Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Wet Wednesday on the Way

By Jay Grymes & Steve Caparotta

WAFB First Alert Quickcast:
- a “wet” Wednesday on the way
- looking good for the upcoming weekend parades

Real winter (at least the South Louisiana kind) has made a return to the WAFB viewing area, with a light freeze for many to start today and a persistent deck of high clouds that blocked the sunshine and kept highs down in the 40°s for most of us. At the same time, a cold rain fell over some of the coastal parishes, with reports of light sleet coming out of sections of Terrebonne and Lafourche parishes according to the NWS earlier in the day.

Let’s begin with some good news. No more freezes, at least for the next two mornings. However, early indications call for another light freeze for Friday morning -- at least for those along and north of the I-10/12 corridor -- courtesy of the next Canadian cold front. Although some may not quite make the 50°s for highs tomorrow, most will … and we expect the mid to upper 50°s for most neighborhoods for Thursday and Friday with warmer weather expected for the coming weekend.

But first, we’ve got to get through a round of rain, associated with a low-pressure system currently over the western Gulf that will get a boost from an upper-level low over northern Mexico.

Rain chances will slowly increase through the evening and overnight with rain likely for tomorrow. But it will be a “cold” rain with little, if any, thunderstorm activity and generally modest rain totals for most of the viewing area. Between this evening and tomorrow, some coastal communities could hear a rumble or two of thunder, and a few areas nearer to the Gulf could see rain totals up around one-inch for the event, but there is virtually no threat for severe weather as the main energy will remain well offshore. Most Baton Rouge metro area rain totals likely will come in at under one-half-inch, possible under one-quarter of an inch with totals falling off to the north of the Red Stick.

The Gulf low will pass west-to-east well south of the Louisiana coast while a cold front approaches from the north. Although we could get a little rain generated along that rapidly advancing cold front, the front won’t provide enough energy (lift) to produce any active weather over our region. The cold front clears the coast on Thursday with another dose of cold, continental air on its heels. Hence, our light freeze forecast for Friday morning.

Mardi Gras parades begin in earnest this weekend: it all kicks-off Friday evening with the Krewe of Artemis. It’s going to be cool for the Friday evening fun, but it will be dry -- a good omen for the Ladies of Artemis, who have had to deal with some very wet Fridays in past years! After a Friday afternoon high in the mid to upper 50°s, temperatures will drop down into the 40°s during the parade: chilly but manageable if you dress for it.

Saturday should be much more accommodating for all of the area parades, kicking-off with the 10AM parade in Clinton and ending that evening back in downtown Baton Rouge with Orion. After a chilly start in the upper 30°s to low 40°s for Saturday’s sunrise, temperatures will climb into the upper 60°s for the afternoon under fair to partly cloudy skies -- not bad for early February. Temps will drop back down into the 50°s as Orion rolls that evening, but that’s okay too with a light jacket. And for Sunday, it should stay dry although with more clouds, but not bad at all for the Addis Fire Department Parade and downtown’s Krewe of Mutts.

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