Thursday, February 26, 2015

Waiting on a Warm-Up!

By Jay Grymes & Steve Caparotta

WAFB First Alert Quickcast:

- dry but with wake-ups near freezing for the next two days
- waiting on a warm-up!

If you think it’s been a chilly February, you are correct: Baton Rouge’s monthly average temperature for February 2015 will come in at roughly 50° the way things look right now, about 5° below the monthly norm. Now at first look, 5° may not sound like a big departure-from-normal (DFN). But this will be the ‘coldest’ February for the Red Stick since 2010 and may fall among the dozen ‘coldest’ Februarys for Baton Rouge based on the area’s climate record (dating back to the 1890s).

So when does a warm-up arrive? Not right away, but soon.

After a cold start this morning in the low to mid 30°s for metro BR, some WAFB communities didn’t even make it into the 50°s this afternoon. A weak, dry cold front moved through our area today, delivering a reinforcing shot of cold, continental air as it essentially fizzled away. And while we did get some nice afternoon sunshine, clouds will be returning tonight and that will limit just how cold it gets overnight and into early Friday morning. 

Like this morning, we’re anticipating that communities near and north of the I-10/12 corridor will flirt with a light freeze once again for Friday morning (low to mid 30°s). After a mostly cloudy start to the day, we can expect a sun/cloud mix through the afternoon. However, even with periods of sunshine, today’s “booster shot” of polar air will be enough to keep temperatures throughout Friday on the cool side: we’re calling for Friday highs a rot just above 50° for the Capital City.

We’ll slip back down into the mid 30°s for Saturday morning under partly cloudy skies: “Good Luck!” to Saturday morning’s Polar Plungers at Cabela’s in Gonzales! But it’s for a good cause: supporting Special Olympics Louisiana. Come watch as Matt Williams, Steve Caparotta and Jay Grymes turn blue in the cold waters of Lake Cabela. (First plunges begin around 10am.)

Fair to partly cloudy skies should allow enough sunshine to drive Saturday afternoon temperatures into the upper 50°s to low 60°s … and the start of a warming trend that extends into next week.

The persistent upper-air pattern over the last many weeks -- with a trough over the eastern U.S. generating repetitive snow storms and record cold in places -- has kept the Bayou State on the chilly side too. As we head into the weekend, models show the current eastern trough lifting out and slowly being replaced with an upper-air ridge over the southeastern U.S. by Sunday. That ridge will mean a warming trend that has some of in the 70°s by Sunday with mid to upper 70°s likely next week.

Unfortunately, those spring-like temperatures will come at a price: we’ve got showers and t-storms in the forecast starting on Sunday and continuing each day into the middle of next week. These won’t be all-day rains, and for most days we’re expecting “scattered” coverage: much of the current guidance suggests daily rain chances in the 30% to 60% range from Sunday through Thursday, with Sunday looking like the “wettest” of the bunch.

Seems like a fair-enough trade: pick up the umbrella and drop off the winter coats! Could that mean the end of our run of winter weather? Well, maybe … but don't count on it.

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