Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Staying Dry Through Friday

By Jay Grymes & Steve Caparotta

WAFB First Alert Quickcast:

- ‘drier’ air hangs around for another day or two
- scattered afternoon rains return for the weekend
- liking the ‘quiet’ in the tropics
The cool front made it through most of the viewing area before sunrise this morning, delivering a nice start to the day.  As of this afternoon, the boundary is located off the coast and over the northern Gulf waters.

Metro Airport’s high today was 89° -- factor in today’s dew points in the 60°s and you certainly can’t complain.  In fact, even without the “dry” air (low dew points), today ends a 10-day run with highs in the 90°s.
Okay .. we won’t get carried away here: “It ain’t fall football weather!”, but you’ve got to admit that the drop in humidity is a welcomed change from our August norm.  Sadly, it only lasts for another day or so.  And while the air will ‘feel dry,’ we still have summer temperatures to deal with in the afternoons -- highs in the 90°s right through the weekend.  Still, it’s tough to complain about the sunshine, the fair skies and those dew points running in the 60°s.
The front will stall and meander near and along the Louisiana coast through Thursday and into early Friday.  Less-humid air will mean warm-but-pleasant evenings for today and Thursday, with many WAFB communities -- especially those near and north of the I-10/12 corridor -- enjoying Thursday and Friday morning starts in the upper 60°s.
As we’ve mentioned before, dew point readings in the 60°s during the summer months means “comfortably dry” air for our viewing area.  Average daily dew point temperatures in the 60°s during July and August aren’t rare … but they are not all that common either.  A look back at 10 years of daily data for Metro Airport (BTR) shows that we can expect roughly five to six days between July and August, on average, with average daily dew points below 70°F -- brief breaks to our normally sultry summer air.
What about average daily dew points during July and August under 65°?  Now we’re getting into some “rare air” -- we enjoyed 3 such days just last month and we may flirt with another on tomorrow (although we don’t think the air will be quite that ‘dry’).  But July’s three “dry air” days were courtesy of three unusual ‘cool’ fronts.  To put it in perspective, since 2005, BTR has only reported daily average dew points below 65° during July and August on a total of 11 days, and that includes the 3 days from last month.
Okay, so back to the forecast … we stay dry through Friday, with Gulf humidity slowly returning on Friday and into Saturday as the meandering front currently near the coast backs northward as a warm front, accompanied by our typical humid Gulf summer air.  We’ll bring isolated-to-scattered mainly-afternoon rains into the forecast for Saturday, with slightly-better rain chances (scattered showers and storms) for Sunday.  We’ll carry those scattered afternoon rains into the start of the coming work week too -- yes, back to normal for August.

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