Thursday, November 13, 2014

Freeze Warning Tonight/Friday Morning!

By Jay Grymes & Steve Caparotta

WAFB First Alert Quickcast:
- FREEZE WARNING late tonight into Friday morning
- another morning freeze for Saturday
- substantial rains for Sunday and Monday

A damp, raw and ugly start to Thursday ... and while the skies stated clearing from west-to-east through the late afternoon and into the evening, it was too late to provide a sunshine-aided afternoon warm-up. In the end, most WAFB neighborhoods topped out in the mid to upper 40°s for their Thursday highs.

The clear skies, very dry air (low dewpoints) and north winds are a clear sign of what’s to come later tonight: a significant freeze event. We’re calling for lows in the mid to upper 20°s for metro Baton Rouge, with all but the extreme coastal areas experiencing at least a dash of freezing temperatures. Looks like we’ll threaten some record lows across the region.

We’ve talked about it a number of times this week: a “freeze” at mid-November is certainly “early” but not unprecedented. However, mid to upper 20°s for mid-November? Since 1893, we’ve only found four occurrences with lows of 26° or below this early in the fall for Baton Rouge.

Next question: how long do the freezing temperatures last? We’re looking at something on the order of 5 to 8 hours of temperatures at or below-freezing for the Red Stick. Areas north and east of Baton Rouge could see the freeze last as much as 7 to 9 hours or more; of course, the durations drop off as you head towards the coast.

So our assessment is that this is NOT going to be a “pipe-wrapper” freeze -- it doesn’t last long enough to be a serious threat. But don’t forget the pets … bring the tender plants under the carport … and check on family, friends and neighbors that might have problems staying warm tonight. And please be extra cautious with the portable heaters -- they are the cause of too many home fires at this time of year!

Sunshine on Friday will allow temps to climb to near 50° but that’s about it. Then it’s another overnight/early-morning freeze for Saturday. Into Saturday afternoon, fair skies and a windshift with the winds off the Gulf will help temperatures climb to around 60°.

A storm system over the U.S. Plains will be gathering steam over the weekend and that will deliver a wet Sunday and Monday for the WAFB region. We’re expecting widespread rains of 1” or more for the viewing area over the two days, with some of the guidance indicating 2” or more for the two-day event.

But once that system clears the state, it’s “Hello again!” to another chilly air mass with freezes expected again for Tuesday and Wednesday mornings.

So it looks like we get some much-needed rain over the next several days, but it comes with a chilly price.

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