Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Chilly Start for Wednesday

By Jay Grymes & Steve Caparotta

Passing bands of mid- and high-level clouds throughout the day had much of the viewing area in-and-out of the sunshine and slowed the mid-day warm-up, keeping just about all of ‘WAFB-land’ in the 60°s for afternoon highs.  Along the coast, however, not only were the clouds more persistent but Titan9 Doppler also was showing some west-to-east-moving pockets of light rain through much of the day.
Some clouds will linger into the evening nearer to the coast, but for most of us it looks like the last of the significant cloud bands will exit the region by the late afternoon.  That should leave most WAFB neighborhoods under mainly-clear skies this evening and overnight.
Clear skies, light winds and low humidity are the key ingredients for a chilly November morning, and that is exactly what we’ll get for Wednesday’s wake-up.  We’re calling for Wednesday morning lows around metro Baton Rouge to dip to around 40°, with 30°s likely for communities to the north and east of the Capital City.
Berry farmers: we don’t think a ground frost is likely for tomorrow morning, but it could get close if the winds go ‘calm.’
Plan on fair skies for Wednesday afternoon with highs in the low 70°s for the Red Stick.

Dew points (low-level moisture) will be rising throughout the day, climbing into the 50°s by late Wednesday and early Thursday.  Remember, the air temperature can’t be lower than the dew point: this points to a much warmer start for Thursday morning.
Thursday afternoon’s forecast is a little fuzzy.  We’re posting scattered rains -- in the 30% to 40% range -- for the afternoon and early evening.  This is one of those cases where the rains aren’t frontal but rather are produced by mid/upper-level disturbances drifting from west-to-east.  Regardless of the driver, Thursday will not be a big rain event and we expect only very limited thunderstorm action that day.
Into Friday, however, we’re looking at an approaching cold front, “warm” afternoon temps in the upper 70°s and adequate moisture in the air -- all ingredients pointing to pre-frontal showers and t-storms for Friday afternoon and evening.  For now, we’ll go with 50-50 rain chances for the latter half of the day and into the evening.  High School football, take note.
The cold front arrives Saturday.
The front’s timing is still a bit up-in-the-air right now and just a handful of hours either way could mean a big difference for your Saturday plans.  A quicker-moving front could provide a welcomed dry-out for the afternoon, while a slower system spells rain for the better part of the day.  For now, at least, it’s almost a “pick ‘em” for rain at kick-off for LSU-Texas A&M (2:30pm), but rain is likely during the morning tailgating.
Skies clear and the air turns notably cooler for Sunday, with rain returning to the forecast towards mid-week.

In the tropics, Sub-Tropical Storm Melissa is still holding her own, maintaining peak sustained winds today around 65 mph (satellite estimates).  While Melissa offers no threat to land, she remains an interesting system to watch given her sub-tropical status.  The National Hurricane Center (NHC) still gives Melissa better-than-even chances of transitioning to a fully-tropical system, with an outside chance of gaining hurricane strength before succumbing to increased shear and cooler waters in her path.

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