Monday, April 8, 2013

Windy & Warm on Tuesday!

By Jay Grymes & Steve Caparotta

While it has been a dry day for the WAFB viewing area, we have been tracking showers -- and an embedded t-storm or two -- moving from southwest-to-northeast through Central Louisiana.  There is also some action offshore to the south of Cameron and Vermillion parishes, and these may need to be watched into the evening for our friends in Acadiana.  Yet, even though it’s been a fairly nice day across WAFB country, you’ve probably noticed the breezes through much of the afternoon.  Our forecast calls for it to get even windier for Tuesday, with winds lingering into Wednesday as well.

We opened Monday with some patches of fog around our area, enough along the Mississippi River to shutdown the Carville ferry for a while this morning.  Fog is expected to return for Tuesday and Wednesday mornings, but we think that the winds will be sufficient to keep fog from becoming a widespread problem for either morning commute.  But if you travel through those “usual suspect” spots for morning fog, be on the look-out both days.

As for Tuesday, we can’t rule out a spotty shower during the day, but we think that it will be a “mainly-dry” and windy afternoon.  Highs will get into the low 80°s even under a mostly-cloudy sky and you’ll likely “feel” an increase in low-level humidity during the day as Gulf moisture gets pumped into the Gulf Coast region.

Our forecast for Wednesday and Thursday makes rain a near-certainty, but there are still some issues regarding the timing of the rains.  A storm system currently rolling through the Central Rockies will get better organized once it clears the mountains and sets-up over the Plains.  At the same time, we’ll see winds pick up thanks to a steep pressure gradient, with the Plains low-pressure system to our northwest and a large ridge of high pressure to our northeast, just off the U.S. Atlantic Coast.  That pressure gradient will set-up steady and sometimes strong southerly winds over the next two days.

A frontal system associated with the Plains low will track eastward, bringing us rain and a threat for severe weather on Wednesday and into Thursday.

While the computer guidance models are not in total agreement today, the consensus opinion is that an advancing cold front reaches the ArkLaTex area by Wednesday morning and will be draped over the WAFB viewing area by Thursday’s sunrise.  The NWS Storm Prediction Center has the WAFB area under a “Slight Risk” of severe weather -- mainly strong winds -- for the period extending from the latter half of Wednesday into Thursday morning as the front approaches and passes by. 

The weather should start improving during the latter half of Thursday, with great spring days on tap for Friday and Saturday.

Unfortunately, there is some question as to whether Sunday will follow suit: at least one model hints at a disturbance moving along or near the Gulf Coast on Sunday into Monday.  We’ll watch the extended range forecasts over the coming days to see if the forecast models continue with this scenario.

In the meantime, it’ll be umbrellas for Wednesday into Thursday ... and sunscreen for Friday and Saturday!

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