Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Staying Cool Through Friday

By Jay Grymes & Steve Caparotta

WAFB First Alert Quickcast:

- rain for us today, snows in the northern parishes
- storm system moves east this evening
- cool for the next couple of days, warming trend into the weekend

The near-steady rains got into our viewing area a little earlier than expected today and helped keep temperatures in the low to 40°s for most of us, with some of our northern viewers never getting out of the 30°s.  As we warned yesterday, today was simply a cold, wet and dreary day for everyone.

But it’s NOT in north Louisiana: as of noon, the NWS had already received a number of reports of 2” to 3” of snow from some north Louisiana parishes, with reports of 5” to 6” or more in parts of Texas and Arkansas.

Radar trends this afternoon have also been signaling an end to the bulk of the rain shield by the late afternoon or into the ‘rush hour’ window.  So starting this evening, the forecast for the next couple of days becomes largely a temperature forecast.

The clouds will hang around and stay with us through the night, helping to slow the overnight drop in temperatures.  It will be a close call, but we’re thinking that many communities along and north of the I-10/12 corridor will see a light freeze by Thursday’s wake-up, with 30°s likely reaching down into the coastal parishes.

Our Thursday forecast calls for slow-but-steady clearing through much of the day.  Northerly and northwesterly winds will counter some of the sun’s warming through the early afternoon, but we think that the Red Stick still manages to get into the low 50°s for Thursday afternoon.  And by the mid to late afternoon, we should be looking at partly cloudy skies.

A weak cool front will essentially fizzle out as it slides across the state on Thursday, offering a modest reinforcement for the chilly air already in place along the central Gulf Coast.  Our forecast currently calls for morning lows at or near freezing for metro Baton Rouge for both Friday and Saturday.  Most can expect fair to partly cloudy skies for both days too and Friday stays cool with a high around 50° or so for the Capital City.

An upper-level ridge will build over the Southeast U.S. during the weekend as a new upper-trough becomes established over the western states.  The ridge will deliver a notable warm-up, with highs in the 60°s for many WAFB neighborhoods on Saturday and reaching the 70°s for many on Sunday.  In fact, our latest forecast carries 70°s into at least the middle of next week!

Unfortunately, the milder, spring-like temperatures come with fairly decent rain chances from Sunday right through Wednesday.  We’re not talking a string of all-day wash-outs, but scattered showers and t-storms appear to be a pretty good bet, with rain chances ranging from as high as 60% or more on Sunday to 40% to 50% or so for Monday through mid-week.

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