Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Better Rain Chances Ahead

By Jay Grymes & Steve Caparotta

Highs in the low to mid 80°s, a few more clouds, a tad more humid and a handful of showers streaming in from the Gulf during the afternoon -- the forecast for today shaped up just about the way we saw it on Tuesday.

Our forecast for the next two days gets progressively “wetter” -- we’ll call it a 30% rain chance for Thursday with a 40% to 50% rain chance on Friday. Keep the rain chances at 40% for Saturday, then back them down to a modest 20% for Sunday. So it gets wetter over the coming days, but not a total wash-out. And the rain totals through the weekend don’t look all that impressive, with the NWS Hydrometeorological Prediction Center calling for rain totals on the order of one-half-inch or less through the weekend.

NOAA / HPC forecasted precipitation through Monday morning.

Our rain chances over the coming days will not be related to frontal activity, as the jet stream and associated surface lows will remain well to our north through the weekend. Instead, the rains will be courtesy of abundant moisture in the low-level of the atmosphere -- thanks to “return flow” off the Gulf -- coupled with the occasional passage of mid/upper-air disturbances providing lift to that moisture to generate clouds and get the mainly afternoon rains going.

The added cloud cover and passing rains will mean that afternoon highs for the coming days will be a few degrees cooler than our recent run in the mid 80°s, but that will most likely be offset by the local humidity, keeping the “feels like” temps higher than the thermometer readings.

Our next “cool” front is currently slated for arrival late Monday or early Tuesday - - of course, we will be tweaking the timing in the coming days. But it’s looking like the trailing end of a frontal system could be sweeping through the state around that time, providing modest rain chances for late Monday and early Tuesday. Forecast guidance suggests a minor dip in temperatures with that frontal passage, with dry weather expected for mid-week.

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