Thursday, December 26, 2013

Dry for Friday ... Not So on Saturday!

As expected, most neighborhoods along and north of the I-10/12 corridor had a brief, light freeze this morning. That’s the third morning in a row with a freeze at Baton Rouge’s Metro Airport (BTR) and the sixth wake-up freeze for BTR this month.
Although cool, there really wasn’t much to complain about with this afternoon’s weather -- some high thin clouds allowing in the sunshine with highs upper 50°s to around 60° for most WAFB communities.
We’re expecting another dry day with a sun/cloud mix for Friday after a cold wake-up in the mid to upper 30°s for the Capital City region. In fact, the forecast keeps morning minimums in the 30°s to around 40° through the weekend -- all a bit below the norm, even for this time of year. Some of our viewers along near and north of the LA/MS state line may flirt with another light freeze on Friday morning but we don’t expect any more freezes for the BR metro area through Sunday. Still, “cool” will be the key to our weather, not only for the remainder of Christmas week but for the rest of the year.
Computer models continue to show a disturbance developing in the western Gulf and tracking to the northeast by Saturday and delivering scattered to numerous showers to our viewing area. For the time being, it looks like the rain is most likely during the latter half of the day -- we’ll call for a 60% rain chance for the BR metro area, with higher rain chances closer to the coast. Highs on Saturday with the clouds and rain will top out in the low to mid 50°s for most. Those rains linger into the overnight with some showers continuing into the pre-dawn hours of Sunday, but skies clear early and sunshine returns on Sunday, with afternoon highs up around 60° or so for most WAFB communities.
The next cold front arrives on Monday. The air will still be rather dry over the central Gulf Coast when the front gets here, so we’ll go with just isolated showers as that front slides through -- Monday rain chances at 20% or less. Behind the Monday front, another dose of cold and dry Canadian air will mean one last freeze for 2013 for most viewers. However, the winter air mass keeps everyone dry through mid-week at least, which means a cold but rain-free New Year’s Eve festivities.
Yes, our 7-day forecast calls for cooler-than-normal weather to close out the year. A New Year’s Eve anticipated light freeze would make seven wake-up freezes this month for the Red Stick. The ‘normal’ (30-year average) number of December freezes is roughly 5 days at Metro Airport, so we’ll be a bit above the norm but nothing way out of the ordinary.
For the trivia buffs, the most freeze days in any December (since at least 1930)? 15 days in 1989 (which includes that monster Arctic Outbreak right at Christmas time). And just a few Decembers ago, in 2010, BTR had the second most December freezes at 13 days.
For the season, a December 31st morning freeze would make 12 freezes thus far, above the ‘normal’ of 6 (for the period of October-thru-December), but still well behind the 1989 record of 17 days.
So yes, it’s been a cool pair of months and it will stay cool through year’s end ... but maybe not as chilly a winter so far as you might think. BTR’s two-month (Nov+Dec)‘normal’ mean temperature is 56.9°F and right now the 2013 Nov+Dec average for BTR is 55.2°. Our cooler-than-normal forecast for the rest of the month could knock the 2013 average down about another degree, so it looks like we’ll be about 2° or so below normal for the last two months of the year.
Our cold snaps in the past six weeks have had many using the home heating a bit more than you would like ... yet at the same time, December’s five days at 80° or above at BTR have had you cranking up the A/C in-between the chills. That’s the most 80° December days since 2007 and the fourth highest number on the record books (back to 1930). Once again, we see Louisiana’s winter season temperature roller-coaster at work!

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