Thursday, June 5, 2014

Summertime Feel thru the Weekend!

- stays mainly-dry thru the weekend
- 30% chance for development in the SW Gulf
The morning began with sun-up temperatures in the low 70°s for the Red Stick with patchy, mainly-light fog around the WAFB viewing area. You can expect more of the same each morning right through the weekend and into next week. In fact, some of you may only see lows dip to the mid 70°s by the weekend, a reflection of increasing low-level Gulf moisture and a signal that the air will become even more ‘sticky’ in the coming days.
As for highs .. a good portion of the viewing area finally reached the 90°mark this afternoon. For Baton Rouge, the all-time latest “first 90°-day” ever is June 10th, set in 1976 & 1950. It looks like we’ll try and make up for this year’s lack of 90°s quickly, with highs of 90° or above on the forecast board for the next three days, at least. 
An upper-level ridge centered over central and southern Texas and extending into northern Mexico is readily visible on the water vapor satellite imagery. Although “flattening” a bit in the coming days (not extending all that far to the north), the upper ridge is expanding eastward. Dry, sinking air associated with the upper ridge will inhibit the opportunity for our moist, warm and unstable Gulf air to rise -- that means reduced cloud cover and little chance of rain until the ridge breaks down. As of this afternoon, guidance suggests that the ridge will remain in play into the weekend and probably all the way through the weekend. That translates into “hot, humid but mainly-dry” down here on the ground.
We can’t completely rule out a rogue shower over the course of the next three days -- just like the one that bubbled-up over WBR Parish and drifted north last evening. But even if a brief shower does pop-up on Titan9 Doppler over the next few days, it won’t last long and won’t amount to much. Let’s set rain chances at 10% or less for Friday and Saturday and less than 20% for Sunday.
It’ll be a “sunscreen weekend” across the viewing area.
The ridge will start to weaken/breakdown late Sunday or Monday, allowing for the unstable Gulf air and the summer heat to start doing their “thing” by the early-to-middle part of the upcoming work week. We’ll call for isolated afternoon showers on Monday with scattered afternoon thundershowers for Tuesday, Wednesday and probably Thursday too. We also may take a break from the 90°s thanks to the increasing cloud cover and associated rain chances next week.
And about the disturbance in the SW Gulf: as we’ve been saying each day, this is certainly nothing to get worked-up about, at least not for the time being. The disturbance remains unorganized and the National Hurricane Center (NHC) has development potential at a low 30% for the next two to five days. In other words, the way things look right now, this is of no concern through the weekend and well into next week.  In fact, the NHC canceled the planned flight into the storm today, indicating that they have little worry about this quickly spinning-up into something serious.  However, even if it remains rather disorganized through the next several days, it has already benn producing flooding rains for parts of Mexico.
 We know that many of you are already looking at the forecast model tracks -- things like the on-line “spaghetti plots.” You can find them all over the web these days. And yes, we look at them too (along with other forecast tools).
But keep this in mind: these forecast models require a storm center, a central low, to “initialize” (to start) their forecast runs. Yet we don’t have a low-pressure center in the SW Gulf, so these model runs are based on a “best-guess/what-if” location of a potential center. Making a forecast decision based on tropical forecast models that were run without a defined center of circulation is getting awfully close to calling a pitch a strike before the pitcher has even let go of the ball.
So let’s all relax and enjoy the weekend: we’ve got six months of potential tropical action ahead. If -- IF! -- something does develop in the Bay of Campeche, we’ll let you know during our weathercasts and through social media.
In the meantime, be careful in the summer-like heat.

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