Tuesday, February 17, 2015

More Morning Freezes Ahead

By Jay Grymes & Steve Caparotta

WAFB First Alert Quickcast:

- freezes for the next two wake-ups
- warmer for the weekend, but wet too

First of all, Happy Mardi Gras! 

We mentioned the potential last night, and there were a handful of reports of winter precipitation in the area during the evening and overnight hours. Most of the reports were for sleet, although we did get one mention of flakes from the Zachary area. Another report from the McComb area even mentioned some ‘sticking’ on elevated surfaces where temperatures were below-freezing for a number of hours.

As promised, today was a mainly-dry day -- although there were a few light showers closer to the coast near dawn. And as promised, it was a cold day -- even by February standards -- from start to finish, with a morning freeze for most WAFB communities and a very slow warm-up that still had many at or below freezing into the mid-morning. Add in the clouds and the north winds and it felt like the low to mid 20°s in spots even as late as 10am -- a true test of your Mardi Gras mettle and your parade commitment!

The day didn’t warm much either, although the clouds did thin through the late morning and into the afternoon. Northerly breezes made it feel colder the mid to upper 40°s registering for the day’s highs around the region – not what you hoped for on this closing day of the Carnival Season.

Okay .. sure, it’s chilly .. but let’s not complain too much. We’re only getting clipped by the Arctic air mass that is delivering a ‘direct hit’ for many eastern states (again!). What a winter for some of those folks, eh? And it’s only mid-February -- they could be staring at another 6 to 8 weeks of serious winter chill.

For us, the impact of the Arctic air diving southeastward means a bit of a sideswipe that will remind us that it is still winter here too. We’ve got morning freezes on the forecast boards for Wednesday and Thursday, but at least most of us will climb into the mid to upper 50°s on Wednesday afternoon under the sunshine. However, a reinforcing shot of Arctic air arrives late Wednesday into early Thursday, and that could mean that some of WAFB’s more northern viewers may be lucky to get into the 50°s for Thursday afternoon. At least it will be a sunny Thursday.

The big dip in the jet stream (upper-level trough) that is delivering the double-shot of Arctic air will shift eastward towards week’s end, with a warming upper-air ridge arriving over the central U.S. by the weekend. So the cold doesn’t last long; in fact, most of us will be back into the 70°s by the weekend. Unfortunately, the spring-like temperatures will be accompanied by some rainy weather, starting as early as Friday afternoon and possibly hanging around right into the early part of next week.

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