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!

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