Friday, February 28, 2014

Warmer This Weekend!

By Jay Grymes & Steve Caparotta

WAFB Storm Team QuickCast:

- mild Friday evening, patchy fog and 50°s for Saturday's sun-up
- 70°s for Saturday & Sunday afternoons, "dry" Saturday and "mostly dry" Sunday
- "wet" for Lundi Gras morning, "mostly dry" for Mardi Gras day
It did get a little colder than expected this morning, with the thermometer dipping to freezing at Baton Rouge's Metro Airport this morning under mainly clear skies.  But the sunshine warmed things quickly, with temps in the low 60°s by the lunch hour for the Capital City and climbing into the mid to upper 60°s for many of us by the mid to late afternoon.
The winds are now off the Gulf and that means warmer temperatures and a bit more moisture in the air for the weekend.  That combination translated into a slow increase in cloud cover through the afternoon with mostly cloudy skies on the way this evening.  But it stays dry and comfortable this evening for the 7:00pm kick-off of the Krewe of Southdowns parade -- temperatures cooperate with low 60°s for the most parade, possibly dipping into the upper 50°s by parade's end.

Warmer Weekend

The warming trend also means a much milder start to Saturday, with sunrise temps in the mid 50°s for the Red Stick under mostly cloudy skies.  At the same time, expect a little patchy morning fog thanks to the added Gulf moisture.  But Saturday's mild start leads into a spring-like day with highs in the low to mid 70°s under an afternoon sun/cloud mix.  So it looks great for the lively and irreverent Spanish Town Parade.  Spanish Town starts at noon, with temps in the 70°s throughout the entire parade window.
Sunday is also looking good for the most part.  We'll be watching a storm system moving through the U.S. Plains -- the same system that is producing storm-related headaches in California today. The core of the storm stays well to our north, but it will swing a cold front through the lower Mississippi Valley late Sunday and early Monday.
With the front approaching from the northwest, we should expect a breezy day for Sunday with highs in the mid 70°s and low-level moisture on a steady increase.  Given the warm and moist Gulf air in place, we can't rule out a shower or two late Sunday afternoon and evening … but our guidance currently indicates that the main frontal weather arrives during the overnight hours and into the early hours of Lundi Gras (Monday).
The NWS Storm Prediction Center already sees enough stormy weather potential with Monday’s front to put the viewing area under a “SLIGHT RISK” classification.  We’ll track this threat closely in the coming days to assess the most likely severe-weather components expected for our region.

Extended Outlook - Mardi Gras

The front should move through the area reasonably quickly, with rains subsiding before noon on Monday.  You can expect a mostly dry Monday afternoon, but be aware that behind Monday's front the air turns much cooler compared to our weekend in the 70°s.  It will be a cool 'Fat Tuesday' also under a sun/cloud mix with highs on Tuesday in the 50°s.  While Tuesday should stay mainly dry into the afternoon, there is a slight chance of rain in the late afternoon and evening as the next disturbance approaches from the west.
Here’s hoping that you get to enjoy some of the final days of the Carnival Season!

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