Our WAFB Storm Team forecast has become progressively “wetter” over the past 24 hours thanks to an upper-level low just to our west and an almost summer-like air mass in place over the Gulf Coast region.
On Monday evening, we showed you the developing upper low as it spun over Texas and produced widespread showers and t-storms along the Texas Gulf Coast. That feature has now moved east and is located near the TX/LA state line and is serving as the prime trigger for this afternoon’s rains. If you’ve seen the afternoon radar presentation, as of 3:30PM we had a rainband-like feature stretching from the northern Gulf into southeast Louisiana and right through the BR metro area. The elongated rainband, which included numerous t-storms with a few on the strong side, was rotating counterclockwise around the upper low to the west..
Unfortunately, the upper low is not expected to move much over the next day or so, lingering over the region into Thursday -- that means more rain ahead. Add to that our continued forecast for our next cool front to slide into the WAFB viewing area during the latter half of the day on Thursday, which will serve as an additional focus and lifting mechanism for the moist, Gulf air mass.
It looks like Thursday’s front may be a little slower in clearing the region than we had thought on Monday, so we’ll increase rain chances for Friday, especially during the first half of the day. With a little luck, we’ll get the showers and most of the clouds out of the viewing area by Friday evening.
So is there any good news? Well, a little -- while we expect the rains to linger into Friday, we don’t anticipate a severe weather outbreak in this set-up. On the other hand, the not-so-good news is that we are likely to see some significant rains over the coming days. The latest NWS Weather Prediction Center (WPC) rain outlook calls for widespread 1” to 3”+ rain totals for the WAFB viewing area with locally higher totals. In fact, the National Weather Service has posted a Flash Flood Watch for parishes south of metro Baton Rouge and around metro New Orleans.
Don’t be shocked to see some multi-day reports of as much as 4” -- and even one or two 5” totals somewhere in southeast Louisiana -- between now and Friday afternoon. Given that rain potential, we may be watching the local rivers very closely by the end of the work week.
So stay dry and be sure to grab the umbrella on your way out the front door tomorrow morning!
By the way, tomorrow -- May 1st -- marks the official start of the “Louisiana Ozone Season.”