There is certainly no question that we started the week off on the ‘cold side’ even for mid-December. Temperatures dropped to freezing or below this morning for most of the viewing area, with 20°s reported for some WAFB communities near and along the LA/MS state line.
Thankfully, clear skies and sunshine warmed most of us into the upper 50°s to low 60°s by the afternoon. And while we’ve got another cold night ahead, only a handful of our Mississippi viewers can expect another light, brief freeze for Tuesday morning. Early morning lows for the Baton Rouge metro area should only fall into the mid to upper 30°s for Tuesday’s sun-up.
A steady warm-up will continue through the work week, with Baton Rouge highs returning to the 70°s by Thursday and continuing in the 70°s through the weekend. Surface high pressure will remain centered over southern Louisiana through early Wednesday while a weak upper-level ridge takes position overhead -- a combination that not only warms things up but also keeps skies mainly-clear into early Thursday. The surface high will then slide east on Thursday, allowing low and mid-level moisture to return.
An upper-level trough developing along the Pacific Coast on Thursday will drift into the Desert Southwest by Friday, putting us under a steady upper-level flow from the southwest. As we’ve noted over the years, this set-up generally leads to unsettled weather for the central Gulf Coast -- as a result, expect scattered rains to develop in the viewing area by Friday afternoon.
Sadly, we think you’ll need the umbrella off-and-on throughout the coming weekend -- the last weekend blitz for holiday shopping -- as the upper-level trough swings through the Southern Plains and into the lower Mississippi Valley from Sunday into Monday. For now, we have a surface front slowly tracking through the Plains on Friday into Saturday, then moving through the Bayou State on Sunday into early Monday.
With a little luck, we could see skies clearing by Monday afternoon accompanied by a dose of cooler weather. But the really good news for many is that while Christmas certainly won’t be “white” in Louisiana, it doesn’t look like it will be cold and wet either!