Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Cool & Dry for New Year's Eve

By Jay Grymes & Steve Caparotta

WAFB First Alert Quickcast:

- skies continue to clear tonight with lows falling into the 30°s
- sunshine but staying cool for Wednesday afternoon
- clouds slowly return New Year’s Eve evening, 40° in Baton Rouge near midnight

As expected, the day began with a thick overcast.  What was a surprise was just how persistent that clouds would be through the day.  Cloudy skies and a north wind through the day kept things much cooler than we had anticipated -- many WAFB neighborhoods never got out of the 40°s! 

We will see slow thinning and gradual clearing this evening.  Clearing continues overnight, with the cold-and-dry Canadian air mass finally taking full control.  Thankfully, we won’t get a full-on Arctic blast this go-around, but look for lows to drop into the mid 30°s for both Wednesday and Thursday mornings.    Light freezes will be possible to the north and east of metro Baton Rouge on both mornings, although the Capital City should remain above freezing.

We’re expecting mainly sunny skies through the daytime hours for Wednesday-- New Year’s Eve.  Highs on Wednesday will be cool-ish -- mid to upper 50°s for most.  The fair skies don’t last long, however.  Heading into Wednesday evening, expect a slow return of clouds, with partly to mostly cloudy skies at midnight as the Red Stick drops in downtown’s Town Square.  Temperatures at midnight will be around 40°, but it stays dry for the nighttime fun.  A light NE wind will add a little Louisiana winter ‘feel’ to the late night air, with a windchill in the 30°s.  Cold? Yep, but not miserably cold.  Just be sure to dress for it if you plan to spend much time outdoors.

The weather picture for Thursday and into the weekend remains relatively unchanged from yesterday. 

After a Thursday morning start in the 30°s under mostly cloudy skies, we’re thinking highs in the 50°s again for the afternoon, with rain chances slowly increasing through the latter half of the day.  By Friday, rain is a sure bet as a low in the western Gulf drifts northward.  The Gulf storm system strengthens (“deepens”) as the low moves into the Bayou State late Friday and early Saturday, with a warm front lifting to our north, putting the WAFB viewing area in the “warm” sector.  That not only means another wet day, but Saturday -- especially the first half of the day -- could be a little stormy at times as we wait for the complex to head east into the Southeastern U.S. later on Saturday and into Sunday. 

It’s still a little too early to confidently assess the severe weather threat for the end of the week -- that’s something we’ll want to watch in the coming days.  For now, a widespread severe weather outbreak appears unlikely.  However, area-wide rain totals of 1.5” to 2.0”, with locally-higher amounts, are possible if not probable, with the heaviest rains occurring Saturday.​

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