Thursday, January 30, 2014

The Thaw Continues!

By Jay Grymes & Steve Caparotta

We’re finally done with the “mega-freeze” and ice glaze, but not before we saw this morning’s temps drop to the lowest readings of the winter thus far.  Baton Rouge’s pre-dawn low of 17° wasn’t a record for this date but it sure got our attention!  It probably ranks among the 50 coldest mornings on the record books for Baton Rouge (going back into the 1890s) and is the lowest reading we’ve seen for the Capital City since the 15° low on February 5th of 1996 -- that’s nearly 20 years!

Metro Airport stayed at or below 20° for roughly 6 hours this morning, with temps at or below freezing for more than 15 hours. 
And for our friends in McComb?  How about a low this morning of 12° and an unbroken run of close to 60 hours at or below freezing over the past three days!  That 12° is the lowest reading for our southwest Mississippi neighbors since February 1996 too.
Now a serious warming trend kicks-in, with highs in the 60°s for Friday and temps climbing into the 70°s for just about all WAFB neighborhoods for Saturday.  Southeast winds in the coming days will deliver comfortable afternoons and cool winter nights.  We’re thinking lows for Friday morning in the upper 30°s for the Red Stick, with all WAFB communities staying above freezing.  Saturday starts in the 50°s for most of us, with some patchy fog possible around sunrise.
A frontal system moving through the western U.S. will make it into the Southern Plains by Saturday and advances into Louisiana on Sunday.  Plan for isolated afternoon and evening showers in Saturday’s forecast with rain likely on Sunday.
Based on current guidance, we expect the front to slow as it moves through the state, then stall and meander along the coast through Monday.  Then we get a warm-up on Tuesday as the boundary backs north as a warm front.  A second front then plunges into the lower Mississippi Valley late Tuesday or early Wednesday, sweeping the region clean and delivering a cooler and drier air mass by late Wednesday or early Thursday.
The air behind this mid-week front will produce a notable cool-down, but nothing nearly as cold as the Arctic air masses we’ve endured over the past week.
No, winter is not over just yet, but hopefully we’re done with temperatures in the ‘teens . . . at least for a while!

Monday, January 27, 2014

Winter Storm Warning

By Jay Grymes & Steve Caparotta

A Winter Storm Warning is now in effect for all of the WAFB viewing area from 6 AM Tuesday through 6 AM Wednesday. A Winter Storm Warning is issued when accumulations of ice and/or snow are expected.

The latest in a series of Arctic cold fronts moved through the area on Monday, with the brunt of the cold air lagging just a little bit behind the front. However, temperatures will drop steadily through the night and likely reach freezing a couple of hours before sunrise around metro Baton Rouge (and sooner farther north).

As the cold air spills south, an upper-air disturbance moving in from the west will help to lift moisture up and over the cold air at the surface -- a pattern we refer to as overrunning. This overrunning pattern will lead to widespread precipitation, with the big lingering questions being how much and in what form. Here's our best estimate of what can be expected for different parts of our viewing area as of Monday evening.

Expectations for Tuesday's weather around metro Baton Rouge.

Expectations for Tuesday's weather for areas north of Baton Rouge into SW Mississippi.

Expectations for Tuesday's weather for areas south of Baton Rouge.

There have been a couple of key changes in the model runs on Monday compared to what they were showing on Sunday. First, in general, the models are now forecasting lower amounts of precipitation than they were on Sunday. While that's certainly some good news, we still expect enough ice and snow to cause significant travel disruptions and road closures. Second, the models have been suggesting the precipitation may end a bit sooner than forecast on Sunday. If that occurred, it would mean a reduced window for potential snowfall and a greater chance of seeing most precipitation in the form of freezing rain and sleet. This part of the forecast is especially tricky, but we still think there's a pretty decent chance of some measurable snowfall around metro Baton Rouge and for areas farther north.

The models are in agreement that any precipitation should end late Tuesday night/early Wednesday morning, well before sunrise. The problem then becomes lingering temperatures below freezing that prevent a quick thawing of remaining ice. In fact, we're forecasting Wednesday morning lows near 20°, so we'll be facing the prospect of lingering ice and a hard freeze. What's more, Wednesday afternoon temperatures may only climb above freezing for a few hours, again limiting the potential for significant melting of ice. That could spell another morning of ice on bridges and overpasses as temperatures return to the 20°s on Thursday.

The good news is that a significant warm-up arrives after Thursday morning and any remaining ice would likely melt during the day. And can you believe highs are expected to reach the 70°s by Saturday? We'll be going from a deep freeze to possibly short sleeves by the weekend!

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Prospects for More Wintry Precip Tues. & Wed.

Temperatures are about 10-15 degrees warmer this morning than yesterday morning.  

This warming trend will continue through the day today.  Highs will climb into the mid 60°s this afternoon under mostly cloudy skies.  At times today it may look like it will rain, but rain activity will hold off until overnight Sunday into Monday.  

Sct’d off and on rain showers will then be possible through Monday as our next cold front arrives.  Temperatures will start off in the low 50°s at daybreak. We may warm a few degrees during the late morning hours until the front passes around lunch.   Then temperatures will quickly fall.  We are pinpointing around 9 PM that rain showers may start to transition to freezing rain.

Wintry precipitation is once again in the forecast for Tuesday and early Wednesday morning.  Temperatures will be definitely cold enough to support wintry precipitation as we struggle to even reach 32° Tuesday afternoon and start off Wednesday bitterly cold with morning lows in the low 20°s.  Weather model guidance is indicating we could see a brief lull in precipitation early Tuesday, but the second half of Tuesday will see some if not all forms of frozen precipitation including freezing rain, sleet, and snow.  That means road hazards will be particularly worse during the evening commute rather than the morning commute.   

Titan 9 PrecisionCast indicating wintry precipitation across Southern half of viewing area early Tuesday.

Coverage will be fairly scattered so not everyone will see the wintry mix.  The best likelihood for wintry mix will actually be in and around metro Baton Rouge and areas south towards the Gulf Coast.  Accumulations will start to build up late Tuesday maxing out at around half an inch to maybe an inch.  With the higher coverage expected south of Baton Rouge, accumulation totals may be highest the farther south you go from Baton Rouge towards our coastal parishes.  A larger issue with accumulations may be ice build up or even snow build up on already weakened branches.  These branches could fall and knock out power to some across the area Tuesday and Wednesday.  Another thing to keep in mind is that even if you are lucky enough not to see any wintry precip, a hard freeze will occur Wednesday morning and the duration of freezing temperatures could exceed 36 hours from late Monday into Wednesday morning.

North American Model showing frozen precip still around early Wednesday morning.

At this time Wednesday morning's continuation of wintry precipitation should be confined for Southern sections of our viewing area as moisture begins to exit the region from NW to SE.  An additional quarter to half of an inch of accumulation may be possible.  By daybreak things should begin to dry out for most if not all of the WAFB viewing area.  The problem is that temperatures might not get back above freezing until the very late morning hours.  That means road conditions will still not be ideal as frozen precipitation will stay along elevated roadways and bridges possibly into the afternoon.

The overall pattern though looks to change later in the week.  Finally the cold winter grip the upper level trough has had on us this winter may relax beginning Thursday.  This will lead to a quick warm up as we head into next weekend. Future storm systems over the coming weeks should be more mild, but that may ramp up the risk for severe weather.  Highs will be back near 70° Saturday with lows closer to 50°.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Returning Sunshine, Warmer on Saturday!

By Jay Grymes & Steve Caparotta

Tonight & Tomorrow Morning: 

Although the rain and winter-mix will end tonight, everyone stays below freezing through the night and into Saturday morning.  With all the traffic problems today, we’d recommend limiting your driving this evening.  In fact, be careful if you head out early on Saturday as roads could still be dangerous until the warm-up kicks in.

Saturday Afternoon & Sunday:  

Sunshine will take metro Baton Rouge into the mid to upper 50°s for Saturday afternoon, and while we still drop into the 30°s for Sunday morning, most of us will stay above freezing.  Sunday’s highs reach the 60°s for most WAFB communities.

Forecast Discussion

Well, there can be little question about whether or not the area school closing were justified.  Just look at the traffic snarls - - and the array of accidents - - that served as the area “lowlights” through the day!
In fact, most WAFB communities got a bit more of the frozen stuff than they bargained for, with the wintry mix continuing far later into the day than anyone expected.  In fact, sleet and rain -- even a little snow --  were still falling over a number of areas into the late afternoon as the “precip line” stalled while draped across the metro area.
Just about everyone in the WAFB viewing area dodged an official ‘hard freeze’ for Friday morning (defined by the local NWS as temps at 26° or below for several hours), but once temps fell below freezing during the overnight they stayed there.  The cold, cloudy and damp air maintained a real winter feel to the day with afternoon highs not getting above freezing for just about everyone.  After falling below 30° around 1:00AM, Baton Rouge’s Metro Airport never got out of the 20°s through the remainder of the day!
Winter weather woes extended over virtually the entire state, even spreading into the New Orleans area today.  And for most, conditions will show little improvement until tomorrow.
For WAFBland, the rain and sleet should come to an end later this evening with another very cold night on the way.  Metro Baton Rouge can expect temps to stay in the mid-upper 20°s tonight, with temps dipping into the mid 20°s up along the state line.
We can look forward to some marked improvements into the weekend after we get past a very cold Saturday start.  Saturday sunshine will feel great and help drive temps into the mid to upper 50°s for the afternoon, taking care of any lingering ice in the area.  Although it’s back into the 30°s for Sunday morning, just about everyone in our viewing area stays above freezing.  By Sunday afternoon, most WAFB neighborhoods will climb into the 60°s, even with clouds on the return through the day.
Sunday’s warm-up and returning clouds will be an early sign of our next approaching cold front, scheduled to arrive on Monday.  We’ll go with scattered showers for Monday as the front slides by, with 'overrunning’ rains (rains behind the front) extending into Tuesday.
And then, here we go again!
Yet another Arctic air mass heads our way behind Monday's cold front, with the extended forecast calling for lows to drop back into the low 20°s for metro Baton Rouge by mid-week.
Had enough “real winter” yet?  Stay warm tonight … and enjoy the weekend!

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Sleet, Snow Tonight?

We've talked about it all week and today the chances of a little wintry precipitation in parts of the WAFB viewing area have increased for tonight into early Friday. With that in mind, the National Weather Service has posted a Winter Weather Advisory for the areas below, including metro Baton Rouge. These are the areas where it's believed there could at least be some light accumulations of sleet and snow. And late word this afternoon...the National Weather Service tells us they will likely expand the advisory eastward a bit later today. We don't know yet exactly how far east it may extend.

Throughout the week, it was pretty clear temperatures would be supportive of some wintry precipitation. The big question was would there be any moisture available? And the big change in our computer models late last night and today has been to trend toward a bit more in the way of available moisture and therefore just a bit more wintry precipitation. To be clear, we don't expect everyone to see sleet and/or snow tonight and for most that do see anything accumulations should be light.

One reason for increased confidence of at least some wintry precipitation in the WAFB viewing area is greater agreement among the models. A few snapshots of model projections are below:

RPM model projection for accumulated snowfall through 6 AM Friday. Note that this model keeps most areas under 1 inch of accumulation.
European model projection for accumulated snowfall. The latest available run from Thursday morning was a little more ambitious with snowfall potential. (Image credit:
WRF model projection for accumulated snowfall through 6 AM Friday. (Image credit:
GFS model projection for accumulated snowfall through 6 AM Friday. (Image credit:

You'll note in the images above that the general consensus is that the greatest potential for wintry precipitation will be west of the Atchafalaya basin, but at least some potential extends into metro Baton Rouge.

In terms of timing, precipitation chances will increase near sunset today. Anything that falls near and shortly after sunset will likely come in the form of rain or a rain/sleet mix. However, model soundings (showing a vertical profile of temperatures in the atmosphere) indicate that a transition to mainly snow could occur as soon as a couple of hours after sunset. And anything that fell during the overnight would likely fall primarily in the form of snow except for areas closer to the coast.

The vast majority of any frozen precipitation would likely end by sunrise on Friday, although we can't completely rule out some lingering just a little longer than that. At this point, we're not anticipating major travel issues or roadway problems, but it will have to be watched closely. Low-traffic bridges and overpasses would be the greatest concern.

Another big concern will be the combination of very cold temperatures and wind on Friday morning. Freeze and Hard Freeze Warnings are in effect for just about all of our viewing area. Additionally, wind chills will likely be in the teens Friday morning and could flirt with single digits in northern parts of the viewing area.

We'll continue to keep you updated through the afternoon and tonight both online and on-air. Be sure to follow us on social media for more frequent updates:



Details on Possible Winter Weather

A cold front is currently working through the area, but the rush of arctic cold air is a little ways behind the front. Winds will be on the breezy side later tonight causing for some very cold wind chills (maybe feeling more like the mid teens°). Clouds will hang around today and we might see a few iso'd rain showers this afternoon. Later tonight some of this rain activity might switch over to wintry precipitation.

***A HARD FREEZE WARNING is in effect from 10 PM - 11 AM for northern portions of the WAFB viewing area.***

Very cold temperatures are expected overnight into early Friday.

Freeze durations could be 12-15 hours overnight Thursday into Friday. Friday morning will be very cold with mornings temperatures in the mid 20°s. Because temperatures will be 26° or lower for about 6 hours, a Hard Freeze Warning is in effect for northern portions of the WAFB viewing area. Areas south of Ascension and Iberville Parishes are under a Freeze Warning.

***A WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY is in effect from 6 PM - 6 AM for western portions of the WAFB viewing area.***

Wintry mix possible especially west of Baton Rouge
Keep this in mind, activity will not be widespread and will be contained mostly to areas West of Baton Rouge. Accumulation on roadways is not expected, but we may see some slick spots on bridges and overpasses. Any accumulation will be light, less than an inch mainly on grassy surfaces.

Here's a timeline of what to expect:
Afternoon - 10 PM: Iso'd Rain Showers
10PM - 12 AM: Iso'd Wintry Mix (Mainly Sleet and Ice; No accumulation)
12 AM - 6 AM: Sct'd Wintry Mix (Mainly snow flurries and sleet; very small accumulations
We still don't have "complete" agreement from our weather models as to exactly what to expect.  Our in-house weather model PrecisionCast illustrates a farther east reaching stretch of wintry precip.
Notice though that activity is still very iso'd to sct'd in nature.  Also PrecisionCast indicates a very brief time period for wintry precip here in metro Baton Rouge.  Overnight being the main possible timeframe for some combination of snow, sleet, and ice pellets.
The North American Model or NAM is indicating less of an Eastern stretch of wintry precip.
The NAM keeps all of it's winter precip west of metro Baton Rouge.  It too keeps a brief window of time for this activity to occur, but unlike PrecisionCast the NAM puts a chance for wintry precip into the mid morning hours of Friday.
Weather model winter precipitation accumulation totals have ranged from none at all to 0.2".  While 0.2" could be viewed as significant for us here in South Louisiana, the bottom line is that the brief overnight period for winter precip and the lack of significant accumulation should mean this won't be much of an issue for us to handle.  Again the main area to see iso'd to sct'd wintry mix will be metro Baton Rouge and areas west.  Surrounding areas will see most likely nothing more than a few flurries or sleet pellets with no accumulation.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Freeze Watches, Wintry Precipitation?

By Jay Grymes & Steve Caparotta

Today Recap / Short Term Outlook

For metro Baton Rouge, it’s one ‘freeze’ down ... and two to go for Baton Rouge.  And that’s just for this week!  Some of our northern viewers can expect three more freezes between now and Saturday morning as more cold air spills out of Canada all the way to the Gulf Coast.
This morning’s freeze lasted for about 8 hours at Metro Airport (BTR), about 9 hours in Hammond (HDC) and more than 10 hours at McComb (MCB) -- nothing extraordinary, just another in this winter’s above-average run of very cold mornings.
Today’s welcomed warm-up into the 50°s was courtesy of southerly winds off the Gulf.  The wind field was set-up by a core of surface high pressure shifting to the east while our next cold front approaches from the northwest.  It gets cold again tonight -- back into the 30°s -- with most WAFB neighborhoods will stay above freezing.  However, if your near or north of the state line, you should be ready for a light freeze for Thursday’s wake-up.

Another Shot of Cold Air Arrives Thursday

We’ve got the next front moving through the viewing area during the first half of Thursday, delivering yet another dose of Arctic air.   That means 20°s again for Friday morning -- in fact, it may be a degree or so colder on Friday morning than it was this morning!

Wintry Weather Late Thursday - Friday?

What about some “winter white stuff” in the wake of Thursday’s front?  Our latest look at some of the more reliable models suggests a slight chance of a light wintry mix or snow flurries in the forecast for late Thursday into early Friday morning.  There’s no doubt that the atmosphere will be cold enough from bottom to top: the limiting factor will be moisture.
Snow -- with accumulations -- appears likely in Texas, maybe even parts of western Louisiana.  But this far east?  The air is looking awfully dry.  Still, we won’t be totally surprised to hear about a flurry or two in the WAFB viewing area, with the best chance being for viewers on the west side of the Atchafalaya.  We’ll go with a 20% chance of seeing some flakes on the other side of the Atchafalaya Basin, with chances under 20% for communities east of the Mississippi.
Wintry precipitation forecasts are rarely clear-cut in our part of the world, so stay tuned and we'll take another look at things on Thursday for any potential changes.

Big Chill for Friday

Frankly, we think Friday’s bigger story will be the very cold start and the lack of warm-up in the afternoon. Freeze and Hard Freeze Watches have been posted for Thursday night into Friday morning as temperatures once again will likely plunge into the 20°s. And unlike today, when we had sunshine warm us into the 50°s after the wake-up bone-chiller, Friday’s skies will be dominated by clouds, blocking the sunshine and keeping temps down.  In fact, some WAFB neighborhoods will see highs only into the upper 30°s, with the rest of the viewing area struggling to get into the low 40°s on Friday afternoon.
With a cool Friday, it makes it easier for the lingering effects of Friday’s Arctic air mass to take us back below freezing once again for Saturday morning.  At least we’ll get some sun by Saturday afternoon, delivering highs in the 50°s.  By Sunday, we return to something a little closer to normal for this time of year.  Although Sunday morning will be cold with lows in the 30°s, most of us start the day above freezing.  And mostly sunny skies for Sunday afternoon will mean highs up around 60° or so for most of us.

Extended Outlook

Into the extended, we’re seeing signs of freezes returning next week as the eastern U.S. just can’t get out from under the persistent upper-level troughing that keeps driving polar and Arctic air masses deep into the nation’s Southland.
So keep the comforter nearby . . . and please remain in guard when using space heaters!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

More Cold Weather Ahead

By Jay Grymes & Steve Caparotta
** Hard Freeze Warning in effect for tonight into early Wednesday morning for the northern portion of the WAFB viewing area, Freeze Warning in effect for most of the remaining viewing area **

Short Term

Freezes are on tap for most of the viewing area tonight into early Wednesday with a ‘Hard Freeze’ likely for WAFB viewers north and east of Baton Rouge.  Temps return to the 50°s for Wednesday afternoon.  Thursday stays mainly dry with another frontal passage followed by another round of freezes and ‘hard freezes’ for Friday morning.
As expected, the clouds increased in the pre-dawn hours as last night’s cold front approached and passed.  However, the front was a little slower in arrival than expected, allowing overnight and early morning temps to remain in the upper 50°s to around 60° at Metro Airport (BTR) through 5AM.  However, once the front moved south of BTR, gusty northerly winds cleared the skies quickly and temps dropped briefly into the upper 40°s to low 50°s for much of the region before the morning sunshine provided a warm-up. 
Many watched temperatures rebound up to the upper 50°s to near 60° around lunchtime but the inflow of cold-and-dry continental air kept temps from climbing further in the afternoon.  Temperatures will display a fairly rapid free-fall this evening and overnight in response to the cold mass as it settles over the lower Mississippi Valley. 
Get ready for another very cold night -- Baton Rouge’s 19th freeze of the 2013-14 winter.
Okay, not as cold as what we experienced earlier in the month but just about everyone in the WAFB viewing area should prepare for another freeze, with a ‘hard freeze’ for many north of the I-10/12 interstate corridor.  We’re calling for a low of 27° at BTR, with lows falling into the low 20°s closer to and north of the LA/MS state line.
Thankfully, the winds swing around with flow off the Gulf early in the day on Wednesday with just about everyone climbing back into the 50°s by Wednesday afternoon.  So, while it will be very cold for Wednesday’s wake-up, freeze durations won’t be overly long.  We’re thinking a freeze on the order of about 6-10 hours across the greater metro area, increasing that to 12-14 hours or so for areas close to and north of the state line.
Protect the tender plants and bring in the pets, but only the most sensitive pipes will need attention -- you should be fine if you made it through the Arctic blast earlier in the month without problems.  And of course, please be careful with the space heaters.

Stays Cool Wednesday - Thursday

So one front moved through early this morning and we’ll get its main impact tomorrow morning.  Then we rebound on Wednesday afternoon as our next front approaches from the northwest.  Thursday morning will be cold, but not nearly as cold as Wednesday morning.  Viewers near and north of the state line could get a light freeze for Thursday morning but most of us will see morning lows on Thursday in the mid to upper 30°s, with Thursday’s highs returning again to the 50°s.
Our next in a recent series of cold fronts pushes through on Thursday, and like this morning’s front, it too will be a mostly-dry frontal passage.  And like this morning’s front, Thursday’s front ushers in another dose of very-cold-and-dry air from the north.
Plan on a near-repeat on Friday morning of the freeze we’ll see tomorrow (Wednesday) morning, with lows in the mid to upper 20°s for the Red Stick, and colder to the north and east of metro BR!  Once again, ‘hard freezes’ will cover a good portion of the WAFB viewing area.

Wintry Precipitation Friday?

So what about that chatter over the past couple of days regarding ‘wintry’ precipitation?  Snow?  Snow and sleet?  Or maybe the trifecta mix of snow, sleet and freezing rain?
The models are in general agreement about the onset of a disturbance with winter precip over Texas in the wake of Thursday’s cold front, but for now it looks like any snow or sleet will remain well to our west.  In fact, the chances for precipitation of any type on Friday remain rather low -- we’ll go with a 20% chance under mostly cloudy skies.
What you will notice on Friday is that it starts out very cold and doesn’t warm up much.  After a Friday morning low in the mid to upper 20°s for the Capital City, highs will struggle to get into the 40°s for the afternoon!  With the clouds and northerly-to-northeasterly winds, Friday looks like it will be a rather disagreeable weather day even if it doesn’t rain!

Extended Outlook

Following a cold Friday, many of us can expect another freeze for Saturday morning.  At least Saturday’s freeze won’t be another ‘hard freeze’ to start the weekend.
Yesterday we were thinking that there would be a modest rain chance over the upcoming weekend, but our latest look at the extended models keeps the area mainly-dry both days.  We’ll go with afternoon highs in the 50°s for Saturday under fair to partly cloudy skies.  Sunday will start off cold -- but not a freeze for metro BR -- and temps should climb into the 60°s for the afternoon under partly cloudy skies.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Breezy, Much Cooler Tuesday

By Jay Grymes & Steve Caparotta

Recap of Today

Many of us began the morning with a light freeze but sunshine helped make up for it, delivering a spring-like afternoon.  High clouds meant ‘filtered’ sunshine through parts of the afternoon, yet some WAFB neighborhoods warmed-up to around 70° or so -- a nice day for area M.L. King celebrations, remembrances and festivities.  Southerly to southwesterly winds will keep us mild through the night with our next cold front will quickly slide through the area before sunrise.

Breezy, Cooler Tuesday

Tuesday’s pre-dawn front will be yet another in a recent string of “mainly dry” fronts.  Yes, you may notice an increase in cloud cover overnight and you may even see a sprinkle here or there as the boundary moves by, but the bigger story will be the front’s impact on temperatures for Tuesday.  The morning start for the Capital City won’t be nearly as cold as Monday’s sunrise, with lows in the upper 40°s.  However, the steady northwesterly flow behind Tuesday morning’s front will mean little in the way of a daytime warm-up, even with sunny skies.  Tuesday afternoon highs will only reach the 50°s for WAFB viewers.

Chilly Through the Rest of the Week

Our persistent trend of “cooler-than-normal” January weather continues right through the rest of the week.  Although Metro (BTR) airport has recorded a few days this month with highs at 70° or more, only 4 days this month have “averaged” above-normal so far this month.  The average temperature for BTR through the first 20 days of January 2014 is 47°, 5° below the norm.  Of course, that’s far from any kind of record but it does reflect the regional chill that has dominated our weather since the New Year. 

Cold Winter So Far

This morning marked the 8th freeze for BTR this month and the 19th morning freeze this winter season.  By comparison, with 11 days to go this month, we are already above the long-term average of 6 freezes for the month of January.  In fact, the average number of freeze days for a Baton Rouge winter is 21 days -- we’ll pass by that number this week.
In fact, we’ve got some very cold nights ahead this week, including two or more freezes on the week's forecast board.  None will be anything as severe as the Arctic blast of January 6-8, but get prepared for metro BR lows in the 20°s for both Wednesday and Friday mornings!  Add to that, metro BR will get close to freezing on Thursday morning and could see yet another light freeze for Saturday’s wake-up.  Afternoons stay chilly too, with highs in the 50°s for Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday, but Friday will be just plain cold: after a morning start in the 20°s, temps will struggle to reach the 40°s!


Wintry Precipitation Friday?

In addition to the bitterly cold start for Friday, we’ll introduce isolated-to-scattered precipitation into the forecast for late Thursday into Friday as the next front moves through the area.  The big story here is not the rain -- the weather story for early Friday is the potential for a wintry mix!
Models have been flip-flopping a bit for our area regarding the possibility of frozen stuff for Friday morning.  Earlier indicators (see image below from Sunday night) suggested that it would be cold enough through the vertical layers of the atmosphere to support some winter precip.  That left the questions as to whether there would be sufficient moisture in the area to take advantage of the cold air behind the front and generate something ‘wintry.’

Sunday night run of the GFS model that suggested the potential for some wintry precipitation along the Gulf Coast on Friday morning. Subsequent model runs have backed off of that threat. (Image credit:

More recent runs (see image below from Monday afternoon) have suggested that upper-level temperatures will be just barely cold enough, but more importantly, we may be lacking the necessary moisture when the mid and upper levels are most optimum for snow.  However, given the forecasted overnight and early morning temperatures, we’ll have to keep a close eye on this as Friday draws nearer -- a morning ‘mix’ could be a real problem for the early AM commute!

Monday afternoon run of the GFS model that no longer shows a threat of wintry precipitation locally. (Image credit:

Weekend Outlook

As of now, Saturday looks to maintain the chill of the work week while the extended guidance suggests that Sunday should get back to something near-normal in terms of temperatures.  The guidance is mixed regarding rain chances for the weekend: for the time being we’ll compromise with isolated-to-scattered showers late Saturday into early Sunday.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Freeze Likely Saturday Morning

By Jay Grymes & Steve Caparotta

Recap of Today

There were just enough clouds early this morning to keep most of us in the 40°s for the morning low but as expected we stayed dry as the latest in a series of cold fronts moved through. While occasionally breezy, we moved to mostly sunny skies before lunchtime and stayed that way through the afternoon. Highs for Baton Rouge climbed into the upper 50°s with a few WAFB communities hitting the 60° mark. Not a bad winter day!


Skies will remain clear through the evening and overnight as a dome of surface high pressure settles right over top of us. Add in little or no wind and very dry air (dew point temperatures in the ‘teens to low 20°s) into the pre-dawn hours and you’ve got the ingredients for a wake-up freeze for Saturday morning. Plan on lows in the upper 20° to near 30° for the Red Stick with mid to upper 20°s near and north of the LA/MS state line. It’s certainly going to be a very cold morning for visitors and participants in town for the Louisiana Marathon!

Not to worry though: freeze durations will be relatively limited for everyone. Most WAFB communities will be back above freezing by or before 9AM on Saturday, so this is not going to threaten those pipes. However, as a reminder, please be careful if you are using space heaters and the like!

(Of course, hopefully you have completed all of your necessary freeze precautions to make it through the rest of the winter. If you didn’t have any freeze-related problems during last week’s Arctic blast, then you should be good-to-go right into spring.)


So we’ll get that Saturday morning freeze under our belts with all-day sunshine taking temperatures into the upper 50°s to low 60°s for highs by the afternoon. Sunday morning will not be nearly as cold, with a morning start in the upper 30°s to low 40°s followed by a fine Sunday afternoon under mostly sunny skies with highs for metro BR in the low 60°s -- right about ‘normal’ for this time of year.

You may hear something about a weak cold front moving through the region on Sunday. Yes, a dissipating front will clip our area but it will have little noticeable impact on our weather. It could bring a few mid-day clouds and will generate a brief run of northwesterly winds during the first half of Sunday before the winds swing back to the southwest by late Sunday afternoon.

So after a nice winter weekend, what’s in store for next week?

Extended Outlook

Our next cold front arrives late Monday into early Tuesday. With “dry” air (low dew points) dominating the weekend, the next front won’t have much moisture to work with. Given that, we’re going with minimal rain chances -- running at about 20% or less -- for the latter half of Monday into the early hours on Tuesday. With the viewing area on the south side (the “warm” side) of the front through most of Monday, many of us could see highs up around 70° for Monday afternoon. By contrast, after the front moves through, highs for Tuesday will likely top-out in the 50°s for most WAFB neighborhoods.

The NWS Weather Prediction Center guidance suggests that yet another weak front slides by on Wednesday, but this front will also be a “mainly dry” boundary. We’ll flirt with light freezes for Wednesday and Thursday mornings as high pressure settles over the Gulf Coast again for Thursday. We bring a slight chance of showers into the regional forecast to close out the week.

Enjoy the weekend sunshine!

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Another Freeze for Saturday Morning

By Jay Grymes & Steve Caparotta

Recap of Today

We started the day off with a freeze for much of the viewing area, with morning lows dipping a degree or two lower than we had forecasted. All in all, however, Thursday was a rather nice winter day. Sunny skies helped warmed the morning fairly quickly with afternoon highs climbing into the upper 50°s to lower 60°s for just about the entire viewing area.

Tonight - Friday

We’ll see some clouds return through the overnight hours with partly-to-mostly cloudy skies around sunrise as our next cold front passes through the region from the northwest. One or two neighborhoods might -- just might -- get a sprinkle as the front slides by, but in general, this will be another “mainly dry” cold front. By Friday afternoon, skies will have cleared once again as a cold-and-dry Canadian air mass settles over the central Gulf Coast. Friday’s highs will top-out in the mid to upper 50°s for most WAFB communities.


The Canadian air mass and dome of surface high pressure sitting over us by Friday afternoon will set us up for another freeze on Saturday morning. But just like today’s morning freeze, Saturday’s freeze should be a fairly short-duration event with lows for metro Baton Rouge in the upper 20°s to around 30° or so. By Saturday morning, the winds will be swinging back around from the southwest under sunny skies with mild Gulf air taking most of the viewing area back into the 60°s for the afternoon highs.

Sunday shapes up to be a another January beauty: after a chilly start with sunrise temps in the low 40°s for metro BR, mostly sunny skies will warm the Red Stick into the mid 60°s for the afternoon high. 

Extended Outlook

The extended outlook into early next week suggests a pair of back-to-back fronts push through the lower Mississippi Valley: the first looks to pass from north-to-south late Monday or very early Tuesday with the second front fizzling out on its way through either late Tuesday or early Wednesday. Although there is time for changes to set-in, at this point both of next week’s fronts look rather “moisture starved,” so we’re not expecting much to come from them. We’ll post a 20% rain chance for both Monday and Tuesday, with another dose of cooler air expected by mid-week.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Freeze Likely Thursday Morning

By Jay Grymes & Steve Caparotta

Recap of Today

After falling rather quickly before midnight, temperatures across the viewing area “flattened out” during the pre-dawn hours in spite of dew points in the mid to upper 30°s.  As a result, most WAFB communities stayed in the 40°s through the night and into sunrise.  At the same time, a cold front moved through WAFB viewing area this morning and the cooler-and-less-humid air behind this morning’s front delivered clear skies all day.  However, even with the sunshine, highs today will only reach into the 50°s -- 10° or more cooler than Tuesday’s afternoon highs for most WAFB neighborhoods.

You may have seen that this morning’s front did produce a few showers in the viewing area, mainly to the north and east of Baton Rouge.  In fact, we received a couple of reports from Livingston Parish regarding small hail as the line moved through!  Hard to believe, we admit, but nature does some strange things at times.  (Yes, we’re trying to track down that report for more details!)

Tonight / Thursday

Clear skies, dew points in the low 20°s and generally calm conditions are the ideal set-up for a Thursday morning freeze -- plan on tomorrow’s lows around 30° for the Capital City.  We could see a brief morning freeze extending as far south as Donaldsonville and Thibodaux.  Expect a few clouds under otherwise fair skies for Thursday with afternoon highs ranging from the upper 50°s to low 60°s across the viewing area. 

Friday - Weekend

“Cooler-than-normal” will be the rule through the rest of the work week and the weekend too.  Our next cold front arrives early Friday and reinforces this morning’s front with another dose of Canadian air.  But like this morning’s front, Friday’s frontal passage is also expected to be largely rain-free.  So put the umbrella away for the time being: our next chance of rain doesn’t arrive until early next week.
We’re posting mainly sunny skies for Friday afternoon, with highs in the 50°s.  Then, once again, we’re set up for another freeze for Saturday morning -- our current guidance suggests that Saturday morning’s lows could be a degree or two lower than what we expect for tomorrow morning. 
Cold, yes, but let’s keep our next two morning freezes in perspective: neither will be anything like the Arctic Outbreak we saw last week.  For Baton Rouge, we expect freeze durations on the order of roughly 5 to 6 hours -- nothing likely to threaten pipes!
Highs again for Saturday max-out in the 50°s for most of us.  Sunday starts out cold again, but Baton Rouge area lows should only drop into the upper 30°s.  Sunday afternoon should be a nice one: mainly-fair skies and highs rebounding into the low to mid 60°s.

Extended Outlook

Our latest extended guidance shows another front arriving in the region late Monday or early Tuesday, and that should mean scattered rains for the area.  For now, we’ll carry highs in the 60°s for both Monday and Tuesday, with the Monday/Tuesday front producing another cool-down by Wednesday.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Breezy, Cooler on Wednesday!

By Jay Grymes & Steve Caparotta

Temperatures were slow to fall last evening, with most neighborhoods still in the 50°s near midnight.  But between midnight and sunrise, the “drying” air (dew points falling into the low 30°s), clear skies and relaxed winds allowed the bottom to drop out with the thermometer dropping 15° in less than six hours.  Instead of lows near 40°, temps dropped into the 30°s for many WAFB neighborhoods by this morning’s sunrise. 

Yet after that cold start to the day, sunshine warmed us nicely, taking just about everyone into the mid to upper 60°s by the mid-afternoon.

Our next cold front -- a Canadian front -- comes through early tomorrow morning.  Plan on Wednesday morning lows in the mid to upper 30°s for metro Baton Rouge, but it will be a “dry” front.  There’s simply not enough moisture available to generate more than some fair-weather clouds as the front slides by.  With a reinforcing surge of cool-and-dry air behind the Canadian front, we can expect another sunny day for Wednesday.  Maybe the biggest change for Wednesday will be a considerably cooler afternoon compared to recent days, with Wednesday’s highs only climbing into the low to mid 50°s for much of the viewing area.
By Thursday morning, we’ll really feel the effects of Wednesday’s front: the northern half of the WAFB viewing area can expect a light freeze to start the day, Baton Rouge’s first freeze since the memorable Arctic blast of January 6-8.  But the morning cold won’t last long, as we expect Thursday afternoon temps to climb into the upper 50°s to lower 60°s under fair skies.
More interestingly, by Thursday afternoon, the third cold front of the week will be headed towards the lower Mississippi Valley, with the boundary expected to slide through south Louisiana sometime between very late Thursday and early Friday morning. At this stage, we’ll call Friday’s front “mainly dry” -- we can’t completely rule out an isolated shower or two as the front slides by, but we don’t expect any organized showers to develop and no notable accumulations.
Friday’s front will deliver an even colder air mass than Wednesday morning’s front.  Highs on Friday will struggle to reach the low 50°s for metro Baton Rouge, with lows falling into the upper 20°s for the Red Stick on Saturday morning.  Viewers north and east of Baton Rouge should get ready for a ‘hard freeze’ to start their weekend.
Even with the Saturday morning freeze and cooler-than-normal weather expect for both Saturday and Sunday, the weekend outlook is not all that bad for January.  We expect lots of sunshine for both days, with Baton Rouge highs in the 50°s for Saturday and up around 60° or so for Sunday.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Clearing Tonight, Sunshine Returns Tuesday

By Jay Grymes & Steve Caparotta

Yep, some of us are still mourning the Saints . . .

The entire area got wet during a sloppy commute thanks to a broad rain shield that covered the better part of the state during the morning.  The rain was generally light to moderate across the viewing area, although there were pockets of heavier rains and a few rumbles of thunder as a result of occasional thunderstorms embedded within the broad swath of rain.  Preliminary radar estimates suggest that Monday rain totals were well under 1” for most of the viewing area, but totals were as much as 1” to possibly 2” or more over sections of the southern and coastal parishes.

Today’s rainmaker was the result of an mid/-upper-level disturbance and its associated eastbound surface front.  Temperatures climbed into the 60°s for most of the viewing area during much of the day due to our position in the “warm sector” (the warmer-and-more-humid region ahead of an advancing cold front, composed of Gulf air).  The cold front finally moved into the WAFB viewing area during the late afternoon, with rains ending for most of metro BR by the early afternoon hours.   The front takes the rains and clouds with it as it moves farther east through the evening and overnight.  On the heels of Monday’s front, clearing skies and an influx of a cooler-and-drier air mass will mean a chilly night on the way: Red Stick area temperatures will fall to the low 40°s by Tuesday’s sunrise, with morning minimums in the upper 30°s along and north of the LA/MS state line.

After that chilly start, Tuesday shapes up to be a pleasant January day: sunny and less humid with highs in the mid to upper 60°s.  And the forecast stays “mainly dry” right through the weekend ... but it gets even cooler later in the  week.  In fact, many WAFB neighborhoods will flirt with another round of freezes between now and Saturday morning.

A quick-moving, “dry” cold front moves through WAFBland late Tuesday into early Wednesday, producing a pair of cold starts for Wednesday and Thursday.  A light freeze seems likely for metro Baton Rouge on Thursday morning and areas near and north of the state line could see freezes for both mornings. 

Then another front moves through the area early on Friday; Friday’s front also looks “mostly dry” although an isolated shower or two can’t be entirely ruled out just yet.  With Friday’s front comes another slug of cold, dry Canadian air: Baton Rouge metro temperatures could drop into the 20°s for Saturday morning with a ‘hard freeze’ for many WAFB communities north and east of the Capital City.

Yes, it is still winter ... and winter in South Louisiana and SW Mississippi is typically marked by fairly substantial swings in temperature associated with our winter fronts.  The days are often warmer-than-normal ahead of advancing fronts then turn colder-than-normal days after strong Pacific and Canadian fronts move through.  Fact is, “normal” daily temperatures at this time of year -- such as our normal highs in the low 60°s for mid-January -- aren’t as common as you might expect.  Because of our “roller coaster” winter temperature pattern, only roughly one third of January days have a high temperature that falls within a few degrees of the official daily normal.