Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Time to Dust Off the Umbrellas

By Jay Grymes & Steve Caparotta

WAFB Storm Team QuickCast:

- 30% rain chance for Thursday
- showers and storms likely for Friday and Saturday
- stays unsettled into next week

And the humidity continues its slow rise through the week …

A bit on the breezy side under a sun/cloud mix but we stayed dry through the day. More clouds return overnight with some patchy fog developing by Thursday’s sunrise; morning minimums will be in the mid to upper 60°s for the Red Stick. With the moist low-level air mass in place, we’d expect more than just “patchy” fog for Thursday’s start if it weren’t that the winds will be up just enough to minimize the formation to wind-shielded areas -- the “usual suspect” spots..

Thursday shapes up to be another breezy-to-windy day again under a sun/cloud mix. In addition, we’ll toss in a few showers and maybe a rumble of thunder for the afternoon forecast -- set rain chances on Thursday afternoon and early evening at 20% to 30% for metro BR.

The upper-level ridge that has dominated our weather over the past several days will no longer be a factor by tomorrow evening, with a trough currently over the U.S. West headed our way. The thinking now is that the core of the trough will remain just to our north but gets close enough to generate active lift and get some rain going.

The needed rain arrives in earnest on Friday and Saturday -- just about everyone gets wet over the two-day span. These won’t be textbook frontal rains but our humid-and-warm Gulf air (unstable air) will be more than ready to rise and build into rain- and thunder-clouds. We aren’t expecting a severe weather event either but a few storms in the mid to late afternoons could become strong enough to get your attention.

With the clouds on Thursday and rains for Friday and Saturday, we’re going against some of the forecast tools that are calling for upper 80°s. In fact, some neighborhoods may barely make the 80°s on the two “wet” days. Mornings will be muggy and patchy fog will be part of the wake-up forecast each of the three days.

We’ll ease back a bit on the “rain throttle” for Sunday, Monday and Tuesday but keep scattered mainly-afternoon and early-evening rains in the forecast for all three days.

A noteworthy change in the outlook over the coming days deals with the rain amounts. Through yesterday, the NWS Weather Prediction Center was suggesting 1.0” to 1.5” of rain through early Tuesday. But as of today, that number has taken quite a jump, now running on the order of 2” to 4” or more over the course of the next five days. This is a significant adjustment and we’ll need to track it closely over the coming days -- although the environment is quite dry thanks to our nearly rain-free past three weeks, 4” of rain or more in the right places in such short order could lead to local flood woes. 

Into the extended, the longer-range outlook is currently suggesting a spring cool front will work its way through the viewing area sometime late Tuesday or early Wednesday. That should provide a dry-out after our run of rainy days and also cut back on the Gulf humidity, if only temporarily.

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