Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Another Cold Start on Thursday!

By Jay Grymes & Steve Caparotta

** Don’t forget that we ‘spring ahead’ this weekend ... Daylight Saving Time officially returns on Sunday morning at 2:00 AM **

We may be getting ready to move the clocks ahead one hour, but Nature is letting us know that it is still officially winter.  If this morning’s sunrise temps in the mid to upper 30°s didn’t send a clear reminder, then maybe tomorrow morning’s temps will: Thursday morning lows will likely be a couple of degrees lower than earlier this morning.  That means another round of freezes for WAFB viewers near and north of the LA/MS state line (although nothing nearly as cold as what they saw last Sunday morning).

Thursday afternoon, on the other hand should be a degree or two warmer than today, with another round of mainly clear skies and lots of sunshine.  Some neighborhoods north of Baton Rouge may slip back into the upper 30°s for Friday morning.  But the winds should swing around to the southeast by Friday afternoon, allowing temps to climb into the lower 70°s under fair to partly-cloudy skies.   And the warming trend continues into the weekend.

Highs for Saturday and Sunday should be in the mid 70°s, possibly even the upper 70°s by Sunday afternoon.  Saturday should be an enjoyable spring-like day under a mix of sun and clouds.  Sunday starts out mild and dry, but we’ll throw in a 20% to 30% rain chance by the afternoon and early evening.

Extended-range guidance is indicating that a storm currently evolving over the eastern Pacific will slide eastward across the Southwest U.S., reaching the Central and Southern Plains by Saturday morning.  As that storm system’s surface low tracks east-northeast across the center of the nation from Saturday into Monday, it will drag a trailing cold front through Texas and into Louisiana.

The NWS’s Weather Prediction Center (WPC) -- the recently “renamed” Hydrometeorological Prediction Center (HPC)  that we’ve referenced regularly in the past -- suggests that the cold front will be over east Texas by Sunday morning and over Louisiana’s southeastern parishes by sunrise on Monday.  Assuming that this timing is about right, that forecast would support pre-frontal showers and storms during the latter part of Sunday afternoon and early evening.  Rain chances would further increase from late Sunday evening into early Monday morning.  The WPC outlook also shows that the front will move steadily to the east, allowing for a clear-out during the latter half of Monday.

At this stage, it is a little too soon to offer concrete predictions regarding the severe-weather potential for Monday’s frontal passage.  The WPC is suggesting that Monday’s front could generate from 0.5” to maybe 1.0” of rain across our viewing area -- hinting that while we should be ready for thunderstorms, this may not be shaping up to be a widespread severe weather outbreak.   However, given the time of year and all that we’ve said this week (Severe Weather Awareness Week) about springtime severe threats, let’s keep our guard up until the picture gets clearer.

Projected rainfall from 6 PM Saturday through 7 PM Monday from NOAA's Weather Prediction Center.

While you are resetting your clocks, don’t forget to check the batteries in your NOAA Weather Radio..and your smoke detectors this weekend!

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