Monday, January 26, 2015

Another Beauty on Tuesday!

By Jay Grymes & Steve Caparotta

WAFB First Alert Quickcast:

- stays dry through Friday
- a couple of ‘dry’ fronts pass by over the next few days

If you haven’t heard about it, we’ve got an out-of-this-world visitor making a fly-by today and tomorrow.  Labeled ‘2004 BL86,’ this is an asteroid about one-third of a mile across - - pretty big by Earth standards for close fly-bys.  So just how close?  Oh, about 745,000 miles out -- about three times farther away than the Moon!  So it offers no threat whatsoever, but what makes it interesting is that it is the closest (significant) space visitor in decades and will be the closest until 2027.

So can you see it?  Well, maybe.  Certainly not with the naked eye and probably not with a standard pair of binoculars.  But if you have a decent telescope, look in the sky tonight around 10pm just a little to the right of the bright object, the planet Jupiter.  For those that know their constellations, ‘BL86’ will be tracking through the heart of Cancer between roughly 6pm tonight and 6am tomorrow.

As for the rest of us … here’s the forecast: Tuesday’s sunrise will be a little cooler than earlier today.  Look for a morning start in the low 40°s for metro Baton Rouge under clear skies, with upper 30°s closer to the LA/MS state line.  Sunshine rules through the day on Tuesday, and that should help propel highs into the upper 60°s. 

A ‘backdoor’ cold front -- a dry front approaching from the northeast -- pushes through the Lower Mississippi Valley Tuesday evening into Wednesday morning.  It doesn’t deliver a true winter chill, but it will knock temperatures back a couple of degrees for Wednesday, even with mainly-sunny skies.

By Thursday afternoon, many WAFB communities will rebound into the 70°s, with fair to partly-cloudy for the day.  At the same time, here comes another ‘dry’ front - - this time along a more ‘traditional’ NW-to-SE trajectory.  That front gets through our viewing area late Thursday into early Friday and cools us off again, with highs on Friday struggling to reach 60° for some of our neighborhoods.

A broad mid/upper-level disturbance from the west begins to approach the area as we head into the weekend.  Saturday starts off dry and remains dry for most: set afternoon and evening rain chances at about 20% for the WAFB area.  But by Sunday, we’ve got “rain likely” posted, at least for now.  Admittedly, there is still some uncertainty about just how wet it gets on Sunday, and our current estimate is ranging a little on the high side of some of the long-range guidance.  But we’ll be able to tweak that as the week progresses.

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