Thursday, May 16, 2013

Heat, Humidity Continuing to Increase

By Jay Grymes & Steve Caparotta

Titan9 Doppler picked up a couple of showers during the morning drive today, and the afternoon has been another day with the viewing area in-and-out of the clouds. Titan9 also hinted at a few passing showers north and northeast of the Baton Rouge metro area during the early to mid afternoon, but as of 4PM all is quiet in our region.

That’s not true to our northwest, where several parishes and a few Texas counties have been dealing with a ferocious looking thunderstorm cluster that has prompted a series of Tornado Warnings over the last couple of hours.

As we thought, Thursday turned out to be pretty dry. We’ll continue with passing clouds through the evening and overnight, but the low-level air just keeps getting “juicier” -- we expect dew point temperatures to stay in the upper 60°s overnight, which means that’s where the air temps will bottom out for our Friday morning low. Don’t be surprised to see a patch of two of fog in the morning, but not enough to be an issue for the morning commute.

We expect a sun/cloud mix for Friday afternoon, with a token 10% rain chance. But when we consider the elevated dew points accompanied by afternoon temps in the mid to upper 80°s, we’ll get a serious taste of summer.

That will be the cast through the weekend too. In fact, a few neighborhoods could hit the 90° mark over the weekend. But for now, we’re keeping rain out of the forecast for both Saturday and Sunday.
In the extended, we’ll be watching a cool front sagging to the south and southeast around mid-week. Yesterday our guidance hinted at the front moving through the viewing area on Wednesday afternoon or evening, but the latest projections from the NWS Weather Prediction Center now suggest that the front may stall to our north -- a common scenario for frontal systems as we head into summer.

On a different note, we’re still watching the Mississippi River. At 35.1 feet this morning, that puts the river at Baton Rouge just above flood stage (35.0 feet). The latest forecast calls for it to crest at 35.5feet this coming Monday -- less than one foot above “official” flood stage but still nine to ten feet below the levee tops and more than eight feet below the high water crest in the spring of 2011.

We did a little looking to see how unusual -- or just how common? -- a spring crest above flood stage is. Well, it is not unusual at all. Over the past 20 “extended” springs (Feb 1 and June 30), the Mississippi River at Baton Rouge has risen above flood stage at Baton Rouge during 13 of those springs, climbing to 40.0 feet or more during four of those events.

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