Thursday, February 23, 2012

Windy Today, Cooler Friday

By Jay Grymes & Steve Caparotta

Southwesterly winds were the lead topic in today’s weather story, sustained in the 20-30 mph range throughout the afternoon with gusts into the 30s!  And the air had a springtime feel to it, with Gulf humidity combining with highs in the upper 70°s to low 80°s, making it feel more like late April than late February.

Thursday's peak wind gusts (in mph) through 4 p.m.

All of this is occurring as a result of a steep pressure gradient over the state as a cool front approaches from the northwest.  We’re expecting the front to be moving into and through metro Baton Rouge during Friday morning around 6AM or so and continue moving to the SE and over the coastal waters by the middle to late afternoon.  We’ll set rain chances for Baton Rouge at 40% to 50% for the morning hours on Friday -- some neighborhoods will see little if any rain, with most neighborhoods, if not all, getting well under one-quarter-inch of rain for the event.

Titan9 RPM model projection for 6 a.m. Friday

Yes, this is the same front that had us on the watch for a potential severe-weather outbreak -- but the latest rounds of computer guidance take that threat off the weather boards!  While a few may hear a rumble or two of thunder on Friday morning, and a handful may see a some flashes of lightning, this is not going to be the strong, stormy front that was suggested by the NWS Storm Prediction Center.  The stormy weather associated with this system will remain far to our north, with our only concern locally being slick streets during the morning commute.

The other notable aspect for Friday’s weather will be the “upside-down” temperature pattern we anticipate.  Temps around midnight tonight will still be around 70° for many WAFB communities, easing down into the 60°s as the front pushes through in the morning.  Rather than rising to a daytime high during the afternoon, we expect Friday’s temperatures to display a slow but near-steady fall throughout the daylight hours, with late afternoon readings in the 50°s for many of us.

Titan9 RPM model forecast temps for 3 p.m. on Friday. Friday's anticipated high temps in the lower 70°s will likely occur near midnight, with readings falling into the 50°s for much of the day.

We’re going to keep an eye on a weak, mid-level disturbance over the western Gulf during the weekend.  Yesterday, the models were hinting that this Gulf system might become sufficiently organized to produce a little rain for us.  But the latest computer runs are less impressive with this “Gulf mess,” keeping the core of it well south of the Louisiana coast.  Even so, it may generate some mid/upper clouds and could potentially kick-off a sprinkle or two along the coast.

Titan9 RPM model projection for 3 p.m. Saturday showing the potential for a few showers along the coast.

Given that, let’s plan on fair to partly cloudy skies for Saturday, with wake-up temps in the upper 30°s for many along and north of the I-10/12 corridor.  Afternoon highs will top-out in the low 60°s, with some WAFB communities to the north and east of metro BR not getting out of the 50°s.  We’ll give it a 20% chance of rain on Sunday, with a morning low in the low 40°s and highs in the low 60°s.

Our forecast stays “unsettled” for Monday and Tuesday, with our next cool front arriving Wednesday.

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