Monday, August 4, 2014

Typical Summer Weather Through the Week

By Jay Grymes & Steve Caparotta

WAFB First Alert Quickcast:

- scattered mainly-afternoon t-showers each day this week
- Bertha becomes a hurricane
Some late thunderstorms in and around the Baton Rouge area kept many folks awake later than normal last night but the action died-out for most by or before midnight.  We started Monday morning with some patchy, mainly-light, fog in the area but without any rain for the morning drive.  Into the afternoon, however, our hot-and-humid resident air mass fueled scattered afternoon showers and storms.
We expect just about all of today’s action to subside later in the evening, with another muggy-but-dry night and early morning for Tuesday. Metro area temperatures will bottom-out in the low 70°s for Tuesday’s sunrise.  Our forecast for the coming days will not be too different from today’s weather: scattered mainly-afternoon showers and t-storms.  Not everyone gets wet each day, but you’ll need to be ready to dodge those hit-or-miss afternoon rains -- we’re setting rain chances this week at about 30% to 40% for just about every afternoon.  Lows will be in the low to mid 70°s each morning, with afternoon highs reaching the low 90°s for most WAFB communities.  Peak Heat Index readings will get into the mid to upper 90°s, reaching 100° for a few neighborhoods on one or more afternoons. 
All in all, this is just about what we expect for August.  In fact, highs may tend to be a degree or two below the norm this week, not that you will really notice.  91° .. 93° .. 95° -- they all feel just about the same if you are outdoors for any period of time given our usual Gulf humidity!

We say “good job!” to the National Hurricane Center (NHC) on their overall forecasting of Bertha since she was declared a tropical storm last week.  The NHC forecast has been quite good and as far back as Friday the NHC was suggesting that Bertha could briefly achieve hurricane strength once ‘she’ cleared the Bahamas and moved over the open western Atlantic.  Current ‘Category 1’ Bertha appears to offer no threat to the U.S. nor to Bermuda and should begin to lose ‘her’ tropical signature and start racing off to the northeast in the next few days.

So .. that’s Arthur and Bertha already this season: two hurricanes by early August.  According to statistics (1966-2009 data) from the NHC, two ‘named’ storms as of August 1st is right on target for an average year.  However, two hurricanes by the end of the first week in August is well ahead of schedule: NHC statistics suggest that the average date of the first hurricane is not until August 10th, with August 28th being the average formation date of the season’s second hurricane. 
So what does this mean?  Frankly, it really doesn’t mean much, especially in terms of potential threats this season for the Bayou State.  Remember, the pre-season consensus called for storm ‘counts’ this season to be near- to below-average -- here we are with two hurricanes already.  The 2013 had 14 ‘named’ storms, but only two hurricanes for the entire season!  And each of the three prior seasons (2010, 2011 & 2012) had 19 ‘named’ storms, yet only 2012 posted two hurricanes this early in the season.
The bottom line?  Early season activity provides little insight as to how ‘busy’ the season will become and offers no real guidance as to the potential tropical threat to Louisiana in the coming months.

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