Monday, February 16, 2015

Chilly but Dry for Mardi Gras

By Jay Grymes & Steve Caparotta

WAFB First Alert Quickcast:

- rain arrives in the area this afternoon
- temperatures plummet following the frontal passage
- chilly, mostly cloudy but dry for ‘Fat Tuesday’

A line of showers – possibly containing a few embedded rumbles of thunder -- is marching from west-to-east across the region this afternoon at about 30-35 mph.  The line arrived in metro Baton Rouge in plenty of time to add to the chaos of this evening’s commute!

It’s been a windy day under the clouds, although most WAFB communities have stayed dry up until now.  We’ve been dealing with sustained winds in the ‘teens with gusts repeatedly in the 20s and 30s through much of the early afternoon.  As the same time, temperatures have climbed into the 70°s for just about everyone -- feeling a little like spring.

That’s changing quickly, and you can see the changes with regional temperatures and radar trends. 

Although we’re sure to get rain this afternoon and into the evening, maybe the biggest weather story for today will be the rapid drop in temperatures after the front goes through.  For example, at 2:00pm it was 71° in Baton Rouge but already down to 54° in Lake Charles and a chilly 42° in Alexandria -- showing the impact on temperatures behind the advancing cold front.  Some sites have seen temperature fall more than 20° in less than an hour.

WAFB neighborhoods will know when the front is arriving by the rains -- and everyone can expect the thermometer to drop at least 10° to 15° almost immediately after the front moves through.  Most of us will be down into the 30°s well before midnight tonight. 

Rains behind the advancing front will slowly subside through the evening and overnight as the temperatures plummet.  While the threat is relatively small, there is a slight chance for a ‘wintry mix’ for those near and north of the LA/MS state line and over towards central Louisiana during the overnight hours.  However, even if a few flakes or a little freezing rain were to occur, there is no concern for any accumulations.

The good news for Mardi Gras Day is that any lingering rains will have exited the WAFB area long before sunrise.  The not-so-good news is that clouds remain and most of us will awaken to a light freeze -- a reminder that it is still winter!

Don’t expect a great deal of improvement through the day on Fat Tuesday either.  Although clouds should slowly thin during the afternoon, northerly winds will help to keep daytime highs in the 40°s for just about everyone.  That’s not the way we wanted to close out Carnival!

We’ve got freezes returning for Wednesday and Thursday mornings too, although both days get into the 50°s during the afternoon with plenty of sunshine.  A warming trend extends into the weekend, with 70°s back in the forecast for Saturday and Sunday, but those 70°s will be accompanied by scattered rains on both days.

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