Monday, November 17, 2014

Hard Freeze Warning!

By Jay Grymes & Steve Caparotta

WAFB First Alert Quickcast:

- HARD FREEZE WARNING for the northern half of the viewing area tonight and Tuesday AM
- clear & cool for Tuesday
- another freeze and into the 20°s again for Wednesday morning  

Before we get to the forecast … we’ve received the Damage Survey from the National Weather Service that headed into Livingston Parish today to assess the tornado damage there last evening.  The survey team has confirmed what appear to be a pair of tornado touchdowns: (1) the first of EF-0 intensity extending a little over one mile between 7:45-7:50pm, about 6-7 miles southwest of Walker … and (2) a stretch of EF-0 to EF-1 damage over a nearly four-mile track  between 8:20-8:40pm to the north of Livingston.  Fortunately there were no injuries but “two distinct segments” (NWS quote) of damage.  Meanwhile, the big storms that rolled through dumped from 1” to more than 3” of rain around the area.

So the active weather is gone but you could probably tell by the weather’s behavior today that another blast of very cold air is on the way.  The skies steadily cleared through the afternoon but the winds have stayed up so far. 

The big question for tonight: “Just how cold?”, and the winds could be play a big role in determining the answer.  The National Weather Service has issued a HARD FREEZE WARNING for the northern half of the viewing area with a FREEZE WARNING in effect across the southern half of the region.

For now, we’re going with an overnight low of 27° for Baton Rouge -- of course, microclimate factors will result in local temperatures ranging from the mid 20°s to near 30° around the metro area.  Freeze durations north of the I-10/12 corridor could be from 6 hours along the interstate to as much as 10 hours or more near and north of the LA/MS state line.  Durations drop off south of the interstate corridor, with some sections of the coastal margins potentially dodging freezing temps.

We think the winds will die down overnight but two of our reliable models are suggesting some thin, high clouds moving in before dawn.  That should be just enough to keep us from a temperature free-fall overnight as indicated by one or two models which suggest low 20°s tonight for the Red Stick.

It sunshine for the next several days, but most of us will head back down into the 20°s for Wednesday morning -- in fact, Wednesday’s wake-up looks to be as cold or colder than Tuesday’s sun-up!  Neither day breaks a record low but this is still too early for this kind of stuff!  A quick look back at Baton Rouge records to 1930 shows that there have only been four other years when there were four or more freezes by November 20th -- we should match that with Wednesday morning’s freeze.

Staying cold?  No .. it’s back to the thermal roller coaster.  We’ll be back up around 60° for a high under sunny skies for Wednesday and then upper 60°s under partly cloudy skies for Thursday.  Our forecast gets even warmer for Friday and the weekend -- up to 70° or more -- but it comes with scattered rains on Friday and Saturday and another wet Sunday on the board.

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