Thursday, January 8, 2015

Another Freeze, Wintry Mix on Friday?

By Jay Grymes & Steve Caparotta

WAFB First Alert Quickcast:
- freezes return tonight and Saturday morning
- wintry mix possible for Friday?
- slowly getting warmer through the weekend
- rains are back for Sunday and next week

The good news: the lowest of the temperature readings are gone, at least for some time to come. Baton Rouge dropped to 20° -- tying the record for this date -- and McComb set a new record for today with a bitterly cold low of 15°! Other sites across the region approached, tied or set record lows too. And the cold lingered well into the day: Metro Airport was still at freezing as late as 12:30pm!

Just about everyone topped-out in the 30°s for highs today -- way too cold for South Louisiana. 

The not-so-good news: with today’s chilly high temperatures, it won’t take long this evening before most of us are back below freezing. For Baton Rouge, while we won’t get nearly as cold tonight into Friday morning as we were earlier today, freeze durations around the metro areas and points north will still run as much as 10 to 14 hours or more. We’re expecting lows tonight in the upper 20°s for the Capital City.

The developing story -- and scuttlebutt at the water coolers -- is with regard to the potential for wintry precipitation on Friday. We’re setting precipitation percentages at 30%, possibly 40%, for the day as a whole, but those chances are lower during the early morning. If we do get some early morning precipitation, it won’t amount to much, although it could be in the form of a little sleet, maybe even a few flakes or ice pellets, especially north and west of metro BR. Surfaces in the morning will also support freezing rain (falls as liquid then freezes on contact), but again, we think that any areal coverage in the early morning will be very limited and what does fall will generate very little, if any, accumulations. If we do get something falling on Friday, the best chance will be more towards the middle of the day. 

In either case, we are not anticipating a real problem for the morning commute. However, if you encounter moisture on elevated surface and bridges, drive with extra care. There isn’t likely to be any kind of problem on well-traveled roads and bridges, but be cautious on rural bridges -- again, mainly to the north and west of metro BR.

We’ve got another freeze on the way for Saturday morning -- with lows again down in the 20°s for the Red Stick, but it looks like that will be the last freeze for a while across metro BR. Saturday should be a partly cloudy day, although it stays rather cool with highs only reaching the mid to upper 40°s. Saturday begins a slow warming trend, with metro area lows in the mid 30°s for Sunday morning and highs on Sunday afternoon in the mid 50°s. 

The weekend warming will not be the only change to our weather: we’ll trade in our recent run of dry weather for a wet spell. We’re calling for scattered-to-likely rains each day from Sunday through Wednesday. Fortunately, these aren’t likely to be heavy-rain days -- the NWS Weather Prediction Center is calling rain totals of roughly 1.0” to 1.5” for our area over the next 5 to 7 days.

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