a “dry” one, only delivering some clouds as it passes by. Skies will be clearing by early Saturday, but we’re now calling for a notable cool down for the weekend, with highs in the low to mid 60°s for Saturday and mid 60°s for Sunday!

Our next weather system will begin organizing over the Southern Plains late Sunday into early Monday, delivering a good chance of rain to the forecast area by Tuesday.

We could use some rain. As we said yesterday, it’s not a drought yet, but things are getting quite dry. It comes as no surprise that a quick look at about 20 rainfall-recording sites for rainfall since October 1st shows no locations with near-normal rainfall. The “wettest” site we could fins was St. Francisville, with 5.18” of rain since the start of October, about 72% of normal. But just across the Mississippi River in New Roads, they’re reporting a mere 1.11” -- only 16% of normal.

The vast majority of sites we reviewed are reporting rain totals between 20% and 40% of normal for the 51-day period (Oct 1 - Nov 20). Metro Airport is one of the drier sites, with just 1.16” for the period, only 17% of normal. Yes, we could certainly use a good soaker.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Staying Mild Through Thanksgiving!

By Jay Grymes & Steve Caparotta

We’ve been through a run of “cooler-than-normal” days -- average daily temperatures for each of the previous seven days (Nov 12-18) were below normal. Although most of us climbed into the lower 70°s this afternoon, even today’s average temperature is below-normal thanks to the chilly start in the 30°s for many WAFB neighborhoods.

We’ll see a modest warm-up kick-in over the coming days, with morning lows in the mid to upper 40°s (closer to normal for this time of year) and afternoon highs in the mid 70°s (actually a few degrees above normal). Yet the warm-up does not come with much change in our regional humidity. Dew points are likely to remain between the 40°s and low 50°s right into the weekend -- that means very comfortable afternoons with cool-but-not-cold nights and early mornings.

What about rain this week? Not a chance, at least through Turkey Day. Plan on plenty of sunshine through Thanksgiving Day, with partly cloudy skies in store for holiday shop-o-holics headed out the door for Black Friday bargains.

The way it looks right now, our next cold front isn’t scheduled to arrive until late Friday or early Saturday, and the latest guidance is suggesting little if any rain as it slides by. Temps may drop about 5° or so on the backside of that frontal passage, but the modest cool-down is just about all we can expect with the front other than some clouds.

So where is the rain? We’ve been dealing with a split jet stream system: the polar jet running across the northern states and along the U.S./Canada border and a weaker southern jet (sub-tropical jet stream) cutting across the southern states. For now, U.S. storms systems are riding along the more active polar jet and remaining well to our north. If our current analysis is correct for the forecasted Friday/Saturday frontal passage, the main storm energy with that system also stays well to the north, with only the trailing tail of the cold front passing through the central Gulf Coast.

Most of us have had a prolonged run of drier-than-average weather over the past several weeks ... certainly a little rain wouldn’t hurt. We aren't in "drought" just yet, thanks in part to the run of cooler-than-average days, but another week or two of rain-free weather may push us over the edge. However, the dry spell has allowed many rivers and bayous to drop to near “base flow” levels, and that is good news for those concerned about the threat of winter flooding in the coming weeks when the rains do return.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

-- Jay Grymes & Steve Caparotta
      15 November 2012
While Baton Rouge’s Metro Airport (BTR) low of 36° this morning was a very chilly start to the day, we must remember that we’re just about on target for temps like these based on climatology and weather history. Statistics tell us that during more than half of all autumns, minimums of 36° occur by or before mid-November at BTR. (Don't forget, we dipped to 36° on the day before Halloween).  In fact, those same statistics show that, on average, our first light freeze roughly corresponds to the Thanksgiving Holiday ... yes, a light freeze may not be too far down the road.
But even though we should expect some 30°s during November, we have certainly been on a roll of cool weather. Eight of the past ten days have averaged below normal. Indeed, November is shaping up to be a cooler-than-normal month as Baton Rouge temps for the first half of November are averaging about 2° below the long-term normal.
Many of us can say “goodbye” to wake-up temps in the 30°s for the time being, although several WAFB communities north and east of Baton Rouge could still flirt with upper 30°s for the next two mornings. But a very modest warming trend will continue over the next 5 to 7 days, with afternoon highs up around 70° by Sunday for many of us.
Friday starts out near 40° under clear skies at sunrise, with sunny skies throughout the day. But the northerly flow continues and that will offset some of the daytime warming even with sunny skies, so will post a high in the mid to upper 60°s. The warming trend will also come with a run of dry weather through the weekend and into next week. In fact, the weekend looks great: mainly sunny a comfortably cool with highs in the upper 60°s for Saturday afternoon as the Tigers host Ole Miss for the final LSU home game of 2012. And for Sunday, we’re calling for mainly sunny skies and highs around 70°. 
Based upon what we see right now, it stays dry through Monday, with only a modest rain chance (about 20%) for Tuesday.
Our recent run of cool weather (but not “cold” by November standards) prompted us to take a quick look back at 2012 temperatures. Trivia buffs and weather wonks may remember the record-warm first quarter of 2012 for the WAFB viewing area. In fact, monthly temperatures for January through July were all above the norm. But since then, area temps have been averaging below the mean, with October ending up more than 2° cooler-than-normal. Still, the first half of 2012 was so warm (compared to normal) that as of the end of October, the ten-month average temperature for Metro Airport still ranks as the “warmest” for that time frame since at least 1930!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Another Cold Start Thursday!

By Jay Grymes & Steve Caparotta

Our chilly mornings keep coming -- Wednesday morning’s sunrise saw temps in the upper 30°s under mainly clear skies for metro Baton Rouge, and our forecast for Thursday’s sun-up reads much the same, with bus stop temps expected again in the mid to upper 30°s.

Although temps will remain a little below mid-November norms through the next few days, the forecast continues to look good right through the coming weekend. Wednesday started the trend of slowly-warming afternoon highs -- with highs in the low 60°s -- and that will continue right into Sunday when highs could reach 70° or more for a good portion of the WAFB viewing area. In addition, we think that morning lows will return to the 40°s for metro Baton Rouge by Friday and remain in the 40°s into next week.

Why the recent run of chilly mornings and cool afternoons? The main driver has been a surface ridge of high pressure extending from near the Great Lakes all the way to the Gulf Coast, maintaining a northerly flow of cold-and-dry air southward. That low-level flow is being augmented by a northwesterly flow at the mid and upper levels (the jet stream), helping to keep the air both cool and very dry. How dry? How about dew point temps in the low 30°s and even some upper 20°s today -- compared to “average” November dewpoints in the low 50°s.

Our forecast remains essentially “front free” right into next week -- good news for anyone NOT looking for a little rain.

It certainly has been dry of late: many WAFB neighborhoods recorded less than an inch of rain in October and many of those same areas have yet to get an inch during November. We’re not entering “drought” conditions yet, however, as “cooler-than-average” temps over the past six weeks have also meant reduced moisture demand for landscapes and agriculture.

Our extended outlook keeps temps in the low 70°s through the first half of next week, with rain chances returning by about mid-week.

And for the time being, nothing brewing in the tropics. Maybe, just maybe, we’re done with tropical weather for 2012?

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

 -- Jay Grymes & Steve Caparotta
        13 November 2012

High clouds have been drifting in from the west today and they are expected to remain with us through the evening and overnight. They are the product of blow-off cirrus tops associated with a large upper-air disturbance traveling west-to-east over southern Texas and headed into the western Gulf.

Those high clouds thickened enough to filter Tuesday's afternoon sunshine, and that kept many WAFB neighborhoods in the 50°s for Tuesday’s highs. In fact, Tuesday’s high of 60° is the “lowest” afternoon max-temp recorded at BR’s Metro Airport since February 19th!

WAFB communities won’t get anything more than those high-and-thin ice-clouds (cirrus clouds) from the Texas disturbance, and we expect most of those clouds to clear out during the first half of Wednesday, leaving us with fair skies for Wednesday afternoon. But we’re still another day away from the real start of the warming trend expected, so highs on Wednesday will once again top-out in the low 60°s for many WAFB neighborhoods.

By Thursday, the northern branch of the jet stream will have retreated a little farther to the north, taking the truly cold air with it, while a developing ridge in the southern branch of the jet stream (currently over the SW U.S. and NW Mexico) shifts east and provides a mechanism to enhance the slow warming for the central Gulf Coast later this week. That same southern jet stream ridge will also assure dry weather for the rest of the week and through the weekend, with highs climbing to, or even above, 70° for many WAFB communities over the weekend.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

--  Jay Grymes & Steve Caparotta
        Thursday, November 8
Thursday morning’s low dipped a few degrees lower than we had expected thanks to clear skies, calm conditions and dew points in the upper 30°s. Even with the chilly start, it would be hard to complain about Thursday afternoon: although temps max’d out a few degrees below the norm, sunshine and generally light winds made for a fine November day.
Clear skies and light winds tonight will allow temps to drop into the low 40°s for metro Baton Rouge, with lows returning to the 30°s for many WAFB neighborhoods north and east of the Red Stick.
At the upper levels, we’ll be directly under a broad ridge by tomorrow; at the surface, high pressure will continue to slide to the east. The upper ridge will keep skies fair, while the surface high to our east will cause the winds to veer (shifting in a clockwise direction) tonight and continue doing so into the day on Friday. By Friday afternoon, “return flow” -- transport off the Gulf -- will help warm us up and start bringing low-level moisture back into the area. Look for highs on Friday in the upper 70°s for the Capital City under mostly sunny skies - - but by Friday afternoon, the inflow fromn the Gulf will mean take dewpoints into the 50°s.
By Saturday, we’ll have increased the regional low-level moisture sufficiently to generate partly cloudy skies by the afternoon, with highs approaching 80° for many WAFB communities. But the weather looks good Saturday evening and Saturday night – great news for LSU’s Homecoming as the Tigers take on Mississippi State and for the Jags up on the Bluff as they celebrate Senior Night against Alabama State.
By Sunday -- Veteran’s Day -- we could see some patchy wake-up fog, depending on the morning winds. By the afternoon, most of us can expect partly cloudy skies with highs around 80° or more. We can’t rule out a spotty shower or two during the afternoon and early evening, but the rain threat is small and even those showers that do pop-up won’t last long.
Monday is the area’s “wet” day in the extended outlook as our next cold front is scheduled for arrival during the day. For now, we’re going with a “likely” chance for rain in your backyard. Based on the four-day outlook, most of us can expect something along the lines of one-quarter to three-quarters of an inch of rain with Monday’s front. While we could see an isolated strong to severe storm or two, the current guidance shows little in the way of a widespread severe weather threat.
Monday's front will also deliver a modest cool-down, but it won't last long.  In addition, because the air mass behind Monday's front is more "Pacific" (i.e., cool and slightly moist) than "Canadian" (i.e., cold and very dry), the temperature drop for next week will not be all that impressive.  But note that as we head into the cooler months of the year, we revert to that "roller coaster" pattern of warm-ups and cool-downs related to frontal passages.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Nice Fall Weather Continues

By Jay Grymes & Steve Caparotta

Wednesday was a gorgeous fall day here in Baton Rouge, with highs climbing into the low 70°s. But as we showed you last night, a weak cool front slipped through the Bayou State earlier today, adding a reinforcing dose of cool-and-dry (low dew points) Canadian air to our regional weather. That will allow Baton Rouge metro temps to drop to around 40° by Thursday morning, with many WAFB communities north and east of metro BR likely slipping into the upper 30°s by Thursday’s sunrise!

Highs on Thursday may be a couple of degrees lower than what we saw on Wednesday, thanks to that second surge of Canadian air. But the clear skies remain in place for Thursday, with mostly sunny skies in the Friday afternoon forecast.

We will begin to see the temperatures warm on Friday, with highs up around 80° for many WAFB neighborhoods by the weekend. An upper-level ridge currently over the western U.S. will shift eastward and set-up right over the Mississippi Valley for Friday and Saturday -- as you remember, upper-level ridges usually deliver a warm-up and also tend to keep the weather on the dry side.

That is great news for both LSU’s Homecoming (against Mississippi State) and the Jaguar Nation’s battle with Alabama State -- both games at 6:00PM and both right here in the Red Stick! We expect great fall weather for afternoon tailgating around Death Valley and up on the Bluff with highs in the upper 70°s to around 80° under fair to partly cloudy skies. Kick-off temps will be in the low 70°s, with temps falling to the mid 60°s by the 4th quarter.

Our forecast remains mainly-dry for Sunday, Veteran’s Day -- we’re going with partly cloudy skies and highs again up around 80°. We can’t completely rule out a spotty shower or two during the afternoon and early evening, but we expect the weather to cooperate for area activities. 

Our extended forecast calls for the next cold front to arrive on Monday. Although it is still a little too early to say, the latest guidance suggests that this will be a “wetter” system than most of what we’ve seen over recent weeks. For now, we are posting rain chances at 50% to 60% for Monday, but that rain chance may go up as the Monday forecast comes into better focus in the coming days.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

The Warm-Up Continues!

By Jay Grymes & Steve Caparotta

Wednesday was a mighty fine day across the WAFB ‘country,’ and the evening weather promises to be kind to the little Gremlins as they run through area neighborhoods. We’re calling for temps to slip from the mid 70°s around 6pm to the mid to upper 60°s at 8pm -- the hours for Trick-or-Treating in EBR Parish.

Skies will stay mainly clear overnight, with sunrise temps in the low 50°s for metro BR. Thursday will be another beauty, with mostly sunny skies and highs getting just a tad warmer, reaching the low 80°s. It will be warmer still for Friday.

An upper-level ridge currently located just to our west will steadily shift eastward over the next few days, becoming centered over the lower Mississippi Valley by Friday, then continuing east into the weekend.

We’ll continue to warm-up as the ridge approaches and sits overhead, but as it moves to the east, it will allow our next front to approach. For now, we’re still calling for a warm and mainly-dry afternoon for Saturday -- LSU Game Day as the Alabama Crimson Tide comes a’calling. A return of southerly flow ahead of the weekend front will mean spotty showers possible for Saturday afternoon and early evening, but not enough for concern for tailgaters or those lucky enough to have tickets to the game.

But the front is scheduled to arrive on Sunday, and we’re going with scattered rains -- currently setting rain chances at 40%. The front clears out by early Monday, delivering a cooler but not cold air mass and setting the region up for a good looking “Election Tuesday.”

Thankfully for the northeastern U.S., the “super storm” named Sandy has weakened considerably over the past 24 hours, and while ‘she’ is still readily evident on radar and satellite imagery, the system has lost much of its punch. No doubt, the recovery will be ongoing for weeks, even months. But much of the region has already made great strides in the long recovery, and much of New York City is back in operation. Still, when all the numbers are in, don’t be surprised if Sandy proves to be the most expensive natural disaster ever for the United States!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Looking Good for Halloween!

By Jay Grymes & Steve Caparotta

With the low dipping to 36° at Baton Rouge’s Metro Airport this morning, we awakened to the chilliest morning for the WAFB viewing area since February 12th. Now, if the mid 30°s and even some pockets of frost are a little too close to winter weather for your comfort, we’ve got some good news: the warm-up that began today will continue through the work week.

Overnight/early-morning lows for Wednesday will be considerably milder: we’re expecting mid 40°s for the metro area, with sunrise lows in the 50°s for the rest of the week. Highs today were in the upper 60°s to around 70° for most of us, and our forecast has highs back into the 80°s within the next couple of days for most WAFB communities. Mostly sunny skies -- like we enjoyed this afternoon -- will continue to be the rule through Friday.

There’s nothing but good news for the neighborhood Trick-or-Treaters for Wednesday evening: fair skies with temps starting out in the 70°s and only dipping into the mid to upper 60°s during the door-to-door haunts!

So a good looking work week, which then leads to the next big weather question: what’s the forecast for the monster LSU-Alabama clash in Tiger Stadium on Saturday night! While we’re putting a token “spotty showers” in the Saturday afternoon and early evening outlook, all-in-all the day looks like a good one for per-game tailgating and for watching what could be one the most pivotal game for LSU’s 2012 season!

Our forecast also includes a cool front over the weekend, likely arriving on Sunday afternoon and delivering a decent chance of rain as it slides by. Skies should be clearing by mid-day Monday, if not sooner, with “quiet” weather expected into the middle of next week.

As for Sandy ... she’s not “done” yet! Having fully transitioned into a huge “winter” cyclone, she continues to deliver winds, rain and snow to portions of the northeastern quarter of the nation. Storm impacts along the Atlantic Coast have been reported from South Carolina to Maine and as far inland as the Midwest and over the Great Lakes!

A very preliminary summary of the major impacts from Sandy include:
- upwards of nearly 8 million experiencing power outages
- rains of up to 8” to 12” over portions of eastern Virginia, eastern Maryland, Delaware and New Jersey
- snows of 2 feet or more over portions of West Virginia, Virginia, and western Maryland
- record storm surge and unprecedented flooding around New York City
- possibly the worst storm ever for coastal New Jersey
- cancelation of more than 16,000 airline flights

Although “hard numbers” are likely to be months away, very preliminary estimates suggest that losses from Sandy could top $20 Billion, possibly approaching $25 Billion, putting Sandy on a par with 1992’s Hurricane Andrew.

Peak wind gusts associated with Sandy.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Cool Weekend Ahead!

By Jay Grymes & Steve Caparotta

You have probably noticed the clouds increasing throughout the day. A cold front will slide through south Louisiana later tonight. If you have looked at radar you have probably seen the showers and the isolated t-storms moving through west Louisiana along and ahead of the front.

A few of you may get a little rain as the front passes by and folks north of Baton Rouge may even hear a rumble or two of thunder. But even those that do get rain won’t get much and the way it looks right now most of us will stay dry as the front goes by.

The big story with this front will be the drop in temperatures. Overnight clouds will give way to clearing skies by Saturday morning, and metro area neighborhoods will see sunrise temperatures in the 40°s. Saturday will be sunny, breezy and considerably cooler with highs for Baton Rouge topping out in the upper 60°s. It will be even chillier for Sunday morning with WAFB communities along and north of the I-10/12 corridor likely dipping into the 30°s for their morning starts. Sunday again will be breezy and cool with afternoon highs in the mid to upper 60°s. 

We’ll stay cool and dry for Monday and Tuesday with a modest warm up starting at mid week. The Halloween forecast looks good for the door-to-door Trick-or-Treaters. For the time being our outlook remains “mainly dry” right through next week.

Hurricane Sandy continues to be the BIG weather story for the U.S., with the latest model runs still turning Sandy back to the NW and landfalling along the Atlantic Seaboard. Sandy has weakened slightly today, but ‘she’ remains a very large system, with tropical-storm force winds extending as much as 200 miles out from the center!

The latest National Hurricane Center (NHC) forecast now maintains Sandy as a Category 1 hurricane right up until landfall, with the “forecast cone” at landfall currently extending from near the NC/VA state line to Long Island, NY sometime early on Tuesday. Admittedly, there is still a fair amount of uncertainty about what Sandy will ultimately do, but most of the computer models continue to advertise this somewhat unusual turn back towards the U.S. East Coast early next week.

Why unusual? One would expect that a tropical system that tracks so far to the north (as is forecasted for Sandy), especially for this time of year, would begin moving to the NE. In other words, a turn away from the U.S. at that latitude would be more along the lines of “climatology” (historical tendencies). But the deep trough that will deliver our chilliest mornings of the season this weekend is also expected to set-up a mid- to upper-level steering pattern that will cause Sandy to go against the “norm” and head back towards the mid-Atlantic or southern New England states.

If Sandy does head back and make landfall along the heavily populated U.S. Atlantic Coast as currently projected, the impacts of the storm’s winds, surge and anticipated flooding rains could lead to a storm for the record books!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Big Changes This Weekend!

By Jay Grymes & Steve Caparotta

Thursday was another in a strong of warm and mostly sunny days, but BIG changes are just around the calendar corner. 
We’ll start Friday with another round of fog for the morning drive - - we could see a Dense Fog Advisory posted for some WAFB communities.  Morning temps will start in the low 60°s for metro Baton Rouge under otherwise partly cloudy skies.
The clouds will continue to build through the day on Friday as our next cold front slides southward through the Bayou State.  We’ve been talking about this all week:  this will be a “mainly dry” frontal passage.  We are currently posting only a 30% chance of rain for your backyard, and even if it does rain at your home or office, most of you will see less than one-tenth of an inch of rain with the frontal passage.

Yet the NWS is labeling this as a “strong” cold front.  Why?  Although we don’t anticipate much rain and no active or severe weather, the front will be delivering a much colder air mass in its wake.  In fact, it currently looks like Sunday and Monday mornings will be the chilliest mornings of the season thus far, with many WAFB communities along and north of the I-10/12 corridor dipping into the 30°s!
Our extended forecast stays dry through at least mid-week, so the forecast for Halloween Ghosts and Goblins should be fine.
However, for those looking for a little rain for the fall gardens: you might want to pull out the hose!
In the tropics, Tony has been downgraded to a “post-tropical” system as he races off to the ENE.  But the big tropical story deals with Category 2 Sandy.  Sandy picked up ‘her’ forward speed today after exiting eastern Cuba early this morning.  Sandy is moving through the Bahamas this afternoon and evening and will continue on a north to NNW track through the night and Friday.  After that, Sandy -- still with hurricane intensity and likely growing in terms of its overall wind field -- is expected to turn to the NNE or NE on Saturday. 
Normally, we would expect that turn to mark the end of any Atlantic Coast threat, but the extended forecast calls for Sandy to swing back to a north and then to the NW from Sunday through Tuesday. 
The latest official National Hurricane Center forecast has a Category 1 Sandy located to the east of the Delmarva Peninsula by Monday afternoon, but taking the storm into either the mid-Atlantic states or southern New England on Tuesday.  The status of Sandy at landfall is still a bit unclear: ‘she’ could still be a hurricane or may have transitioned to something “post-tropical” by landfall.  But given her expected strength and size for this East Coast landfall scenario, everything points to the potential for a devastating ‘hit’ for sections of the densely populated coastal corridor.