Monday, September 30, 2013

More Rain Likely This Week

Most made it through the weekend without any rain although we’ve seen scattered to numerous showers and a few t-storms rolling through the viewing area today. While there have been pockets of off-and-on light showers for much of the day, the more significant rains came in two waves: one early in the day and a another with some embedded t-storms in the late afternoon.
We’ll keep numerous showers and occasional t-storms in the forecast for Tuesday (rain chance at 60%), do it again for Wednesday, and then keep the local weather “unsettled” into the weekend. What do we mean by “unsettled?” Plan on scattered rains -- especially during the afternoons – for Thursday and Friday, with rain likely again on Saturday.
A stalled front to our northwest and west will just sit there, eventually fizzling out on Tuesday. While that front won’t move through our area, it has enhanced the flow off the Gulf which means plenty of low-level moisture for the Bayou State. At the same time, it is close enough to add to the daytime instability, especially when we add in the effects of modest afternoon heating. Another ingredient that will be a player on Tuesday and Wednesday will be the occasional west-to-east passage of mid-level disturbances -- these are “weaknesses” in the mid-levels that appear as large pockets of rains moving through the region, much like what moved through the lower Mississippi Valley earlier this morning and then again in the afternoon.
Like today, Tuesday’s and Wednesday’s rains and clouds will keep afternoon highs in the mid 80°s for many of us. However, as rain chances decline later in the week, we can expect highs to return to the upper 80°s by Thursday and Friday. Since the front to our west will fizzle out where it currently stands, we’ll get no “dry out” in terms of reduced low-level humidity and a drop in dew points, so lows will stay in the upper 60°s to low 70°s for most WAFB communities right into the weekend. (Remember, the minimum temperature cannot be lower than the dew point temperature.)
Guidance is currently showing our next cool front moving into the viewing area this upcoming weekend. We’ll watch for adjustments in the forecasted timing of that weekend front over the coming days. For now, we’ll call for the weekend front to get through our viewing area late Saturday or very early Sunday, allowing for a decent Sunday with cooler air and noticeably lower humidity.
In the tropics, a broad, poorly-defined area of low pressure sits over the west-central Caribbean -- labeled as “Invest 97L.” As of this afternoon, the National Hurricane Center (NHC) gives this disturbance only a 30% chance of becoming a tropical cyclone over the next five days as it moves towards the northwest. Although uncertainty abounds, the long-range outlook suggests a better environment for the low-pressure area as it enters the southern or southwestern Gulf -- this could encourage some development. We’ll keep an eye on it over the coming days but, frankly, given its current poor shape, there’s really no reason to become too concerned, at least for the time being. Let’s wait and see what we have into the weekend.
The NHC is also tracking Tropical Storm Jerry, located in the central Atlantic. The NHC “upgraded” Tropical Depression #11 earlier today to T.S. Jerry, the 10th named storm of the Atlantic Hurricane Season. The current NHC forecast for Jerry keeps the storm over the open Atlantic and eventually track off to the northeast, offering no threats of landfall.


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