Friday, November 8, 2013

Cool, Dry Weekend Ahead!

By Jay Grymes & Steve Caparotta

It certainly was a chilly start to the day, although not as cool as we had anticipated. Morning lows bottomed out in the low to mid 40°s for most WAFB neighborhoods along and north of the I-10/12 corridor -- looks like the winds were just active enough through the night to keep the low-level air well mixed, which slows the rate of cooling that can occur even under mainly-clear skies.

As expected, Friday afternoon was a nice one: highs in the mid to upper 60°s under mainly-clear skies with dew points down in the 30°s -- “dry” air even by November standards. But the breezes stayed with us through the afternoon, making it feel a little cooler in shady spots.

The weekend looks like a good one: dry for both Saturday and Sunday with a warming-trend that continues into Veterans Day (Monday). And by the way, thanks Veterans!

Saturday’s wake-up will still be on the chilly side, with sun-up temps in the low to mid 40°s for the ‘Red Stick.’ However, the Polar jet stream pathway and associated U.S. storm systems will remain far to our north through the weekend, keeping winter-like temps bottled up and allowing afternoon temps to return to the 70°s along the Gulf Coast over the coming days.

The only thing that may keep the weekend from scoring a ‘10’ on the “Great Weather” scale will be some high-level clouds that will stream in from the west. The Sub-tropical jet stream (sometimes called the Southern branch of the jet stream) will remain active, transporting high-level Pacific moisture over Mexico and Texas and across the Gulf Coast region. We’ll get no rain, just a thin veil of clouds that will filter the sunshine.

Monday looks good too. As we head into the upcoming mid-week, our guidance shows the next cold front marching from north-to-south, passing through the WAFB viewing area on Tuesday. Everything points to a rain-free frontal passage: the atmosphere will be too dry for this front to generate anything more than some clouds. What you will notice, however, is another round of chilly air arriving after the front moves through. Our mid-week frontal passage will be followed by another Canadian air mass -- this one likely to be a little cooler than what we’ve experienced the past couple of days. (Yep, it’s that time of year, when air masses from the north are likely to get progressively cooler.)

What about well down the road? While we ALWAYS take long-range outlooks with a grain of salt (or two), the latest 10-day projections from the GFS (American) and ECMWF (European) forecast models keep us essentially rain-free until we approach the end of next week. The GFS has rain moving into the lower Mississippi Valley from Sunday into Monday (Nov 17-18), while the ‘Euro’ is faster, getting the rains into our region as early as mid/late Friday, and keeping the ‘need for umbrellas’ right through the entire weekend.

In the tropics ... all remains quiet across the Atlantic basin. On the other side of the world, however, super-typhoon Haiyan is still making news. After slamming the island nation of the Philippines -- and likely setting a new all-time global record for peak winds at landfall -- Haiyan is moving away from the Philippines and out over the South China Sea and is expected to crash into Vietnam on Sunday.

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