Thursday, January 24, 2013

Spring-like Weather Continues Friday

By Jay Grymes & Steve Caparotta

Are you enjoying our run of spring-like weather?  Well, even if you would prefer a little January chill to the air, you’ve got to admit that this is far better than the wet streak that dominated the first half of the month.
A cold front is still on track to arrive over the WAFB viewing area late Friday into early Saturday, but as we discussed yesterday, it is expected to stall and weaken across the southern parishes on Saturday.  Whatever is left of the frontal boundary is then expected to lift northward as a warm front on Sunday. 

So given the slow-moving nature of the weekend front, why so dry?  Largely because the surface boundary will have little mid- and upper-level support: a lack of “deep” moisture in addition to little help from the upper levels to generate sufficient lift to produce rain.  Yes, we’ll have a good dose of cloud cover, and we may see a couple of sprinkles pop-up on Doppler radar early Saturday morning, but it won’t amount to much if anything.
Our forecast now keeps Baton Rouge metro lows in the 50°s through the weekend, with highs on Saturday in the upper 60°s.  Afternoon temps will return to the 70°s for Sunday.
The Krewe of Jupiter and Juno, celebrating their 10th anniversary, will once again serve as the first parade of the Mardi Gras season for Baton Rouge -- that’s downtown this Saturday evening.  Temps should be comfortably cool for the parade, running in the low to mid 60°s for the parade’s 6:30pm kick-off and easing down into the 50°s by parade’s end.

Mystic Krewe of Mutts takes over downtown BR on Sunday morning, with registration starting at 10:00am, and the “canine carnival” continuing well into the afternoon.

We’re calling for more highs in the 70°s for Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.  Monday will stay dry under a sun/cloud mix, with a modest rain chance developing for WAFB communities on Tuesday. 
Our key extended-outlook models are sending mixed signals regarding the mid-week front expected to move through the lower Mississippi Valley, differing both on timing and rain potential.  For the time being, we’re staying with a good chance of rain (50% - 60%) on Wednesday, although confidence is somewhat low.  Admittedly, that’s well down the “forecast road,” and we’ll have to keep an eye on the various guidance packages to see if they start to show signs of better agreement in the coming days.
And for those that like a little trivia: as we mentioned a few days ago, it’s been a relatively mild month temperature-wise with no freezes, and our extended forecast says the “freeze-free” pattern will continue through month’s end.  That is rare for January, having only occurred during three prior Januarys (based on records back to 1930).  But don’t be fooled into thinking that it has been a “warm” month.  Believe it or not, January 2013’s monthly average temperature through today  -- that is the average of each daily high and low -- is 52°.  That’s right at “normal” for the 24-day period.

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