Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Better Rain Chances on Wednesday

By Jay Grymes & Steve Caparotta

The weather has remained active to our north and west, but as of 4PM we’ve seen nothing to compare with the severe outbreaks of the previous days.  So far, no confirmed tornadoes although there have been one or more reports of funnels spotted in East Texas.  Based on the daily reports from the NWS Storm Prediction Center (SPC), there is one cluster of wind reports in north-central Texas and a second zone of wind-damage reports extending from central Tennessee into southern and central Kentucky.

What has our attention this afternoon is the SPC’s area of “Moderate Threat” for severe weather that extends from southwest of Dallas to the east, capturing a large portion of northern Louisiana.  A “Slight Risk” extends southward into Alexandria -- with the threats in effect through the evening and overnight.  The main threats appear to be damaging winds and large hail, but we certainly cannot rule out tornadoes, as evidenced by the series of Tornado Watches in effect for portions of Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas, Mississippi and Tennessee.

By the way, the Moore, OK tornado was “upgraded” to an EF-5, the highest on the ‘Fujita Scale’ -- and the first EF-5 in the nation since 2011.  A quick look at the historical data back through 1950 shows that this storm is only the 8th F-5/EF-5 for that state ... and the 58th for the U.S. as a whole.  Louisiana has suffered only one F-5/EF-5 since 1950: a monster that began over Madison Parish in the northeastern portion of the state on the afternoon for February 21, 1971 and tracked into western Mississippi.  

As for our local weather, the heat is on!  Today’s highs were in and around 90° for much of the viewing area, and we expect more upper 80°s to near 90° readings for the coming days.  We’ve got the Gulf humidity in place, and a cool front that is serving as the storm trigger for the action to our north and northwest.

We’re going with 50-50 rain chances for Wednesday, and our in-house model is even suggesting that we could see a few showers and t-storms overnight tonight.  We don’t anticipate anything severe, but you’ll want to have the umbrella ready when you head out the door tomorrow morning.

Scattered showers and t-storms will remain possible through the day on Wednesday as a cool front to our north slowly sags southward in this direction. We’ll set rain chances around 50% and while we can’t rule out a strong storm or two, we don’t expect any widespread severe weather.

The chance for a few showers and t-storms will persist into Thursday as the cool front ever so slowly moves into the area. However, we still think there will be enough sunshine for highs to approach 90° in many locations.

Some good news for the Memorial Day weekend is that it looks like the cool front will sag to our south on Friday. While it may only shave a couple of degrees off of our afternoon highs, it will knock morning lows down into the low-mid 60°s and should also produce a noticeable reduction in humidity. The bottom line is that we’ll still be warm through the weekend, but with lower humidity, it should be much more tolerable outdoors.

We keep the forecast dry through the holiday weekend and through Memorial Day itself. In fact, it looks like mainly dry weather may continue through much of next week.  

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