Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Waiting on a Cold Front...

By Jay Grymes & Steve Caparotta

WAFB First Alert Quickcast:

- Scattered rains for Wednesday
- Showers & storms on Thursday and early Friday
- a true “taste of fall” for the weekend
- all quiet in the tropics

It was dry for just about the entire viewing area today; Tuesday’s weather chat at the water cooler was largely focused on the afternoon’s warmth and humidity with a summer-ish feel for the last day of September.

For most of us, we close out September on the “warm and dry” side of normal. WAFB area September temperatures averaged about 1°F above normal with Baton Rouge’s Metro Airport hitting the 90°s on 16 dates -- including the first 12 days of the month plus today! As for rain, a majority of WAFB regional sites reported below-normal September rainfall: many recording sites posted less than 3” of rain for September with a handful of locations recording less than 2” for the month. However, not everyone had a “dry” September -- St. Francisville, Marksville and Convent all topped 5” for the month and Donaldsonville recorded more than 10” of rain over the 30 days!

Our forecast remains essentially unchanged for the next few days, although we have done a little fine-tuning. We’ll ‘up’ the rain chances for Wednesday afternoon at tad -- to 40% -- with scattered showers and isolated t-storms for Hump Day. Set rain chances at 50% to 60% (scattered showers & t-storms) for Thursday afternoon and evening. Expect mainly-dry mornings for Wednesday and Thursday with patchy fog possible both mornings and sunrise temperatures in the low 70°s for metro BR. Afternoon highs will climb into the upper 80°s for most communities on both days before the afternoon rains arrive.

We still think that Friday’s cold front reaches the WAFB viewing area on Friday morning, although we may tweak the timing by 3-6 hours between now and Thursday evening. We’re planning for “rains and storms likely” by early Friday morning as the front approaches the viewing area. Plan on widespread rains and thunderstorms for Friday morning just ahead of the front -- depending on the exact timing, Friday morning’s commute could be a real weather-enhanced mess. Although we can’t completely rule out one or two strong to severe storms as the front moves by, we are not concerned about this developing into a significant severe weather event.

The way it looks right now, the front should push steadily to the southeast on Friday with only limited rains on the “backside” of the boundary -- in other words, the rain should wind down quickly once the front moves through. With a little luck (and again, depending on how the final timing shakes out), not only will the rains end by or before mid-day but skies could begin clearing by Friday afternoon -- just in time for high school football and BR’s downtown ‘Live After Five.’

We get the big payoff for Friday’s front over the weekend: clear and cool mornings for Saturday and Sunday and sunny skies with mild temperatures and considerably lower humidity for the afternoons. And for now at least, we’ll keep the weather dry and agreeable into the middle of next week.

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