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.

No comments:

Post a Comment