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.

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