Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Not Quite as Warm on Wednesday

By Jay Grymes & Steve Caparotta

WAFB First Alert Quickcast:

- no rain through the work week
- temperatures on the mild side through the weekend

The monster snow storm in the U.S. Northeast continues to churn away.  While the projected “record-breaking” impacts failed to develop in places like the Nation’s Capital, Philly, and the Big Apple, there’s no denying that this was a major winter storm for eastern New England, where heavy snows -- upwards of 24” to 30”+ in some spots -- combined with winds gusting into the 50s and higher to produce prolonged blizzard conditions and “white outs.”  Add to that the coastal impacts of destructive “tropical-like” storm surge and tens of thousands without power in the bitter cold.  Even down here, we’ll ‘feel’ the effects as it will likely be at least a few days before East Coast air travel returns to something near-normal.

For us, the past few days have not been bad at all!  Okay, I admit that today our temperature forecast for today was a bit of a bust: lows dipped a few degrees below our Monday evening forecast with afternoon highs getting well above our “upper 60°s” projections for this afternoon as highs climbed into the 70°s for everyone in the viewing area.  We under-forecasted the highs largely due to today’s lack of steady NW winds: less mixing in the low levels allowed today’s sunshine to warm things up more rapidly.

A weak, barely-perceptible backdoor front is moving through the Lower Mississippi Valley this evening.  It won’t have much effect on our overnight and early morning temperatures, but by mid-day tomorrow it delivers just enough cooler air from the northeast to keep us out of the 70°s.  And even with this front moving by, don’t look for any clouds tonight or tomorrow.  Yes, Tuesday will be a little cooler than today, but a nice January day nonetheless.

It’s back to the 70°s under partly cloudy skies for Thursday, after a morning start in the mid 40°s for Baton Rouge with a little patchy morning fog.  Then here comes another front, but this one too looks to be rain-free.  What it will do is deliver a weak surge of cooler air which keeps highs in the 60°s for Friday and into Saturday too.

So about that weekend: Saturday stays mainly-dry, although we’ll add slight rains chances -- at 20% or less -- into the afternoon and evening forecast.  A storm system currently sitting over the eastern Pacific will turn to the east, reaching the Southern Plains over the weekend and getting a boost from a ‘parent’ cut-off upper low behind it.

We’re more confident about our forecast for a wet Sunday right now, looking at upwards of 0.5” to 1.0” of rain as the system slides through.  The good news, at least for now, is that there does not appear to be a severe-weather threat with Sunday’s weather.

Sunday’s system should be out of the way by early Monday, but it will leave us with cooler days for Monday and Tuesday.  For now, we’ll go with a few lingering light showers early Monday morning with a sun/cloud mix for the afternoon.  For Tuesday and into the mid-week, the GFS model is suggesting that energy associated with that same cut-off upper low that was left behind over the weekend finally drifts east to create an unsettled weather pattern.  We’ll keep a watch on to see how this scenario progresses.

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