Thursday, October 30, 2014

Nice for Halloween, Chilly for the Weekend!

By Jay Grymes & Steve Caparotta

WAFB First Alert Quickcast:

- another cool start for Friday
- downright cold mornings for the weekend
- stays dry into the middle of next week

Yesterday’s front provided very little in the way of measurable rainfall across the region as our extended run of dry fall weather continues.  According to the weekly U.S. Drought Monitor, we are not “in drought” just yet but much of the area along and north of the I-12 corridor is “Abnormally Dry.”  For many farmers, that’s not a bad thing: dry falls make an easier go of the sugarcane harvest.  On the other hand, some hay growers are not seeing the growth that they would like and foresters and land managers are getting a bit concerned about local wildfire threats.  What’s more, we’ve seen some of you breaking out the lawn sprinklers, trying to keep the grass and landscaping happy.  And as of right now, the extended outlook keeps our area dry until next Wednesday.

On the other hand, not everyone is disappointed by the run of dry weather, low humidity and sunshine. 

Yesterday’s front delivered the first of two doses of ‘continental’ air to the region.  After a cool start this morning, it was mid 70°s for most WAFB neighborhoods this afternoon under sunshine.  Plan for another cool start on Halloween morning with sunrise temperatures in the upper 40°s to low 50°s for most WAFB communities under mainly-clear skies.  Sunshine should take us back into the low to mid 70°s but it will be a breezy, if not downright windy, Halloween afternoon.   

For the little ghosts and goblins, the weather cooperates for door-to-door “Trick-or-Treating” -- metro area temperatures on Friday evening will turn cool but not cold, easing from the upper 60°s around 5:30-6:00PM down to the upper 50°s around 8:00-8:30PM.  It will be a little breezy through the evening but costumes with sleeves should be good enough for most of the goblins, with dad carting a light jacket along just in case.

The second dose of continental air arrives Friday evening and you will certainly feel it by Saturday morning.  Many of us will begin Saturday in the upper 30°s -- the coolest morning for Baton Rouge since April 16th.  And for Saturday afternoon, some of WAFB’s more northern neighborhoods may not even make it into the 60°s!  Talk about chilly?  That’s more like what we would expect in January, not late October.

Sunday morning will be even colder, with mid 30°s for metro Baton Rouge and areas north and east of the Capital City flirting with a brief, light freeze -- especially north of the state line.  We’ll call for mid to upper 60°s for most on Sunday afternoon.

Of course, that would be a very early freeze, even for our southwest Mississippi viewers.  For locations along and north of the LA/MS state line, the climatological average “First Fall Freeze” is around mid-November.  For metro Baton Rouge, an easy-to-remember rule-of-thumb is that the “average date” of the first freeze comes around the Thanksgiving holiday.  Although October freezes do occur in SW Mississippi, they aren’t common.  Historical statistics suggest that our Mississippi viewers can expect an October freeze only once every 7 to 10 years, on average.

Into next week, a warming trend sets in as we return to afternoons in the 70°s for Monday through Wednesday, with the next cold front scheduled to arrive on Wednesday.  And since most of us could use a little rain, let’s hope that next week’s front is a little more “productive.”

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