Friday, January 3, 2014

Getting Even COLDER Next Week!

Friday morning temps dropped into the upper 20°s for metro Baton Rouge as expected, although I missed the official low by 1° -- calling for low of 27° when it turned out to be 28° at Metro Airport. However, I also admit that it didn’t get quite as cold up along and to the north of the LA/MS state line as I forecasted, mainly because the winds stayed up just enough through the pre-dawn hours. Even with fairly modest winds-- in the 5-10 mph range -- the lower levels of the atmosphere get just enough mixing to slow the free-fall in temperatures. My Thursday evening forecast was calling for winds to drop below 5 mph by Friday’s pre-dawn: that didn’t happen for most locations and as a result it didn’t get as cold as expected. (Not that many are complaining!)
Today’s sunshine didn’t warm things up all that much as highs only made it into the mid to upper 40°s for most WAFB communities.
And another freeze is on the way for Saturday morning, so the question becomes, “Just how cold for tomorrow morning?”
I note that our NWS friends are posting a low of 27° for Baton Rouge. Quite often, maybe even more often than not, the second morning during an Arctic blast is colder than the first, and that seems to be the NWS thinking. It does look like the winds will die down overnight, which should support a colder night. But that may be offset somewhat by a return of some cloud cover after midnight and into sunrise.
I’m going with a Saturday morning low of 29° for the Red Stick, close to what we saw this morning -- and still PLENTY cold! In addition, the freeze duration for Saturday morning will be similar to last night’s freeze, running on the order of 6 to 8 hours for much of the metro BR area. And, as always, locations north and east of the Capital City can expect lower readings and slightly longer freeze durations.
The return of clouds is tied to the onset of easterly, then southeasterly winds, bringing Gulf warmth and moisture back into the viewing area. In fact, by Saturday afternoon, highs should climb into the upper 50°s to low 60°s for most WAFB neighborhoods. Lows will be much milder for Sunday’s wake-up, ranging from the upper 40°s for our northern viewers to the mid 50°s along the coast.
The WAFB forecast still calls for “rain likely” on Sunday as our next cold front slides west-to-east across the Bayou State. As we mentioned yesterday, Sunday’s frontal passage does not look to be a very vigorous event -- the way it looks now, I expect little in the way of thunderstorms and most WAFB viewers will see under one-half-inch of rain as the front passes by.
Behind Sunday’s front comes another Arctic Outbreak, and the early indications are that next week’s freezes will be the coldest of the season -- in fact, the coldest air mass to visit us in quite some time. The extended outlook from the GFS (American) model currently calls for temps down in the 20°s for early Monday and falling into the upper ‘teens to lower 20°s for many of us by Tuesday’s sunrise! Now that’s cold ... and on track to be the coldest morning for the Capital City since January 13, 2011!
So get ready for “the four Ps of a Deep Freeze” by early next week: pets, plants, pipes and people!
We’re calling for lows in the upper 20°s for Wednesday morning too, but that should be the end to next week’s round of bitter cold. Highs on Wednesday return to the 50°s and lows will bounce back into the 40°s for Thursday and Friday morning. Scattered rains return to the forecast too by the latter half of the work week.
Have a great weekend ... and Geaux Saints!

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