Tuesday, February 26, 2013

A Wet and Mild Winter

- Jay Grymes & Steve Caparotta
- Feb 26, 2013

Our forecast remains a “dry” one through the weekend and into next week, but as we’ve mentioned, most of the upcoming rain-free days will be on the “cool side” even by late February and early March standards.
A weak, low pressure system will slide through the viewing area tomorrow afternoon and early evening. At most it may bring some clouds, but those clear out during the overnight into Thursday morning. We’ll get one more mild day, with highs on Wednesday in the upper 60°s to near 70°, but it turns cooler for Thursday, with highs for most of the WAFB viewing area only reaching the upper 50°s to low 60°s.
It will stay cool through the weekend, with our current forecast keeping highs for most of us in the 50°s through Sunday -- afternoon temps running about 10° or more below the norms.
So maybe the biggest weather question over the next several days is, “Just how cold will the weekend morning’s get?”
We know that we’ll get another dose of chilly continental air from Friday into Saturday. That not only keeps the daylight hours cool over the weekend, but will push lows well down into the 30°s for Saturday and Sunday mornings. For now, Sunday morning looks to be the coldest of the two, with low 30°s likely for metro BR and even lower temps north and east of the Capital City. In fact, some of our “northern” viewers near the LA/MS state line could even get close to a freeze for Friday morning, with a freeze for Saturday’s sunrise and lows in the upper 20°s by Sunday morning!
Another freeze? Well, truth is that we’ve been spoiled this winter in terms of temperatures. For Metro Airport, we had just one freeze in November, four freezes in December, a somewhat rare “freeze free” January.  February will end "quiet" too, with just one brief, light freeze this month (Feb 17).
That’s only 6 freezes this winter -- compared to an “average” of about 20 or more freezes each winter for Baton Rouge.
In fact, a Baton Rouge winter with just 6 freezes would tie the 1949-50 and 1930-31 winters for the second “fewest” freezes since at least 1930!   So what winter had the fewest freezes ever? The 1931-32 winter, with just three freezes days. (I’ll bet the mosquitoes were huge that spring!)
And our Baton Rouge statistics tell us that, on average, there is a 4-in-10 chance of a freeze on or after March 1st. From what we see for the weekend, it looks like we’ll add to our count of six winter freezes by at least one day, possibly two.
Besides, even if we drop below freezing over the weekend, these won’t be long or ‘hard’ freezes ... and with a March outlook that calls for a normal-to-warm month ahead, this may be our last chance for a taste of winter chill.

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