By Steve Caparotta & Jay Grymes
Dense morning fog was the big weather story of the day for parts of south Louisiana. In fact, our visibility dropped to a half-mile by 2 a.m. at Baton Rouge Metro and didn’t climb back above a half-mile until after 8 this morning! Fog will continue to be a concern over the next couple of mornings, so remember to use low-beam headlights when driving.
After the fog burns off by mid-morning on Thursday, we expect a day much like today – partly cloudy skies and warm by the afternoon, with highs in the mid 80°s. A stray sprinkle isn’t out of the question, but the vast majority of us should stay dry.
It looks like we’ll have the potential for one more foggy start on Friday before we begin to see some changes in our weather. An approaching cool front will deliver a slight chance of showers or a t-storm by the afternoon and evening. We’re only posting rain chances around 20% from Friday afternoon until the front moves through early on Saturday.
In the wake of the front, big changes arrive in our weather over the weekend! Skies should begin to clear Saturday afternoon, with brisk northerly winds kicking in behind the front. Those northerly winds will usher in much cooler air, with Saturday’s highs only expected to reach the upper 60°s!
We expect to see a prolonged run of relatively cool weather beginning Saturday and continuing through much of next week. Morning temps will reach the low to mid 40°s by Sunday and continue into at least Halloween, while afternoon highs will range from the upper 60°s to lower 70°s.
In the tropics, Sandy was upgraded to 'Category 1' status at 10AM, making 'her' the 10th hurricane of the 2012 season. Sandy has been pounding Jamaica for much of the day, making landfall over the island-nation this afternoon. Sandy will strike eastern Cuba as a hurricane tonight, then track northward towards the Bahamas tomorrow. Hurricane warnings are now posted for the central and NW Bahamas, while Tropical Storm watches and warnings extend from the Florida Keys up much of the Sunshine State’s east coast.
The extended guidance is beginning to come in more agreement about potentially significant impacts from Sandy in some portion of the Northeast U.S. However, those potential impacts are still nearly a week away and considerable uncertainty remains.
Out in the central Atlantic, T.S. Tony -- the season's 19th 'named' storm -- continues tracking to the ENE and will do so for the next few days. The forecast for Tony includes a relatively short tropical "life," with increasing shear and cooler waters likely to accelerate Tony's transition to a "post-tropical" system within the next day or so.
19 'named' storms in a season ties four other years -- 1887, 1995, 2010 & 2011 -- as the third "busiest" season for the Atlantic Basin. The only two "busier" seasons were 2005 (the monster year with 28 'named' storms) and the recently-edited storm count for 1933 (now set at 20 storms). With five weeks to go, it is certainly possible that 2012 could reach that 20-storm mark, and 21 storms for the season is not entirely out of the question!