Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Strong Storms Possible Thursday

By Jay Grymes & Steve Caparotta

Clouds weren't quite as extensive as we expected today, but then we doubt that anyone’s complaining!  But the clouds will be increasing through the evening and overnight, with storms returning to the WAFB viewing area by Thursday afternoon.

As we’ve mentioned the past couple of days, there's the potential for some strong storms on Thursday -- the NWS Storm Prediction Center is maintaining a “Slight Risk” for severe weather across the WAFB viewing area from Thursday afternoon into the early hours of Friday.  The primary threat will be damaging winds, but hail and isolated tornadoes can't be ruled out.

And we remind you once again: a NOAA Weather Radio is a great investment to provide you with that “wake-up warning” for overnight threatening weather.  Get a radio with S.A.M.E. technology, which will allow you to program the radio’s alarm to sound an alert only when your parish/county is under the gun!

Here’s the set-up for our weather in the coming days: a low-pressure system over the Desert Southwest will move into the Southern Plains by Thursday morning.  As the low continues to track towards the Great Lakes from Thursday into Friday, it will drag a cold front through the lower Mississippi Valley.  We expect the front to be west of the LA/TX border around 6PM Thursday, but draped over SE Louisiana by early Friday -- that timing brings the front through the WAFB viewing area between roughly midnight and sunrise on Friday.

The front looks like it will slow its eastward advance on Friday, keeping us under the clouds and dealing with some passing showers throughout most of the day.  We could even still see a couple of “backside” overrunning rains Friday night into the early hours Saturday before the mess finally moves far enough east to give us a decent Saturday afternoon.

Unfortunately, our next rainmaker will be organizing over the Southern Plains by Sunday morning and heading our way, bringing another round of scattered rains by Sunday afternoon and evening, with rain likely during the overnight hours.  We expect the system to push a cold front through the WAFB area early on Monday.  Although it is too early to say with high confidence, it looks like we could be dealing with yet another round of locally-severe weather on Monday morning.

The weather should settle down by Monday afternoon and evening, with a couple of much-needed “quiet” weather days on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Preliminary rain estimates through Monday from the NWS Hydrometeorological Prediction Center continue to show widespread totals of 2” to 4+” in the WAFB viewing area.  Given the saturated soils and lingering high water in many ditches, channels and drainage canals across our area, we’ll need to keep a close tab on rain amounts in the coming days: 4” of rain in the right places could push local some areas back into flood.

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