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.

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