Saturday, June 21, 2014

WAFB Storm Team QuickCast:
- summer “officially” began this morning
- not much change in the forecast for the next couple of days
- better rain chances later in the work week

Did you notice the change in seasons this morning when summer kicked-in at 5:51am?  Nope, me neither … but today is the Summer Solstice.  That means for everyone living north of the latitudinal line known as the Tropic of Cancer (23.5°N), two things happen today: (1) the duration of sunlight is the longest of any day in the year and (2) the mid-day sun reaches its highest point in the sky of any day in the year.

For Baton Rouge, today’s “sunrise-to-sunset period” is roughly 14 hours and 7 minutes.  Starting tomorrow, that length of time will slowly decline, and will continue to do so until the Winter Solstice (on December 21st).  The other bit of trivia is that at about 1:06pm, the sun was almost directly overhead for Baton Rouge (that will be the case tomorrow as well).  Directly overhead would mean a solar altitude of 90° ... today’s solar peak altitude for the Red Stick was roughly 83° (also occurring at about 1:06pm).

As for the metro area weather over the coming days … no notable changes, at least in the short term.  Rain chances will run around 30% for Sunday, but that’s not much of a change from what we’ve seen the last several days.  And after another morning start for the Capital City in the low 70°s, we’ll return to the low 90°s for Sunday afternoon under a sun/cloud mix.  Yes, a few neighborhoods will deal with a thundershower, but the afternoon heat will be the bigger weather story for most WAFB communities, with the peak mid-afternoon Heat index once again returning to the mid-to-upper 90°s.

The forecast looks about the same for Monday too, as well as Tuesday.  But we are going to ‘up’ those percentages a bit as we head into the middle and latter part of the work week. The upper-air ridging that has helped minimize afternoon shower development over the better part of the past week will no longer be a significant factor in our regional weather.  As a result, by taking the ridge’s “lid” off the atmosphere, daytime heating will help lift our moist, unstable air mass; that should lead to more widespread afternoon action and better rain chances.

In the tropics, the National Hurricane Center is watching an area in the western Atlantic roughly 200 miles east of the Georgia/Florida coast.  This area has a very low probability for development over the next few days.  In addition, even if it were to get better organized in the coming days, all indications are that it would move towards the northeast -- away from the U.S. coastline.  Elsewhere, all appears quiet in the Gulf, the Caribbean and the remainder of the tropical Atlantic.

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