As we expected, most of the rain was out of the WAFB viewing area by midday although some neighborhoods were still dealing with mist into the late morning hours. Unfortunately, however, thick low clouds stuck around well into the afternoon, blocking the sun and stopping any hope for at least a minimal warm-up before sunset. As a result, many WAFB communities never got out of the 30°s for the afternoon.
The skies will be slowly clearing overnight into Thursday morning. That is good news in terms of the promise of drier weather but it also sets-up an opportunity for a big chill by sunrise. Drier air (lower dew points) and light northerly winds will take much of the WAFB viewing down to or below freezing by the early morning -- another reminder that we are still in the midst of winter. We're anticipating Thursday morning lows for the Baton Rouge metro area at around 30° -- a light freeze, but with temps already near freezing as of 5PM, it could be a fairly long run of freezing temps, especially for communities north of the Capital City.
For the trivia-minded: if Baton Rouge dips to 32° or below for Thursday morning, that will make 30 freeze-days this season, tied for the 4th greatest number of freezes by mid-February (since at least 1930). In fact, Baton Rouge Metro Airport (BTR) has already recorded nearly double the 'normal' number of freezes for an entire winter season (the 'normal' number is 16 freeze-days annually, with the 'normal' defined as the average number of events for the 30-year period of 1981-2010).
Thankfully, sunshine through the day on Thursday will take us into the 50°s, the start of a warming trend that will extend through the coming weekend and into next week. And the outlook stays dry throughout the coming 7-day period too. For most of us, that's good news.
Many of us will drop back into the upper 30°s for Friday morning, but we'll climb into the upper 60°s for Friday afternoon. A fast-moving and mainly-dry cold front slips through the Bayou State from the north late Friday, providing a reinforcing dose of Canadian air to the lower Mississippi Valley for Saturday. Some of the current guidance is hinting at a passing shower late Friday as the front slides by, but all in all, the front won't have a big impact on our weather. Highs on Saturday should still reach the mid to upper 60°s under mostly fair skies.
For those headed to Saturday evening's Krewe of Jupiter and Juno Parade -- Baton Rouge's first big Mardi Gras parade of the season -- the weather will cooperate although it will be get a little cool-ish by parade’s end. Plan on parade kick-off temps near 60° with temps falling into the 50°s as the parade rolls.
By Sunday afternoon, we're expecting 70°s for just about everyone except those along and north of the LA/MS state line. Yet even there, highs for Sunday will get close to the 70° mark. The Mystic Krewe of Mutts should be quite pleased.
And for the time being, it's partly cloudy and mild for Monday and just a slight rain chance for Tuesday of next week, with highs both days climbing into the 70°s across the WAFB area.
Does this swing into the 70°s indicate an early end to winter? Don't count on it!