Thursday, June 20, 2013

A Little Drier Friday & Saturday

By Jay Grymes & Steve Caparotta

Some morning rains and clouds through much of the day slowed the normal mid-day warm-up, but it looks like many WAFB neighborhoods still made the 90°s for their afternoon highs.  It’s been an interesting afternoon with no severe t-storms, but Titan9 Doppler has been showing some very strong and lightning-charged thunderstorm pockets through the afternoon. 
We expect the rains to ease off and be essentially all-but-gone by or before sunset, with mostly fair skies on the way through the overnight.  Wake-up temps for the Red Stick on Friday morning will be in the low 70°s with Friday highs reaching the low 90°s for most of us.
A weak, quasi-stationary front continues to linger from east-to-west across the central Gulf Coast states and we expect that front to still be meandering over the region into Friday. 

So why not the more widespread rains like we saw on Wednesday?  Mainly because we’ve not had the broad mid/upper-level disturbances passing overhead to help fuel storm development like we had on Wednesday.  The front alone is simply not providing enough lift to get as more widespread rain event underway.
By the way ... summer “officially” begins just four minutes past midnight tonight (12:04 AM CDT, June 21).  The Northern Hemisphere’s summer solstice occurs when Earth's axis is the most tilted toward the Sun -- with the North Pole “leaning” towards the Sun.  Because of this orientation, the length of time with sunlight is also at its maximum for all locations north of the equator, with Baton Rouge receiving more than 14 hours of “direct” sunlight (assuming clear skies).  Starting on Saturday, the daylight period will begin to shorten, although the rate of change is less than one minute per day.

Heading into the weekend, we’re posting fairly typical numbers for late June: morning lows in the low 70°s, afternoon highs in the low 90°s and rain chances running around 30% for Saturday and 30% to 40% for Sunday.  And the summer season weather monotony looks like it will extend into next week with more of the same: low 70°s, low 90°s and isolated to scattered mainly-afternoon t-showers just about every day.

As of 4PM, the National Hurricane Center has downgraded Barry to tropical depression (TD) status.  Barry made landfall along the Mexico Coast earlier today -- around 8AM -- with maximum sustained winds of 45 mph.  Having now been over land for roughly 8 hours (as of 4PM), the loss of warm-water energy and interaction with the higher elevations to the storm’s west are taking a toll on the system and Barry will likely degrade below TD status later this evening or tonight.  But Barry is still proving to be a formidable rainmaker for some sections of coastal Mexico.

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