Friday, March 22, 2013

Sct'd T-Storms, Some Possibly Strong on Saturday

By Jay Grymes & Steve Caparotta

We’ve seen a few light, passing showers today but nothing significant and no t-storms.  No complaints about that, either.  Our forecast for tonight through early Sunday morning may sound a little confusing, so hang in there while we try to explain. 
We’re going with a 50-50 rain chance for the viewing area for Saturday, with most of those rains arriving after noon.  Sure, a few might see a passing shower or two in the morning hours but most of the action comes during the latter half of the day.
We’ll start Saturday off with a rather muggy and almost-warm air mass in place -- look for sunrise temps in the low to mid 60°s for most WAFB communities.  We’ll be positioned in the “warm sector” (located on the south side of a warm front and ahead of an approaching cold front) through the day on Saturday with warm-and-moist Gulf air taking afternoon highs up to around 80°!
Scattered showers and t-storms will develop across the warm sector, accounting for our expected Saturday rains.  But again, at 50-50 chances, not everyone gets wet.  And even for those that do get rain, most will see rain totals under one-half-inch with many coming in at well under one-quarter-inch.  There could be one or two larger rainfall bull’s eyes under some passing t-storms but this is not going to be a local heavy-rain event.  All in all, Saturday’s weather doesn’t sound very impressive, yet ... but there is a catch.

Upper-level winds and an unstable atmosphere will provide conditions that could allow one or two of the better-developed thunderstorms during the day to achieve “severe” status: large hail, damaging winds, even tornadic development.  We are not expecting a widespread severe-weather outbreak, but don’t be surprised if the NWS issues a warning or two -- maybe even a few warnings -- through the latter half of the day.
As we head into late Saturday and early Sunday, a low-pressure center tracking west-to-east along and near the Red River Valley will cross Arkansas, dragging a cold front through the Bayou State.  That front clears the clouds and delivers a shot of cooler and much less-humid air to our region.  Look for lots of sunshine and highs only around 70° for Sunday afternoon.

The Canadian air mass behind Sunday’s cold front will really take charge as we head into the work week.  In fact, it gets almost cold next week: we’re posting morning lows in the upper 30°s for Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday across metro Baton Rouge with highs only in the 60°s.

At least our current 7-day outlook stays dry through the work week.
Speaking of dry, have you noticed how dry the weather has been over the past several weeks?  After the “wettest” winter on record for Baton Rouge, we’ve definitely hit a dry spell -- a welcomed dry spell at that!  Today is only the fourth day during March with measurable rainfall for most WAFB neighborhoods, and many of our regional rain-reporting sites are posting less than 2” of rain for the month thus far.

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