Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Staying Hot, Mainly Dry on Wednesday

By Jay Grymes & Steve Caparotta

Tuesday started out warmer-than-normal for the early morning and rather muggy as well. And, as we expected, it stayed dry and on the ‘hot’ side through the afternoon.

A look at the regional radar this afternoon showed a T-Storm Watch extending over central sections of Mississippi and Alabama -- along with a large convective complex (t-storm cluster) traveling from NW to SE through the Watch ‘box.’ Those storms were riding with the flow along the eastern flank of a building upper-air ridge -- the same ridge that will keep us hot-and-mainly-dry for the next couple of days, at least.

A cool front will be slowly sagging southward across the eastern third of the country through the middle and end of the work week. The latest guidance suggests that the front will reach the Arkansas/Louisiana border by early Thursday and might make it as far south as the WAFB viewing area by Friday. But the current thinking is that the front will stall rather than push through the viewing area and begin a northward retreat late Friday or early Saturday. The result: the front will provide little relief from the heat and Gulf humidity as we head into the weekend.

So let’s plan on mostly-dry days right through Saturday. 

We’ll call for Wednesday to be essentially a repeat of today, with spotty showers, at best, in the afternoon. For Thursday, we’ll go with rain chances at 20% or less and only a 20% chance for afternoon showers on both Friday and Saturday. Morning lows into the weekend will be in the low to mid 70°s for metro Baton Rouge with afternoon highs in the low to mid 90°s.

We could get some minor relief from the heat on Sunday, with rain chances currently expected in the 30% to 40% range. After that, it looks like we’ll return to isolated afternoon showers for the early part of the next work week.

The far-eastern Atlantic tropical wave that we pointed out yesterday -- 98L, also known as AL98 -- is looking even better on satellite today, prompting the National Hurricane Center (NHC) to “up” their potential to 60% for AL98 to become a tropical cyclone (tropical depression or tropical storm) within the next 48 hours. Most of the models support development over the next couple of days -- at the same time, they also keep the system moving generally to the west.

But let’s not spend too much time on AL98 right now: even if it does develop, it’s five or more days east of the Lesser Antilles!

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