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.   

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