Monday, May 12, 2014

Awaiting More Rains Later This Week

By Jay Grymes & Steve Caparotta

WAFB Storm Team QuickCast:

- scattered mainly-afternoon t-showers on Tuesday
- cool front, showers & t-storms likely on Wednesday
- dry-out, cooler & less humid for the rest of the week

Recap of Weekend Soaking

For many of you, maybe even most of you, your backyards received a month's worth of rain or more over the last four days -- so much for the drought.
In fact, with widespread 4" to 6" rain totals, and pockets of upwards of 8” or more, over the last several days, the excess rains had the WAFB Storm Team closely watching the rivers over the weekend.
Street flooding has been an issue for a number of neighborhoods in the viewing area and some yards are still dealing with standing water.   But in the end, the region had become so dry over the past few weeks that most area rivers were showing relatively low-flows for the spring before the rains set in.  As a result, while some smaller creeks and bayous climbed out of their banks briefly, the larger channels -- the Amite, Comite, Tickfaw and Tangipahoa -- all stayed below flood stage.  And as of this morning, most of the standing water on area roads had receded.

More Rains into Midweek

Today's rains were a bit more scattered and generally brief, so there weren't any serious roadway issues for the evening commute.  However, it sure warmed-up in a hurry and there was no mistaking that summer-like humidity, a reminder that we are still under the influence of moist-and-unstable Gulf air.
We're expecting another round of scattered mainly-afternoon thundershowers on Tuesday, with a 'wetter' outlook for Wednesday.  A slow-moving spring front will be approaching the lower Mississippi Valley from the west over the next two days.  We remain in the "warm sector" (ahead of the front) on Tuesday, with daytime heating and the unstable air mass in place serving as the rain-making ingredients.
Based on the current guidance, it looks like the front arrives during the first half of the day on Wednesday but then slows to a crawl as it moves through our viewing area.  We’ve got scattered showers and t-storms arriving in the morning with the rains becoming likely by mid-day and into the afternoon.
As of now, we are not concerned about a widespread severe weather threat developing, although a few of the storms rolling along and ahead of Wednesday's cool front could become 'strong' to possibly ‘severe.’  But given the slow movement anticipated with Wednesday’s front, we’ll be watching for another round of significant rains - - not a repeat of what many of you saw on Friday, but remember, given that the area is fairly saturated, it won't take a lot of rain to generate some nuisance street flooding once again.
The rain should taper off late Wednesday or early Thursday, with a cooler-and-drier Pacific air mass moving in behind the cool front.  Highs on Wednesday will top-out in the upper 70°s for most WAFB communities, in part because of the clouds and rains.  By mid-day Thursday (if not sooner), we'll be enjoying clearing skies and a big dip in the humidity.  Thursday morning minimums will drop into the low to mid 50°s for many WAFB neighborhoods -- about 10° below normal.

Extended Outlook

But that’s not all: there is a double-bonus headed our way, as a reinforcing surge of even cooler-and-drier Canadian air arrives on Thursday into Friday.  By Friday morning, communities along and north of the I-10/12 corridor could be flirting with record lows as sunrise temperatures drop into the upper 40°s to low 50°s.
Comfortably-dry air and sunny skies will be the rule for Friday and Saturday, with temperatures (and humidity) slowly creeping upwards on Sunday and Monday.  Still, Sunday looks very agreeable with highs in the mid 80°s and far from the muggy air we've had the last few days. Bottom line: we anticipate a nice spring weekend ahead.
So … after our multi-day drenching, the dry-out and sunshine will be good news for the lawns and gardens -- and have many of us running the mowers by or before the weekend!

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