Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Cool Again for Thursday

By Jay Grymes & Steve Caparotta

WAFB First Alert Quickcast:
- another chilly wake-up on Thursday
- a little warmer for Thursday and Friday afternoons
- upper 60°s to around 70° by the weekend

The forecast for the next few days remains essentially unchanged: another round or two of chilly starts for Thursday and Friday, with morning lows in the upper 30°s to low 40°s for most WAFB communities. We’ll go with low 60°s for highs on Thursday and then mid to upper 60°s on Friday. It will be mild for the weekend with highs in the upper 60°s to low 70°s. And there is no rain in the forecast until early next week.

The air maintains a “dry feel” (low humidity) through Thursday, with winds veering to the east and southeast by Friday -- that will increase the Gulf influence on our region, not only adding a little moisture to the air (rising dew point temperatures) but also supporting the warming trend into the weekend.

So shoppers will have a good run of days to make their rounds … and the weather cooperates for those raking leaves and prepping their yards for the winter weeks ahead. The only real problem for some is the lack of rain that has persisted for most of us since the summer.

According to NWS estimates, rainfall since September 1st is averaging between 50% and 75% of normal across most of the WAFB viewing area, with some WAFB communities reporting only about one-third of normal rainfall for that period. What’s more, a large portion of the rain that has fallen in the past 100 days came in fairly large one-day doses. As you know, heavy rains produce greater amounts of run-off and are generally less effective and efficient at recharging soil moisture. A big rain is not a “good soaking” if it comes down too fast.

While the dry fall has been welcomed by some farmers because of good fieldwork and harvesting conditions, it has also led to increased wildfire threats. Pastures and ryegrass could be in better shape too. We’ll have to wait until the official release tomorrow, but we anticipate a further ‘downgrade’ across the viewing area in terms of the Weekly Drought Monitor, with expanding areas of moderate drought, especially for areas east and south of Baton Rouge.

So when can we expect some rain? 

We still see the next rainmaker arriving on Monday, possibly lingering into early Tuesday. If you are hoping for one of those “good soakers” we mentioned above … well, this one is looking less and less likely to deliver what we thought a day or two ago. We aren’t giving up hope just yet, but it’s currently looking like the main storm energy will stay to our north: good news in that it means a low severe-weather threat on Monday, but disappointing in that the rainfall projections for Monday/Tuesday are coming in at under one-half inch.

Of course, all that can change between now and the weekend, so we’ll remain hopeful that Monday’s frontal passage will be more productive rain-wise, yet without the severe threat.

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