Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Increasing Rain Chances Later This Week

By Jay Grymes & Steve Caparotta

WAFB Storm Team QuickCast:

- stays dry for Wednesday, although a bit more humid
- 30% rain chance for Thursday
- showers and a few storms likely for Friday and Saturday

Just a touch more humid today, making it feel a little warmer in the afternoon but today was yet another in a string of dry-weather days. And our forecast for Wednesday calls for much the same as today's weather, with a continued slow increase in low-level humidity. So expect another round of patchy wake-up fog for Wednesday's start with morning lows in the low to mid 60°s for metro Baton Rouge -- just a little warmer than earlier this morning. And like today, Wednesday will be marked by a mix of sun and clouds as afternoon highs climb into the mid 80°s for the Red Stick. Wednesday will be a bit breezier than today, with south-to-southeast winds running in the 10-15 mph range through the afternoon.

We'll concede the possibility of a spotty shower or two, but the day will be a dry one for just about every WAFB community -- put Wednesday's rain chances at 10% or less.

Dry Last 2-3 Weeks

And for many of you, more dry weather is not what you want to hear. 

The upper-soils are getting very dry for most of our viewing area and some yards are beginning to get that 'crunchy' sound as you walk over the dry grass. Over the past three weeks, a few WAFB areas have received upwards of 2" of rain -- but for many more, they've had less than 1" of rain over that same three-week period. 

No, it is not a full-blown drought ... but it is certainly dry. Normal rainfall at this time of year averages about 1.0" to 1.5" per week. During the cooler months of the year, an inch of rain is more than enough to keep the vegetation happy. But by mid spring, with temperatures getting into the 80°s on a routine basis, the lawns, the gardens and our natural vegetated landscapes like to use just about all of that inch of rain each week when they can get it.

Rains Arrive Later This Week

Thankfully our forecast for the latter half of the week and the weekend offers some relief. 

We'll go with a 20% to 30% rain chance for Thursday, then really turn on the sprinklers for Friday and into the weekend. The air will remain warm and muggy throughout, with morning starts in the upper 60°s to low 70°s and afternoons returning to the 80°s each day right into next week. The rain -- with occasional t-storms -- will still be welcomed by most of us even if it means dodging showers on Saturday and Sunday.

We won't be getting a spring cool front anytime soon but the low-level Gulf air mass will become sufficiently unstable each day to get the showers going by the mid to late afternoon. Daytime heating will help do the trick in providing a little extra boost for the rising moist air to feed cloud development. Of equal importance, the upper-level ridge currently over the central U.S. will begin to break down over the next 24-36 hours, taking the “lid” off the mid levels. 

Extended Outlook

We're calling for rain likely on Friday, with rain chances at 80% or so, with the numbers running at 60% or more for Saturday. We’ll keep scattered mainly-afternoon rains in the forecasts for Sunday, Monday and Tuesday too. Preliminary estimates from the NWS Weather Prediction Center currently suggest that our viewing area could see from 1.0" to 1.5"of rain between now and early Tuesday.

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