Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Warming Up Next Few Days!

By Jay Grymes & Steve Caparotta

Although it was cooler today than during the previous few days -- as we expected -- today still proved to be another January beauty.  We continue a much-deserved run of nice weather and we continue to dry out after the “mega-wet” start to the month.  In fact, today’s high and low temps were just about “normal” for this time of year.
Metro Baton Rouge can expect another cool night and early start for Wednesday, with temps dipping into the low to mid 40°s under clear skies.  Wednesday afternoon, however, will be noticeably warmer, with highs reaching 70° or more for many WAFB neighborhoods under mostly sunny skies.
Our forecast keeps highs for the ‘Red Stick’ in the 70°s for Thursday and Friday too.  After a mostly sunny Wednesday, plan on partly cloudy skies on Thursday, with our next cold front approaching from the west on Friday. 
Computer model guidance is still giving mixed signals as to what Friday’s front will do in terms of rainfall as it passes through our area.  We’re sticking with our thinking from yesterday, calling for only limited rain coverage (about 30% or so) and little in the way of rain totals (under 1/4” for just about everyone, many getting less than 1/10”).  We’ll watch closely over the next 24-48 hours to see whether the models come into better agreement.
What we do expect on the backside of Friday’s front is another dose of very cool -- but not really cold -- weather.  Highs for the weekend will be in the upper 50°s to around 60°, but the weekend should be good for some “outdoor” time.  Plan on mainly sunny skies for Saturday and fair to partly cloudy skies on Sunday.
But the weekend’s cool spell doesn’t hang around, as our extended forecast calls for a return of highs at or above 70° early next week.

Speaking of temperatures, it has been a rather mild winter thus far across the WAFB viewing area, with temperatures since December 1 averaging 2° to 3° above normal for most of the viewing area.  Admittedly, 2° to 3° isn’t that big of a deal, but what is especially noteworthy is the low number of freezes thus far this winter. 
Using Metro Airport (BTR) as an indicator, we find that BTR averages about 13 freeze days from through January 22nd (today).  So far this winter, however, BTR has recorded just 5 freezes, and none so far during January -- on average, BTR has 8 freeze days during January alone!  BTR’s 5 freezes thus far this season ties for the 5th lowest number of occurrences (through Jan 22) since 1930.  And for McComb, the 8 freezes at that location this season through today is tied for the fewest ever!

Okay, let’s hope we just didn’t jinx things!
And for you trivia-minded, Baton Rouge’s daily normal temps tell us that, climatologically, January is the area’s coldest month -- no surprise there, right?  BTR’s daily normals (high: 62°, low: 41°) have been unchanged for the past three weeks.  Well, those normals will start to “inch upward” ever so slowly by week’s end, our first indicator that spring is not too far down the road!  Well, okay, it’s not just around the corner either . . . don’t be putting away the heavy blankets just yet!

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