Friday, March 2, 2012

Storms Tonight, Cooler This Weekend

By Jay Grymes & Steve Caparotta

It is proving to be another disastrous and deadly day for communities ranging from northern Alabama into Tennessee, Kentucky and northward into southern sections of Illinois, Indiana and Ohio. As of 4PM, the NWS Storm Prediction Center (SPC) showed a preliminary count of 48 touchdowns, with today’s twisters scattered over more than a half-dozen states. In addition, there have been nearly 300 additional reports of wind damage and large hail today, stretching across large tracts of the Mississippi, Ohio and Tennessee river valleys.

Tornado reports as of late afternoon Friday.
Wind, hail, and tornado reports as of late afternoon Friday.
It’s the second major outbreak this week -- and just to make this clear, this is NOT a result of global warming.

Although the truly frightening weather outbreaks have remained to our north and northeast, we are not entirely in the clear here in the WAFB viewing area. The SPC has included a large portion of northern, central and western Louisiana in a Severe Thunderstorm Watch until 9PM, and all WAFB communities along and north of the I-10/12 corridor are included under a SLIGHT RISK for severe weather through this evening and into Saturday morning.

As we write this, a cold front with a pre-frontal squall line is marching southeast across the Bayou State. Our in-house Titan9 model suggests that the main storm energy will reach the metro area sometime after midnight, then continue to move east and southeast through the early morning hours.

Titan9 RPM model projection showing the cool front and an associated squall line moving through metro Baton Rouge just after midnight.
We’ll stay warm, muggy and breezy as the rains move in, with temps running in the upper 60°s and 70°s prior to the frontal passage. By sun-up on Saturday, the stormier weather should be south and east of metro Baton Rouge, although some lingering rains could remain over metro BR with thunderstorms still over portions of SE Louisiana and the SE coast.

Temps will drop considerably after the front moves through and the rains should be all but over by mid-day Saturday. But a north-to-NW wind along with a cloud deck that may be slow to clear will keep Saturday much cooler, with highs likely to top out in the low 60°s!

On the other hand, Sunday will be a mighty-fine early March day. The day starts out very cool, with a low near 40°, but sunshine under clear skies will allow for a nice warm-up through the day as highs rebound into the upper 60°s for the Red Stick.

A warming trend will continue into the work week, with dry weather expected at least through Wednesday. In the extended outlook, models are hinting at our next frontal passage on Friday.

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