Monday, November 18, 2013

Drying Out, Cooler for Tuesday

By Jay Grymes & Steve Caparotta

You’ve likely seen some of the array or reports regarding Sunday’s severe weather outbreak in the Midwest. While spring is the peak season for tornadoes nationally -- and that’s true for Louisiana as well -- fall activity is far from rare. Admittedly, the outbreak yesterday was unusual: with well over 500 Preliminary Storm Reports including more than 70 tornadoes, yesterday would rank high among memorable spring outbreaks for the U.S., much less past fall events. Yesterday’s outbreak serves as a reminder that severe weather and tornadic outbreaks are not just a spring concern.

From a Louisiana perspective, nearly 40% of all Louisiana tornadoes occur during the three spring months of March, April and May. However, the state has a secondary peak in November, a month that accounts for nearly 1-in-6 of Louisiana’s past twisters. 

As for our local weather, we started the day off wet, waiting for the day’s cool front to move through the area and head out into the Gulf. By the afternoon, the front was draped along the coast with skies slowly clearing for the northern half of the viewing area. However, radar was still showing some decent rains over portions of the southeastern coastal parishes during the mid-afternoon.

While most of us only saw limited rains through the overnight and first half of the day, Titan9 Doppler radar is indicating some 2” to 4” rain totals over parts of Terrebonne and Lafourche parishes, with a pocket estimated at 5” to 6” in southeastern Terrebonne Parish in the vicinity of Chauvin.

The rains will continue to taper-off along the coast this evening. Most of the viewing area can expect fair to partly cloudy skies through the night and into Tuesday morning. It will be noticeably cooler for Tuesday morning too, with sunrise temperatures for the ‘Red Stick’ running in the mid to upper 40°s. Plan on fair to partly cloudy skies through the day on Tuesday, but highs will top-out in the 60°s for many WAFB neighborhoods, quite a change from this afternoon.

After an even cooler start for Wednesday morning, temps will rebound for Wednesday afternoon as highs return to the 70°s. We’ll also add a very slight chance (10%) for a passing shower on Wednesday afternoon as Gulf ‘return flow’ moistens things up a bit.

After that, the weather turns “wetter” with rain likely on Thursday. And the weather remains unsettled for Friday, especially during the latter half of the day as out next cold front approaches from the northwest. At this point, it looks like the expected colds front will still be draped over south Louisiana on Saturday morning, prompting us to go with “rain likely” through the first half of Saturday.

The rains should be ending from west-to-east during the day on Saturday. While that is a good sign for the Tiger Faithful, it is still too early to say “no rain in Death Valley” for the 2:30pm kick-off against Texas A&M. We’ll keep a close watch on that for you through the coming days. Sunday looks good with lots of sunshine, but it will be quite a bit cooler!

And in case you hadn’t heard, there’s something brewing in the tropics -- Sub-Tropical Storm Melissa is spinning in the central Atlantic. While Melissa offers no serious threats to land, ‘she’ does serve as a reminder that we are still officially in Hurricane Season for the Atlantic basin.

The designation “sub-tropical” means that Melissa has some non-tropical characteristics. Sub-tropical storms tend to be a little broader across the centers -- not as tightly wound -- as tropical storms. They also display cooler temperatures in their cores compared to their tropical cousins. In effect, sub-tropical systems are something of a hybrid between fully-tropical and non-tropical systems. But these systems can transition into fully-tropical storms and that is what the National Hurricane Center (NHC) is anticipating for Melissa. In fact, the NHC has suggested that Melissa could gain hurricane strength briefly before ‘she’ gets too far north.

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